Although many christmas traditions are celebrated across the board; christmas trees, father christmas, stockings and so on, each and every family have their own little traditions that make christmas unique to them.
The Irish celebrate christmas in much the same way as the UK, USA and so on, but in typical Irish style there are certain little quirks and chritsmas traditions that the Irish do differently.
December 8th is the official start of christmas as per Irish christmas traditions. Once this date arrives you can expect decorations to go up, christmas markets and shopping to commence, parties to be had and plenty of christmas cheer to experience.
2.Christmas day swim
For the brave (or slightly crazy) one of the big Irish christmas traditions is the christmas day swim where all over Ireland’s coastline people take the plunge into the chilly, chilly waters, usually for charity. Head for Forty Foot, Sandycove, County Dublin or Portstewart in County Londonderry on christmas morning and you’ll be sure to catch these brave swimmers.
One of today’s christmas traditions is having a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe, however the ancient Celts believed that mistletoe had healing powers. Soon after mistletoe was banned from being hung in houses as it was felt a sign of paganism.
Today mistletoe is once again hung, as a sign of goodwill and peace, and of course the occasional kiss is still welcomed.
Midnight mass is one of the strongest of Irish christmas traditions and for even the lesser church goers it’s a time to visit church and attend a beautiful christmas eve midnight mass service.
Often family and friends congregate at midnight mass services, catching up and welcoming in christmas together so they often have a fabulous, festive atmosphere with much merriment and cheer.
5.Guiness for santa
So we all know that it’s only right to leave out mince pies and perhaps a glass of something for santa and some carrots for the reindeers, but one of the Irish christmas traditions requires a Guinness to be left out for santa. Yep that’s right, a big red can of Guinness waiting for santa to consume in each and every house!
6.The Wexford carol
One of the oldest known christmas carols was thought to originate from Enniscorthy, County Wexford. This carol dates back to the 12th century and tells the nativity story though song. Christmas traditions the world over include carols, what would christmas be without carol singers and traditional christmas music.
In Irish christmas traditions the 6th of January marks the end of christmas and is also known as women’s rest day where traditionally women don’t participate in any kind of house work and the men take down all of the decorations, sort the house out after the christmas period and cook all of the meals. Woe betide any men who don’t abide by this tradition, its very bad luck apparently!
Whether you celebrate a very modern christmas or are a stickler for tradition, we all have our own christmas traditions that make christmas what it is to us and special in its own way. Enjoy your christmas traditions whatever they may be.