2. Ireland: Nollaig na mBan
In Ireland, the twelve days of Christmas start on Dec. 25 and end on Jan. 6. The Irish call the last day “Nollaig na mBan,” Gaelic for “Little Christmas.” They also believe it’s unlucky to take down the tree before Nollaig na mBan.
On the last day, the Irish honor women and mothers for all of the work they did to prepare for Christmas — from cooking to decorating — and the men do all the housework and take down the Christmas decorations. On this day, women visit their friends, relax, and drink tea and eat the last of their Christmas desserts together.
Legends about Nollaig na mBan miracles abound. On Nollaig na mBan, traditions say that Irish people should sweep their houses and fill a fresh bucket of water, rubbing a herring tail on a child’s eyes will guarantee the child’s health for the next year and the water in wells turns to wine at night. Unfortunately, going outside to see the water turn to wine brings very bad luck.