Nollaig na mBan/Women’s (Little) Christmas

Nollaig na mBan, sometimes referred to as Women’s (Little) Christmas, it is so-called because of the tradition, which is still very strong in Cork and Kerry, of Irish men taking on all the household duties for the day and giving their spouses a day off on 6 January. Most women hold parties or go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts. Bars and restaurants serve mostly women and girls on this night. Children often buy presents for their mothers and grandmothers. While originally a rural tradition, in recent years Nollaig na mBan is enjoying something of a revival both in Ireland and abroad; becoming popular in the Irish emigrant communities.

A “Little Christmas” is also a figure in Irish set dancing. It refers to a figure where half the set, four dancers, join together with hands linked behind partners lower back, and the whole figure proceeds to rotate in a clockwise motion, usually for eight bars.


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