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Showing posts from January, 2019

Mighty Women: Nollaig na mBan in Ireland

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Nollaig na mBan means ‘Women’s Christmas.’ The last of the twelve days of the Christmas season, it’s celebrated on 6 January, when the men take over the household duties and women of all ages get together and party. They meet at home, or go out in groups, to eat, sing, drink, dance and generally hang out together. The village pubs and restaurants are full all night, and the dancing often spills onto the street. Grannies and aunties dance with little girls, friends get up and sing songs together, and houses are full of music. Nollaig na mBan used to be celebrated all over Ireland, and in lots of places it still is. It’s a meeting of generations and a time for sharing. I remember the first time I joined a table of women in a candlelit pub in Ballyferriter for Nollaig na mBan. The singing had already begun. The barman was carrying trays of drinks and platters of food from the kitchen. A couple of older women, in seats closest to the fire, were keeping an eye on a group o