Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Tuesday 05 December |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Bartholomew Fanti
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

7 Irish Christmas traditions you may not know about


Tim Parkinson | CC BY 2.0

V. M. Traverso - published on 12/24/18

Who knew our Irish cousins start December 25 with a "Christmas swim"?

Think of Christmas traditions and beautifully decorated trees, Nativity scenes and the joyful sound of Christmas carols may come to mind. But in Ireland, things are a little different. Christmas for Irish Catholics lasts from Christmas eve to the Epiphany on the 6th of January, also referred to as “little Christmas” (“Nollaig na mBan” in Irish, which literally means “Women’s Christmas”).

St. Stephen’s Day, the celebration on December 26 of the first Christian martyr, stoned to death not too long after Jesus’ Crucifixion, is also very important for the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle. And throughout such a packed calendar of celebrations, Irish Catholics make sure to live out some of their most ancient traditions, from swimming in the freezing cold waters of the Irish Sea to sipping hot Irish whiskey punch.

Click on the gallery to look at a selection of some unique Irish Christmas traditions:

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.