Family · Uncategorized

Irish Traditions: Nollaig na mBan

I meant to write about this on the day it actually happened but I forgot, so there. Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan (Nol-ugg na mawn)(Feast of the Epiphany) takes place on the 6th of January In Ireland. In places like Cork and Kerry this day is celebrated by allowing the ‘woman of the house’ a day off. The man takes up all her responsibilities for the day. She is free to do as she likes with all her other female friends and special offers are often advertised in pubs for women. In other counties like my own it is celebrated by taking down the decorations, going out for dinner and mass. Growing up my mother says she never heard of Nollaig na mBan which makes sense considering she lived in the country and people rarely ever had a day off there! Seems most likely that back in my mother’s day it was celebrated by women who had more free time and wealth behind them. The tradition behind the idea is bothersome – that women should have sole responsibility of the children and housework – however it stemmed from a different time and is not a tradition that is widely practiced. Even now women still take on most of the responsibilities of the household, and working on top of it more often than not, especially during Christmas. They deserve a entire month for that.

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