School: Carnadough (B.), Newtowncashel

Location:
Cornadowagh, Co. Longford
Teacher:
P. Eustace

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Pagan Customs

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0753, Page 323

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There are many feasts celebrated by the Irish throughout the year. Of these, the one which is considered the greatest is Christmas. There was a pagan custom practised by Druids, hundreds of years before Our Lord was born. The feast they celebrated was called. "The birthday of our sun," and it fell on the 23rd of Dec. They held it on this day, because it was the day after the shortest day in the year, and they knew that the long dark days of winter were over: In olden times, people decorated their houses on the birthday of the sun, as we do now at Christmas. There is scarcely a family that does not decorate the house. Holly is generally used for this purpose, but ivy, laurel, and mistletoe, are also used. Holly containing berries is very much fancied, because it looks very attractive. The Greeks liked holly and ivy, but they preferred holly and mistletoe. They did not like ivy because it had no berries. When there is a very severe Winter it is very difficult to get holly with berries as the birds eat them for food. Holly contains thorny leaves, but sometimes it is to be found without any thorns. In ancient times a great log of wood

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Collector
Tomás Ó Féicin
Gender
male
Address
Caltragh More, Co. Longford
Language
English