Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2005-12 > 1135035347

From: dan hogan <>
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2005 15:35:47 -0800 (PST)

From the Ireland-Obits list.
Dan Hogan

> A Traditional Irish Christmas
> The Traditional year in Ireland provides a calendar
> of customs based on Folk
> Tradition dating back to its Neolithic farming
> ancestors of six thousand
> years ago.
> The Feast of Christmas recalls the joy of
> Christendom at the birth of the
> Saviour, a rejoicing fully enjoyed by Irish
> tradition.
> There is the lighting of the Christmas candle by the
> youngest child to
> welcome the Holy Family into the home.
> There are the titbits given to the animals in memory
> of the first to adore
> Him, the ox and the ass of Bethlehem. There is the
> churchgoing, the visit to
> the Crib, the presents and feasting.
> But behind that there are the echoes of the older
> festival of Midwinter.
> What other explanation couth there be for the
> Hunting of the Wren on St
> Stephens Day, 26th December, when groups of young
> men, gaily dressed and
> playing music from house to house ( or pub to pub)
> announcing they have
> killed 'The Wran, the Wran, the king of all Bird's
> and requesting
> contributions toward his burial?
> Needless to say the money gathered is spent on a
> party with plenty of music,
> dancing, eating and drinking.
> And what of Christmas Rhymers or Mummers, a group of
> young men who perform a
> little play, the main feature of which is a duel
> between two champions, in
> which one is killed to be revived again by a skilled
> Doctor.
> Is this, as some think, a survival of some ancient
> ceremony representing the
> death of the Old year and the revival of the New?
> The questions will always be asked - How did it all
> begin?
> Passed down through more than 200 generations, some
> of the festivals are so
> old that one can only guess where such a rich
> assembly of belief, custom
> and ceremonial, of story, song and prophecy came
> from in the first place.
> But I do recall my first Christmas in Arklow, Co
> Wicklow, a trip to Dublin
> to see the lights spectacular, and the shortest of
> days, returning to a coal
> fire, and a warm toddy, memories, that remain with
> me long after the event.
> And a longing to be there now, with my extended
> family and friends, but
> this year its Christmas in Tasmania again, no so
> bad, the weather doing a
> really Irish jig, one day fine the next so cold.
> But to each and every lister, wherever you are, in
> the world , whatever you
> may or may not be doing for Christmas I with my
> (himself) and family would
> like to take this moment in time to wish you all a
> Merry Christmas-
> And good luck in your pursuit of your Irish
> ancestors.
> Cara

Dan Hogan

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