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Christmas  -  Christmas in Ireland

The Christmas celebration in Ireland stretches from Christmas Eve to the Epiphany feast on January 6th known as "Little Christmas". On the Christmas Eve, people place red candles decorated with hollies on their windows to guide Mary and Joseph in case they are looking for shelters. Women in the Irish families bake "seed cake" made for each person in the household. They also make three puddings for the each day of Epiphany, Christmas, New Year's Day and the Twelfth Night.

Christmas day is mainly a family day, where people visit churches, sing hymns and get together for the feast of the evening. The meal mainly comprises ham, spiced beef, stuffed chicken or turkey, potatoes and gravy along with Christmas pudding as dessert. After dinner, people leave bread and milk outside their homes and keep their entrance door unlocked symbolizing hospitality. Children often put Christmas sacks instead of stockings to be filled with gifts by Santa. As per the tradition, they even leave minced pies along with a bottle of Guinness as a snack for Santa.

The next day after Christmas is called St. Stephen’s Day, a day for football matches and meetings. For the children it also holds much fun where they dress up as "Wren Boys" with wrens in boxes or on sticks. They visit homes singing seeking money bury the wren'. They sing a rhyme, which is like this:

"The wren, the wren the king of all birds,
St Steven's day he was caught in the furze,
Up with the kettle and down with the pan.
Give us some money to bury the wren."

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