Women’s Christmas when the men do the work

Nollaig na mBhan - Women’s Christmas when the men do the work

Women in Ireland are reviving an ancient Christmas tradition with a bit of a twist.

Nollaig na mBhan - Women’s Christmas when the men do the work

‘Nollaig na mBhan’ or Women’s Christmas is a celebration that takes place on the 6th of January each year to mark the end of the festive period, but it has one key ingredient: it’s women only, no men allowed.

Nollaig na mBhan, which is also sometimes referred to as Little Christmas, is the day where women sit back and let men take over the household chores.

Sisters, mothers, daughters and friends will be out in Ireland tonight enjoying some good food and a few drinks, while their men struggle at home with the cleaning, cooking and looking after the kids.

The tradition originated in Counties Kerry and Cork but is also present in America and Europe after immigrants spread the tradition around the world. It involves the women of a community getting together for a meal and a drink on the twelfth night of Christmas, to celebrate the end of the festive period.

Well-deserved rest and a party of their own

For centuries, the women of a house were responsible for hosting and cooking grand feasts for their husbands and other family members at Christmas time, as well as looking after the house and children.

Nollaig na mBhan Image Ireland calling

Women’s Christmas evolved in Ireland from the traditional Christian celebration of the Epiphany, when the three Magi visited the newborn baby Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

By the 6th of January most men would be back at work and women would be in charge of removing the Christmas decorations and returning the household back to normal. The family members would have left and the circumstances were perfectly set for women to take a well-deserved rest and have a party of their own.

The tradition is being brought back by the women of Ireland as they gather today for food and drinks to recharge the batteries and swap festive stories, before tomorrow turning their attention to the new year.

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