indigenously Irish Christmas customsLeaving the door unlocked overnight on Christmas Eve i
n case the Holy Family should come seeking shelter. Of course doors in rural Ireland were routinely left unlocked during the day (people simply walked into each others houses calling out 'God Bless All Here' to alert the inhabitants that they'd arrived. I know some older people who remember that quite well). But they were always latched at night, so this was quite special.The candle in the window.
Placing a lighted candle in an un-curtained window to guide travellers through the darkness and indicate that they were welcome to stop at your house. Bear in mind that as recently as the 1950s many parts of rural Ireland were without electricity and in fact some houses didn't get it until the 1970s. According to the older people who remember it, it was an amazing sight to walk back over the fields after the farm work, as dusk was falling and to see these lights visible all over the countryside for miles around.Whitewashing the house
. Not the best time of year for painting and decorating in the Irish climate! But a couple of weeks before Christmas cottages and farm buildings were whitewashed inside and out.The Wren Boys
(often pronounced the 'ran'. On 26 December the feast of St Stephen a group of boys would organise a wren hunt. The bird would be caught, killed and hung from a holly bush, the reason supposedly being that a wren was said to have betrayed the hiding place of St Stephen, leading to him being captured and stoned to death. I believe the boys used to go round from door to door displaying the wren. They don't hunt the bird anymore but the festival is still kept in parts of Ireland and the Wren Boys come out on St Stephen's Day.
So there's a few for you!
I saw British half legs in Lidl last week
Oh my God! I have a Lidl near me and I've been threatening to go in there for weeks. New Year's Resolution for me, stop procrastinating. I hope it wasn't one of those 'this week only' things.