Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 04 August |
Saint of the Day: St. John Vianney
home iconTravel
line break icon

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!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Philip Kosloski
Most priests can’t absolve these sins
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.