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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Little Women's Christmas: Ready ladies?

Irish Pub (Photo by Aubrey Dale)
For those who are still recovering from the vastness of Christmas preparations, despair not…  A kinder, gentler – nay, smaller – celebration is yet to come.

That celebration is humbly named Little Christmas.  In many lands it goes by grander  names – Epiphany (Western Church), Theophany (Eastern Orthodox), Baptism (Ethiopian Orthodox) , Up-Going (Syriac Christians), Nativity and Theophany of Christ
(Armenian Apostolic Church), Day of the Kings (Argentina), Baptism of the Lord (Bulgaria), Three Kings' Day (Holland, Germany), Feast of the Epiphany (Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria), Cross (Finland), Lights (Greece), Carnival (Guadeloupe), Star Day (Latvia), The Three Kings (Malta), The Day of the Three Royal Magi (Spain) – but in Ireland, January 6th is often plainly referred to as Little Women's Christmas.

For a traditional Irish lady, this means that it's time to hand that broom and dishrag over to the "man of the house" in order to enjoy a "ladies' night out."  Whereas today this could mean dinner and drinks with like-minded females at a gourmet restaurant, historically it meant "shawled women hurrying to the local public
house."  Sheila Flitton explains that these women of yore would sit "in the snug" ("a small private room
inside the front door"), drinking stout and eating "thick corned beef sandwiches."  Cares would be put aside while the ladies talked, drank, and even sang as the night wore on…       


Copyright January 5, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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