Following the success of the three-volume series, Birth, Marriage and Death and the Irish (2016-2021), this collection examines the celebration of Christmas among the Irish, from the seventh century to the present day. In 75 articles, ranging from the serious to the light-hearted, writers from a range of academic disciplines and professions - Anthropology, Celtic Studies, Education, Folklore, Healthcare, History, Journalism, Literature, Media, and Broadcasting, Pastoral Ministry, Philosophy and Theology - reflect on what Christmas has meant to Irish people through the ages, whether living at home or abroad. Topics covered in this volume include: the theme of light in early Irish texts; festive feasting and fighting in the Middle Ages; the Kilmore carols of County Wexford; the history of Irish Christmas food through the centuries; crimes of Christmas past; Christmas on the Blasket Islands; the claim that 'Santa's Grave' is in County Kilkenny; why Irish missionaries in Zimbabwe regularly missed out on their Christmas dinner; the origins and early life of the Late Late Toy Show; a Christmas surprise among Irish peacekeepers in the Lebanon; Christmas customs among the Traveling Community; Christmas and the Irish Jewish community; the Wren Boys; 'Women's Christmas'; Irish links to popular Christmas carols; Christmas and James Joyce; the curious custom of reciting 4,000 Hail Marys in the lead up to Christmas, and why it became an established tradition for the Viceroy to send a woodcock to the British monarch every Christmas. This anthology will prove a fascinating read for all who are interested in the social, cultural, and religious history of Ireland, but, more importantly, will delight all who love Christmas itself.
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Date of Publication: 13/10/2023