Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nollaig na mBan

The title of the blog post is in Irish, and reads Women's Christmas. In Ireland the 6th of January has traditionally been known as Women's Christmas or Little Christmas and I have heard it referred to as Little Women's Christmas, maybe height restrictions apply?!The Christmas festivities would be over and the woman of the house would have worked hard to ensure everyone had plenty to eat and drink. This last day of the 12 days of Christmas was set aside ,at least in Counties Cork and Limerick as the day the women were looked after.During the hedonistic 80's and 90's particularly, hotels booked big stars and bands and the function was booked out months in advance as whole groups of women let their hair down and celebrated.Now groups of women, maybe family or friends etc will get together and have a meal and a few drinks etc.We would usually celebrate it by getting together but this year with the treacherous road conditions it will not be a getting together in one place as all of my daughters except one,live outside the city and would need to drive to any venue.
The 3 wise men or Magi were not put into a crib until today, check the crib photo taken last week! They would be put in today which was traditionally the day believed they found the Baby Jesus in the stable.We do not take down our Christmas decorations until after 6th January, usually the weekend following the date.

I dug out my knitting bag as the going out was curtailed and finished this waistcoat I had started last year.It only needed one side and sewing up but I think Spring came early last year and the knitting was abandoned for the garden.I find when wearing jeans/skirts with a shirt inside I like to have something to cover the raw edges!I had the wool and just made up the pattern as I went along. It is a commonly used combination of stitches and more or less can be used in the repeat depending on the size of the garment
Close up of the stitch pattern.
We think of leaving food out for the birds at this time of year but here in Ireland we usually do not have to think of leaving water out for them. This year we DO! All available water is frozen solid in streams and pools as the temperatures have plummeted and stayed down. I put out this shallow bowl yesterday so the small birds would not have any difficulty and I had to thaw and refill 3 times during the day.
We went en famile to get our Swine flu shots yesterday. Aisling,Nigel and the 2 boys and myself as I would be in contact with Jack who is under 6 months old and considered in the high risk category.We were very impressed with the whole layout of the 'clinic'. It took place and does every day in the Neptune Basketball stadium.Hundreds of people were vaccinated in a very quick and relaxed environment.We are always quick to criticise the HSE but I have to say this was brilliantly organized from the time we entered to the time we left about 45 minutes in all. I am a veteran of mass vaccinations having had them done for Polio and Smallpox many years ago.Nigel did remark it was a bit like something on the TV like 'Outbreak' all of these people queueing to be vaccinated.Alls well that ends well. We did not get any adverse reaction to it and are now hopefully immunised against this years flu mutant!


Ann said...

I enjoyed the history of the Women's Christmas, I hadn't heard of that, a good idea too!

Love the waistcoat, I'm a really useless knitter so admire people who turn out these lovely garments.

We feed the birds and today we even had a magpie on the bird table, they usually don't bother with the table so they must be hungry.

About my latest bag, yes, it's for a Valentine swap but I'm making another one to keep. I can see myself making more with the yo-yos though.

Catherine said...

Nice post - Nollaig na mBan is very much a Cork tradition rather than across the border in Waterford - when I worked in Fermoy up to 8 years ago it was celebrated by all my friends there.
AS for the waistcoat - you are very talented to make up this pattern - I love it! I made a scarf over Christmas for my son's partner in a kit from Lidl for €3 - chenille balls is the only way to describe it! Lovely and snug though.
Then the bit I liked - your praise for the Swine flu clinics! I spent 6 weeks from early Nov. in the Waterford clinics and they went swimmingly - we got through loads of people and everyone was very impressed by the efficiency and speed with which the clinics operated,shows what can be done with a bit of input of resources and staffing. I may be back in the clinics this month again, as the second team come to the end of their stint. I heard the Neptune was very busy. We got some Cork people who couldn't get appointments there. We're a great bunch in the HSE when we get a chance!
All the best, Catherine

Scarlett the Heavenly Healer said...

How interesting - 6th January is when I begin my own new year, as I also observe 3 Kings Day (despite being unattached to any particular religion)so was really pleased to learn of your 'women's christmas' tradition at this special time.

We are all snowed in with arctic cold conditions! Sun's out here though and all looks beautiful in my snowy garden. Stay warm and well.

Kathleen said...

It's sounds as cold there as it is here in the States Peggy. I love the Women's holiday idea ~ I haven't heard of it although our family does observe Christmas thru Jan 6th unlike a lot of families around us.
I wanted to drop by and say a BIG thank you for all the gifts you sent me thru the Gardening by Letter project. The handmade card is gorgeous and truly appreciated since I also enjoy making cards. Your lavender sachet smells absolutely wonderful. As soon as I opened the package, the scent wafted up! Gorgeous napkins too ~ almost too nice to use and that oval friend ornament is adorable. Thank you so much for your incredible generosity. I hope you will have as much fun with your package as I did with mine.
Happy New Year wishes to you and your family too. I hope it warms up soon!

BT said...

Well I have never heard that before Peggy. How interesting. I think I shall have to introduce it around here next year!

Your waistcoat is fabulous and a super colour too. I can make up repeating patterns in, say, bags, but now for a waistcoat or anything complicated. It's lovely.

It sounds as though the HSE did very well with the jabs. Good on them and well done for praise where praise is due.

Peggy said...

Ann:a lot of Irish people have not heard of doing anything for Womens Christmas either!

Catherine:I know the Lidl wool you are describing, they have great deals in crafts from time to time.The HSE are doing a good job organizing huge amounts of people for the swnine flu jabs.We did'nt have appointments but had phoned a couple of days before and were told it was the best time to

Scarlett: stay warm as you have worse weather than we do!Interesting that you have 3 Kings day on 6th jan, it is also the Feast of the Epiphany

Kathleen: I am delighted you enjoyed you Gardening by Letter gifts,I paid a visit to yur blog and you did a great post on all of the packages you received.I am looking forward to mine!

BT: You should introduce celebrating Womens Christmas to Co Clare!I like knitting but rarely use a pattern needless to say some things do not turn out as intended and become something else entirely by the time I get them finished.