Folklore of Little Christmas

The Photographic Collection, A015.03.00319
Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD.

Little Christmas is the twelfth night. There are generally 12 candles lit in every house. The candles are made out of rushes. The people get the rushes out of the bog and they peel them for the night, then at night they mix cowdung and ashes and they put the candles in it. Then they say the rosary. They leave the cake up on the rafters till the next year.

Little Christmas is on the 6th of January. It is sometimes called the 12th day by some people. On that day the holly which was up on the walls since Christmas is taken down and burnt on that day.

Little Christmas Day.

On Little Christmas Night twelve rush candles are made and are placed in a cow manure and each one in the family names a candle for himself. Then the family say the Rosary while the candles are burning and the person who owns the candle that goes out first dies first and the person who owns the candle that burns longest lives the longest.

The Big Wind, 1839

The Big Wind fell on Little Christmas night. A man by the name of Paddy Cronin who lived in Beal was in the house with his mother. The storm lifted the roof off the house. He took out his mother and tied her on to an ash tree, lest she would get hurt. While he was going back for some blankets to put around her from the cold, the tree was uprooted and there was not a trace of the tree or the woman to be found.