Every family is a foreign country. One of the things that differentiates countries, (and families), from each other, is their traditions. Christmas has lots of those! We have rooted out a few Irish traditions for you here including one uniquely Kilmore tradition that dates back over 300 years.
Kilmore village has a unique tradition of 13 special carols which date back to the 16th & 17th centuries. These carols are sung over on Christmas night and the 12 days of Christmas, the last carol being sung on the 12th day of Christmas, January 6th.
Many of the carols were written by a priest, a Father Devereux who returned to Kilmore in the 1720’s. The carols are always sung by six men, and for the last 300 years, all carol singers are descendants of the original carol singers. There is always a Devereux amongst the carollers. I recently found this short television clip in the RTE archives of the Carols being sung in Kilmore church on Christmas eve in 1977, and you can view it here. (You’ll need a media player on your computer to view it).
You will hear the presenter say that caroller, Johnny Devereux, (now deceased, RIP), has three sons but none of them are interested in carrying on the family carol singing tradition. Johnny was our neighbour and the carols were very important to him. Johnny was very proud of being a member of such a select and historic group. His son, Dixie Devereux, has since taken a place in the choir and the tradition continues.
Some people like to take a break over Christmas, and make it a self catering Christmas in our holiday homes, which come ready decorated. We provide guests with homemade traditional hampers at Christmas time, containing home baked goods made with organic fruit and nuts, but this year we are…
It has been snowy and frosty since around November 27, and we have been caught by surprise! We don’t normally get much snow at all here and never before Christmas. So we have been going snowhere and baking is not yet done. There’s still time and we are promised a thaw over the next few days.
Our Virtual Gift
The best known Christmas tradition of all is the one of giving presents at Christmas. So we thought we’d give all our readers a little Christmas present. Download your animated Christmas Card here. (You need MS Exel to play this).
Some Christmas trivia for you:
|Mince Pies||were banned by Oliver Cromwell’s parliament in 1647. He also banned Christmas. (So Ollie was really the first Grinch).|
|Christmas Crackers||were allegedly invented by a man named Tom Smith in 1846, although there was a story published in 1841 that mentioned crackers. Perhaps it was just a case of great minds think alike, but by 1898 Tom’s factory was the only one in the world to make crackers, all 13 million of them per annum.|
|Advent Calendars||were first produced in Germany at the end of the 19th century. They were much larger than today’s and there were gifts and chocolates behind the 24 numbered doors. So this is one tradition that wasn’t commercialised over time, it was like that from the start! And while the ones with pictures are great and everything, who can deny that the chocolate filled ones are not better?|
These traditions are still carried on in Ireland today. Have you got any Christmas traditions that you would like to share? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below. And Happy Christmas!