Christmas in Ireland lasts from Christmas Eve to the
feast of the Epiphany on January 6, which is referred to
Little Christmas. Ireland's Christmas is more religious
than a time of fun.
Lighted candles are placed in windows on Christmas Eve,
as a guide that Joseph and Mary might be looking for
shelter. The candles are usually red in color, and
decorated with sprigs of holly.
Irish women bake a seed cake for each person in the
house. They also make three puddings, one for each day
of the Epiphany such as Christmas, New Year's Day and
the Twelfth Night.
After the Christmas evening meal, bread and milk are
left out and the door unlatched as a symbol of
St Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas, is almost as
important, with football matches and meetings going on.
For children, the Wren Boys Procession is their big
event. Boys go from door to door with a fake wren on a
stick, singing, with violins, accordions, harmonicas and
horns to accompany them. The reason for the ceremony is
to ask for money 'for the starving wren', that is, for
their own pockets.