The Christmas season is celebrated in different ways around the world, varying by country and region. Elements common to many areas of the world include the lighting of Christmas trees, the hanging of Advent wreaths, Christmas stockings, candy canes, and the creation of Nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas carols may be sung and stories told about such figures as the Baby Jesus, St Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christkindl or Grandfather Frost. The sending of Christmas cards, the exchange of Christmastime greetings, observance of fasting and/or special religious observances such as a midnight Mass or Vespers on Christmas Eve, the burning of a Yule log, and the giving and receiving of presents. Along with Easter, Christmas time is one of the most important periods on the Christian calendar, and is often closely connected to other holidays at this time of year, such as Advent. Followed are top ten Christmas traditions.
Candle in the Window – On Christmas Eve, usually to help Joseph and Mary on their way, also signifies a light for emigrants remembering them.
Hunting of the Wren – Ancient Irish ritual carried out on St.Stephen’s Day when wren boys go door to door singing and collecting money. Allegedly the wren betrayed Stephen to his Roman pursuers.
Midnight Mass – A glorious family tradition where the family goes together to chuch and afterwards has a special get together when the tales of Christmas Eve get told.
Little Christmas – No one dares take down the decorations until January 6th and Little Christmas, also known as Women’s Christmas when the females get a deserved day off is an important day.
Week off between Christmas and New Year – Very few work in Ireland between Christmas and New Year’s, spending the time instead visiting family and friends.
St. Stephen’s Day horse racing – Big day out after being cooped up over Christmas, Leopards town in South Dublin and Limerick racecourses the places to see and be seen, especially for the fashion-conscious ladies.
Christmas morning fry – After the imbibing exertions of the night before slap on the calories with a monster Irish fry with bacon, eggs black pudding sausage toast etc. Not for the faint hearted.
40 Foot Dun Laoghaire naked swim Christmas morning – A famous bathing place in South Dublin and a tradition for men only but challenged in recent years by the ladies.
Phone calls/Skype from emigrants home – An age old tradition of emigrants calling home alas, and getting ever more popular as more emigrate.
Opening the door to let in the New Year spirit – Right as midnight strikes, all house doors opened to let in the New Year and banish the old.
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