Advent starts on the 1st Sunday of
∗ This is an Advent
wreath. A candle is lit
for each of the four
Sundays in Advent.
The final candle in the
represents Christ, is lit
on Christmas Day.
Our Classroom Advent Calendar
∗ We have an Advent
Calendar in our
classroom. We open a
window every day.
There are 25 windows
with a lovely
Traditionally, the Christmas season starts on December 8 th. This is the feast
of the Immaculate Conception. Schools were once closed on this day but
now they remain open. Towns and cities are lit up with Christmas lights.
Decorations are traditionally put up now. Shops are very busy and Santa
Claus appears in many shopping centres!
In Ireland, people light candles in the windows of
their house on Christmas Eve. This is a symbol of
welcome to Mary and Joseph who were looking for
shelter on Christmas Eve.
People attend midnight mass Christmas
Eve or mass Christmas morning.
Santa Claus comes on
Christmas Eve. Presents
are placed under the
Christmas tree or in
stockings hanging by the
fireplace. The presents are
Christmas Day Dinner
All the family comes together for dinner on Christmas
day. This can consist of turkey and ham, spiced beef
or a goose with roast potatoes, stuffing and
vegetables like brussel sprouts and cranberry sauce.
Christmas Cake – A fruit
cake with marzipan and
Plum Pudding, served
with custard or brandy
Mince Pies – Pastry
with a fruity filling.
Trifle – Jelly, fruit,
custard, sponge, cream
and sometimes sherry or
St. Stephen’s Day or the ‘Wren’s Day’ – Lá an
There is a tradition in some parts of the country to celebrate the Wren’s Day
by hunting the wren, a tiny bird. According to the legend there was once a plot
in a village against the local ruling British soldiers. They were surrounded and
were about to be ambushed when a group of wrens pecked on their drums
and awakened the soldiers. The plot failed and the wren became known as
'The Devil's bird'.
After hunting the wren the dead bird was carried around the town on a pole
decorated with ribbons, wreaths and flowers. Nowadays, a wren is not killed.
People dress up in straw suits and masks and play music and dance in the
In Co. Kerry, in the SouthWest of the country, the focal
point of the Wrenboys’
parade is a hobby horse. This
timber horse is worn on the
shoulders of one of the
members of the Wren – at the
head of the parade. The
horse, for social and military
reasons, was of great
importance in ancient Ireland.
January 6th – The Epiphany
∗ Three candles are placed in
windows to represent the
three Kings who visited the
newborn baby Jesus.
∗ January 6th is traditionally
considered the end of the
Decorations are taken down
now. It is considered bad luck
to take them down before
• January 6th is also known as Little Christmas
Women’s Christmas (Nollaig na mBan).
• There is a tradition in the south of the country for the men to carry
out the household duties for the day and the women to go out and
celebrate together after their hard work over the Christmas