Nobody does Christmas quite like the Irish, with customs and celebrations galore. However with so many customs surrounding Christmas in Ireland, it’s hard to understand which are the most popular and cherished.
IrishCentral surveyed our readersback in 2015 to learn which of the Irish Christmas traditions really make the season.
Over 500 of you voted, and the results? Midnight Mass was the clear winner!
The complete outcomes are below, and honorable reference should go to the truly gorgeous Christmas tradition of putting a burning candle light in the window of your home– a sign of warmth and welcome. Mary Robinson, Ireland’s very first female president, re-popularized the tradition when she positioned a lit candle light in the president’s house, Áras an Uachtaráin, soon after being inaugurated as president in 1990, as a gesture towards the countless Irish around the world.
Which of the following is your favorite Irish Christmas custom!.?. !? Share your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
1. Midnight Mass (49%)
If you’re looking for a church loaded to the rafters, look no further than any church in Ireland at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. This is a substantial celebration where household, pals, and next-door neighbors who you might not have actually seen all year come together and celebrate Christmas.
With Christmas carols being sung and, typically, live music being played, Midnight Mass in Ireland is a fantastic location to overtake old buddies and get in touch with the local community at Christmas.
2. Leaving cookies out for Santa (35%)
This custom is one of the most special for households celebrating Christmas around the world. While not distinctively Irish, it’s a favorite across Ireland, as kids leave deals with out for Santa and his reindeer, and winking moms and dads get to steal a cookie from Santa later.
Looking for an excellent Irish dish for Santa’s cookies this year? Attempt these melty chocolate chip cookies made with Kerrygold butter.
3. Baking (or simply consuming!) a Christmas cake (34%)
In the US, a fruitcake is basically a joke. You’ve heard the one about the fruitcake that gets re-gifted every year, right? However in Ireland, Christmas cake– which has a fruitcake base– is not in the least bit funny. Christmas cakes in Ireland are tasty works of art, with brandy-soaked fruit, crumbly sponge, and sweet almond icing. Want to explore making one of your own? Ireland’s culinary grande dame Darina Allen has the best recipe.
4. New pajamas for Christmas (29%)
Christmas is one of the few days of the year where you can invest most of the day in your pajamas and not feel in the least bit bad about it. You’re too busy opening presents, consuming hot chocolate, viewing Christmas films, and prepping for dinner to care. Still, it assists to have a good and nice pair, which is where the custom of Christmas pajamas originated from. Plus, they produce the very best (read: silliest) family Christmas photos.
5. Caroling (24%)
Whether it remains in the security of your own sitting space or door to door in the area in a group, caroling is one of the best ways to put yourself, and others, in the Christmas spirit. In a country with as rich a musical heritage as Ireland, it’s no surprise caroling is popular– specifically when there are beautiful Irish Christmas tunes like the “Wexford Carol” and “Fairytale of New York City.” To learn some Irish carols and hymns, read more here.
6. Pulling Christmas crackers (20%)
Numerous an Irish kid has, at one point or another, fled the Christmas dinner table in tears when the time came to pull the Christmas crackers, frightened by the loud bang they produce when pulled. However as we all eventually discovered, that was an error, due to the fact that inside the vibrantly wrapped crackers are toys and trinkets, paper crowns, and jokes to make the whole household growl with laughter (or jointly roll their eyes).
7. A big music session in the local on Christmas Eve (16%)
Bars in Ireland are packed during the holidays (read more about the 12 Clubs of Christmas listed below) with individuals off from work and home for the vacations out to celebrate and reunite. Christmas Eve can be a specifically hectic night, as individuals appear before or after Midnight Mass and get one last night out prior to the family-centric Christmas events begin.
So, naturally, the tin whistle, the fiddle, the bodhrán and the uilleann pipelines make an appearance for a few tunes. This custom is particularly huge for the Irish who live abroad and who have actually come home for Christmas, since absolutely nothing quite states you’re house like a pint at the local, sitting by the fire while next-door neighbors you have actually understood your whole life fill the space with tunes you’ve understood your entire life however have not heard in ages.
8. Unsightly vacation sweatshirts (13%)
This started off with aunties, grandmas and loved ones handing over the most horrible sweaters as presents for Christmas, however somehow Christmas sweaters have developed into a competition on the streets of Ireland. The woollier and more ridiculously embellished the much better.
9. The wren young boys on St. Stephen’s Day (11%)
Throughout chastening times a group of soldiers will be ambushed, having actually been surrounded while they slept, but a group of wrens pecked on their drums and woke them. Thus, the wren ended up being known as “The Devil’s Bird.” To guarantee the bird’s treachery isn’t forgotten, on St. Stephen’s Day (Dec 26) individuals process around, going door-to-door with blackened faces and wearing old clothes, and carrying a dead (now more frequently fake) wren on top of the pole. Then, crowds of “strawboys” worn straw suits and masks march to celebrate the wren and are called the wren young boys.
While this tradition is no longer as popular as it when was, it withstands in parts of Ireland and is an uniquely Irish way to spend the day after Christmas. Find out more about the wren boys here.
10 The twelve clubs of Christmas (11%)
The 12 Clubs of Christmas is has taken Ireland by storm in the previous 10 years or so. Initially only the most devoted of drinkers would take on the uphill struggle, however increasingly more we’re seeing all sorts of Christmas parties join the fray– from office parties (big and little) to family and friends reunions.
12 Pubs of Christmas is basically an extended bar crawl. Throughout an evening you, in addition to your bros and sisters-in-indulgence, visit 12 bars and effort to have a beverage in everyone. “Christmas jumpers” or sweatshirts and Santa hats are the uniform of choice for the soldiers of the 12 Pubs and every weekend in December you will see really merry Santa Clauses and Mrs. Clauses in every town in Ireland. To top things off, each stop on the club crawl includes its own set of rules.
You can read what they are– and get some ideas for preparing your own 12 Clubs, here.
Which of these is your preferred Irish Christmas custom? Or is yours not included here? Share your thoughts in the remark area, below.
* Initially released in 2015.