6th January - Oiche Nollaig na Mban
2019 - Thanks to Anne for this.... updated 2023.
Nollag na mBan or Woman’s Christmas is an old tradition and also known as Nollaig Bheag Na Mban and is celebrated on January 6th.
This is the traditional day when the women put their feet up after the busy Christmas while the men donned the aprons and did all the woman's chores for the day, serving dinner to the woman in the evening, an acknowledgement of all the hard work the women did over the Christmas.
Although that may not be the best idea as we are told:
At Epiphany or Little Christmas which is the twelfth after Christmas the men are supposed to cook the meals for the women and so it is called the "womens Christmas". At tea on that evening a barm brack is eaten which contains, a ring, a stick, a bean, a pea and a rag just the same as on Hallow E'en.
Sure the ladies were delighted to find a stick and a rag in their pud? Yummy, maybe.... thanks to the Schools Collection for this insight.
It used to be widespread but became less well known over the years, surviving in Cork, Kerry and Waterford and in pockets around the country. While originally a rural tradition, Nollag na mBan is enjoying something of a revival over the past 15 years. Nowadays. woman get together and meet up for drinks, meals and some even head to the spas for a day of pampering and relaxation. An new spin on an old tradition.
Nollaig na mBan SonaDaoibh – Happy Women’s Christmas to you all.
For more on 6th January and the wonderful Italian witch Befana la-befana-and-twelfth-night.
5th or 6th January is Twelfth Night? When is Twelfth Night?
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Anne is sharing a series of Notable Dates and Festivals throughout the year - you can find them listed by clicking to the link here.