The 6th January is Nollaig na mBan: Women’s Christmas. Also known as Little Christmas and Celebration of the Epiphany. A litany of names for the last of the 12 days of Christmas and the day on which the Three Wise Men are supposed to appear for the first time in the Crib. They rarely do of course, since January 6th is also traditionally the day the decorations finally come down.
Kevin Danaher’s classic text The Year In Ireland: A Calendar has a short entry on the date. He suggests that the name “Women’s Christmas” is explained by “the assertion that Christmas Day was marked by beef, and whiskey, men’s fare, while on Little Christmas Day the dainties preferred by women – cake, tea, wine, were more in evidence”.
In honour of the tradition I baked one of my favourites – Jessie Tweedle’s Tea Loaf which I’ve blogged about before.
Just a reminder (if you didn’t read about this delight before), if you can resist, leave it for a few days before eating as it is so much the better for it. Enjoy a slice with butter and/or a little jam.