How Does Ireland Celebrate Christmas?

Ireland shares many Christmas traditions with the United States and England, but has a number of its own unique customs. Examples include the Wren Boys Procession and leaving a candle as a welcoming light for Mary and Joseph.

The day after Christmas Day is called St. Stephen's Day in Ireland, and the celebrations continue. A primary tradition on this day is the Wren Boys Procession. Young people dress in costumes and go from house to house with a holly bush on a long pole while singing a song about a wren being caught in the bush. In years past, an actual dead wren was put in the holly bush, but this is no longer done. People may also solicit donations for the wren.

Christmas dinners are similar to those of the United States and England, but one unique addition is spiced beef that has been slowly cooked over a period of days. Dessert may consist of a plum pudding, a round cake full of caraway seeds or a fruit cake with marzipan and icing.

In Ireland, Christmas may technically be celebrated until January 6th, when the Feast of the Epiphany takes place. Women are given the day off from housework, and men do the cooking and cleaning.