Top Irish Traditions that Add Colour to Christmas Across the World

Irish Christmas traditions add a layer of magic and colour to the season and there are many that are as popular today as when they first began. So what are the top traditions that have spread across the world and are popular globally right now?

There are up to 80 million people around the world with Irish connections and Christmas is the time to embrace the memories of their past and keep them alive. The season seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year, sometimes even immediately after Halloween. However, the traditional day which the vast majority of people in Ireland still adhere to is to put up decorations and their tree on December 8th. This was traditionally the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic heritage of the country and a big shopping day where thousands would traditionally travel to Dublin and the big cities but that tradition has waned now and been replaced by days like Black Friday as sales have moved online. The decorations would then be taken down on Little Christmas which is on January 6th. The Irish abroad tend to follow this tradition also, no matter where they are living and how far-flung their Christmas is.

Here are some of the top Irish traditions that add color to Christmas across the world...

Christmas Pudding

Lacing the Christmas Cake with Whiskey
A rich combination of nuts and fruit, the Christmas cakes and puddings were usually made months in advance so that they could mature properly and laced with whiskey to give them extra flavor. Even though a lot of cakes are bought nowadays rather than home made anybody hankering for that pure taste of home will look out for that key ingredient of a dollop of whiskey that adds the taste of home in the most traditional of ways!

Late Late Toy Show
Late Late Toy Show

The Late Late Toy Show
One of the last remaining Irish institutions, RTÉ's Late Late Toy Show is watched across the generations and is the biggest appointment-to-view across the generations and marks the official start of Christmas in Ireland whether the trees are yet up or not. This year will be additionally nostalgic following the passing of Ireland’s best loved broadcaster Gay Byrne who earned the moniker ‘Uncle Gaybo’ as he presented the early editions of this classic TV programme. Viewers tune in from around the world and it bonds families no matter where they are living - it’s a tradition that’s hard to explain to anyone but the Irish!

Christmas Candle in Window

Candle in the Window
This beautiful tradition has now been adopted by homes in Ireland and across the world. President Mary Robinson introduced this tradition at the house of the Irish President a number of years ago and lit a ‘welcome candle’ as a symbol to all emigrants. It has become a very important symbol for the Irish abroad and is also done in houses across the country at Christmas time especially New Years Eve and Christmas Eve. With the warmth of an open fire which is a modern version of ‘burning the yule’ log this also adds a layer of light and sparkle to homes across the world.

Christmas Snacks
For many people Christmas just is not Christmas without bags of Tayto crisps, a tin of USA assorted biscuits and of course Cadbury’s Roses. These dietary staples are sent around the world especially at Christmas in hampers or sought out in Irish food stores around the world. The traditional Irish fry with sausages, eggs, rashers and black pudding is enjoyed by many on Christmas day with lashings of Kerrygold butter and a cup of Barry's tea. Kerrygold butter has conquered America’s kitchens in particular and recent statistics have shown double-digit growth yet again just like every year this decade. In every survey every year, the Irish abroad list these as the foods they miss most abroad and crave at Christmas time.

Happy Christmas!
Posted on December 11, 2019

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