Nollaig na MBan, also known as Women's Little Christmas, a unique non-religious tradition. Historically, Irish women gathered on January 6 to enjoy a break from household chores while men stayed home and took on the cooking and cleaning of the home. Women would gather together in their homes and relax in each other's company while some may head to the pubs, places that usually catered to men.
Christmas fun doesn't need to end on December 25th. It comes to a close on January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany, a major Christian celebration. Historically the Feast of epiphany observed three significant events in Christianity: the birth of Jesus, God's appearance when at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, and Jesus changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana. When the Georgian calendar was adopted, Jesus' birthday became December 25. The Nativity was no longer celebrated on the Feast of Epiphany. Instead, January 6th marked the day three Magi, also known as the three wise men or three kings that visited baby Jesus. While Christians in the Eastern World still celebrate the birth of Jesus on January 6, the period between December 25th and January 6th is known as the Twelve Days of Christmas. Spain refers to the Epiphany as Three King's Day, England references this as Twelfth Night and Ireland commemorates the day as 'Little Christmas' or 'Women's Christmas.
The tradition of Women's Little Christmas has been handed down orally from generation to generation. While gifts are exchanged on Christmas morning, children may also give tokens to their mothers and grandmothers on Little Christmas. Today's Women's Little Christmas is a day to get together and celebrate their lives and achievements and to honour sisters and friends in the community of women. It's not necessarily a day to escape work.
Little Christmas marks the end of a busy Christmas season for the Irish. Christmas decorations are taken down on this day. (It's considered bad luck to take down before January 6). Sprigs of holly used as decorations are tossed into the fireplace to burn and commemorate the official end of Christmas. A reflection of Ireland's culture and tradition. The day is celebrated not only for religious reasons, but also for the strength and sisterhood of women. You don't have to be Irish or live in Ireland to celebrate Women's Little Christmas. A festive way to say goodbye to the holidays and enjoy a women-centred event.
EXPERIENCE IRELANDS CULTURE
Stories Written Into the Lands
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Ireland Small Towns and Hidden Corners - Signature Tour
When one thinks of Christmas markets, your mind thinks of Europe. Pretty little stalls filled with decorations, handmade figurines and local produce. Sounds of sleigh bells and choir singers fill the night air. Europeans are the masters of creating this holiday festive phenomena.
Rekindle the enchantment of your childhood memories.
The Story begins back in the 1300's. Wintermarkete (winter markets) began to spring up all over Europe when storekeepers got permission to extend their store space out onto the market square. This occurred in early winter so townspeople and country dwellers alike could stock up suppliers to last through the cold winter months. Over time, local families started setting up stalls to sell handmade toys, trinkets, wooden carvings, glassware and many hand-made candies. These were often bought as gifts to give away at Christmas. For centuries, Christmas markets have cheered weary villagers and brightened long winter nights.
Vienna in Austria is credited with having been the first area to hold a Christmas market followed by the German cities of Munich, Berlin and Dresden. The hospitality section then started to promote the markets as Christmas markets, opening up new destinations and extending the tourism season.
Christmas markets combine the charm of tradition with the excitement of an open-air marketplace. Fragrant, tantalizing aromas of gingerbread, Gebrannte Mandelln (candied toasted almonds) and traditional food like Zwetschgenmannle (figures made of decorated dried plums) and sizzling bratwurst will have your mouth watering. Our favourite beverages include Gluhwein (hot mulled wine) and Eierpunsch (an egg-based warm alcoholic drink). A great way to warm up the spirits as you browse the stall lined streets.
Further Afield Travel and Tours Christmas Markets of Poland to Germany 2022 Small Group Tour will be released Wednesday December 15th. Group size is small so contact Further Afield Travel and Tours if you are interested.
What a beautiful way to see the villages, towns and countryside of Europe. One’s mind and eyes are opened by travel. Variety is the spice of life and the different ways to visit countries are numerous.
Day 1. This cruise begins in Basel, Switzerland. Boarding is at 3pm, all guests must be on board by 5pm. After our introduction and familiarization we enjoy an exceptional dinner with evening entertainment.
The first panzanella salad was an invention of necessity in the 16th century, enabling Italian cooks to make use of stale bread as well as garden vegetables. Our unusual autumn variation brings together the vibrant colours and flavours of a fall garden, and can even serve as a hearty vegetarian lunch.
Recipe has been provided by Viking Cruise Line.
Croutons: Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Place a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and mashed garlic, stirring to combine. Add bread; season with salt. Stir occasionally until bread is golden on several sides, about 3 minutes. Place skillet in oven and bake, stirring once or twice, until bread is golden brown, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven; transfer to paper towels to cool.
Vinaigrette: Place mustard, vinegar and a few pinches of kosher salt into the work bowl of a blender. With motor running on medium, slowly drizzle in half the canola oil. Add sage leaves, turn up speed to high and drizzle in remainder of oil. When all oil has been incorporated, vinaigrette should be pale yellow-green and thick enough to coat a spoon. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Salad: Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add a thin film of olive oil. When hot, toss in butternut squash and a few pinches of kosher salt. Cook until golden brown along edges, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. When squash is tender, transfer to paper towels; cool to room temperature. Repeat process with parsnips. When ready to serve, place croutons, squash, parsnips, beans, green onions and greens in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette to taste; toss; season with salt and pepper. Divide among plates and garnish with ricotta salata before serving.
This salad makes a superb starter for any meal, or add grilled chicken to make the dish a meal in itself.
Join Further Afield Travel and Tours as we speak with Mark Nolan, Managing Director of Dromoland Castle. Learn how the castle has managed through covid times and what the castle staff had been up to during the lockdown. The doors are open and once more more people are travelling.
Link to Video: