Nollaig na Mban (Women’s Christmas) is how the Irish celebrate Epiphany… or Mary Christmas Ireland’s women if you will.
When it’s more about two million women than three wise men.
And who can blame our womenfolk for reclaiming the day because Christmas, like everything else in the Church, has been hijacked by men?
With Mary’s part her labour, with her builder husband leaving it to the last minute, and asking her to deliver Babba in a cowshed.
And not even Broken Britain’s beleaguered National Health Service would put Mum in a barn.
Coming out of the kitchen
Nollaig na Mban then is the day when Irish women can come out of the kitchen.
And forget about the scullery or under the stairs because the chores are passed over to the man.
And the women head to each others’ houses and drink tea and finish off the rest of the Christmas cake.
Yeah, right, that’s fine for your grandma but these days it’s shopping and cocktails… with Grandma at the front!
We doubt either if mothers still rub the tail of a herring across the eyes of their children to give immunity against disease for the rest of the year!
Most though still leave taking down the Christmas until after Twelfth Night, Epiphany.
While the Irish Writers’ Centre run an annual event for Nollaig na Mban.
Marking celebrating women writers worldwide, with the theme of this year’s night marked as “Home”.
Of course the Three Kings idea still persists around the world with Dia de los Reyes celebrated with gusto in Spain.
And in Germany children going from house to house on Epiphany Eve or Dreikonigsfest
Singing carols and chalking the year and initials of the three kings near the entrance of each home.
All of which we’re spared in heathen Britain which means I’m off chores and on football.
And it was the way too in my 13 years in Ireland when I kept the idea of Women’s Christmas well away from The Scary One.