Nollaig na mBan – Womens Little Christmas!

nollaig na mban

Within Irish tradition, the 6th of January represents not only the Feast of the Epiphany but also ‘Womens Little Christmas’. On this day women come together to put their feet up and celebrate Christmas leaving their husbands and partners in charge of all the kitchen duties and the cleaning up afterwards! The tradition has admittedly begun to disappear in recent years however the ladies of the Southwest of Ireland still make sure to the make the most of their day each year! 🙂

http://www.dailyedge.ie/have-yourself-a-merry-womens-little-christmas-65383-Jan2011/

womens little christmas

The Feast of the Epiphany and Three Kings Day

 

kings and camels

The Feast of the Epiphany which celebrates the revelation of Jesus Christ to man takes place on the 6th of January. The feast is a celebration of how Jesus Christ revealed himself in three ways; as child to the Magi, at His baptism, and at His first miracle at the wedding in Cana. The Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, therefore it is also referred to as the ‘Twelfth Night’. It is also a celebration in honour of the Three Wise Men (Magi) who came to visit Jesus Christ when he was born. ‘Three Kings Day’ is celebrated in Latin America, Spain, and in Hispanic communities of the United States. There is a tradition carried out by many families which sees the children receiving gifts under their bed upon waking up from their Twelfth Night slumber. This tradition represents the gifts Jesus Christ received from the Magi; gold, frankincense and myrrh. The children write letters to the Magi in the days leading up until January 6th and leave their shoes as well as some hay for the camels which the Magi are travelling on outside their door before going to sleep. In some European countries especially Italy, the day of the Feast of the Epiphany is seen to be of greater importance than Christmas Day with many celebratory events taken place amongst families and communities.

Below is a video which outlines what the Gospel of Matthew tells us about the Epiphany. It is a very useful resource for the classroom. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that the birth of Jesus Christ was to change the world for all people.

 

Below is a video which shows the celebration of Three Kings Day in Mexico. This is an excellent video to show students how different cultures celebrate the traditions that we share. 

 

The first celebration of Three Kings Day at Disneyland.

 

Celebration of the Epiphany and Three Kings Day 2014 around the World. This is an excellent resource for all you need to know about the significance of the 6th January and the traditions which take place around the world.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/05/epiphany-2014_n_4545013.html?ir=Religion

 

Photos of the celebration of Three Kings Day 

 

three kings day three kings day 1 three kings day 2 kings in boat king cake

The Journey of the Magi – T.S Eliot
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kiking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

 

kings and gifts

 

Christmas of days gone by!

Searching through http://www.tes.co.uk I have found this fantastic lesson idea and accompanying resources for teaching students about Christmas during the Medieval and Tudor times and comparing these experiences to their own experience of Christmas today. I think this lesson idea would work perfectly in a Junior Cycle History classroom and would allow the students to step inside the shoes of the people from the Medieval and Tudor period. Below I have shared the Powerpoint Presentation for this lesson and to download the worksheets which come with this lesson please click on the link below.  🙂

http://www.tes.co.uk/teaching-resource/Christmas-through-time-Medieval-and-Tudor-6381111/

medieval christmas

 

medieval christmas dinner

tudor christmas

 

merry christmas 2

Nativity of Jesus activities for Junior Cycle Religious Education

 

cartoon nativity

 

The below tasks would be useful in a junior cycle Religious Education classroom and appear most suited to First and Second Year students as helpful ways for them to learn about and understand the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and the meaning this brings to Christmas Day.

 

TASK 1

Copy and complete these sentences into your book, filling in the missing words. The words you might need are written below.

At Christmas time, Christians celebrate the birth of baby _______. Jesus was born in a town called _____________. He was born in a __________ because there was no room in the inn.

His parents ______ and ________ had to travel a long way before Jesus was born so they could register in Bethlehem.

Joseph      Jesus        Bethlehem         Stable      Mary

TASK 2

When Jesus was born, the shepherds were out on the hillside looking after their sheep. Suddenly hundreds of angels appeared to them telling them that Jesus had been born. 

Imagine that you are one of the shepherds who saw the angels appear. Write a letter to your friend telling them what you saw and what happened when you went to see the baby Jesus.

How did you feel? Were you afraid? Excited? Happy? Amazed?

 

TASK 3
Answer these questions in full sentences

1. Why did Mary and Joseph have to travel all the way to Bethlehem?

2. What kind of dangers do you think Mary and Joseph might have faced on their journey through the desert on the donkey?

3. How do you think Mary felt when she was told she had to have her baby in a stable with the animals?

4. How do you think the three Wise Men felt after their long journey when they finally found the baby Jesus?

 

TASK 4

Draw 4-6 boxes in your book and create a picture timeline of the events leading up to Jesus’ birth. You could include Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the visit of the three wise men, Jesus is born and the angels appearing to the shepherds.

 

iMOM Nativity Story Cards 1

 

Merry Christmas 🙂

 

Christmas traditions in Romania VS Christmas traditions in Ireland

christmas romania

As my search for fun Christmas ideas for the classroom continues I came across an interesting comparison lesson on the Christmas traditions in Romania and the Christmas traditions in Scotland. For the purposes of this blog I have slightly tweaked the lesson by replacing Christmas traditions in Scotland with Christmas traditions in Ireland however feel free to compare the Romanian traditions with whichever traditions suit your school community. I found this lesson idea on http://www.tes.co.uk and additional worksheets can be found there to accompany the lesson. I think it is an excellent chance for students to see how Christmas is celebrated in both similar and different ways around the world and also a chance for students to embrace the culture of another.

merry christmas

Christmas fun for the History Classroom!

christmas

This day next week Santa Claus will have been and gone, presents will have been exchanged and opened and the turkey should already be in the oven! Yes, this day next week is CHRISTMAS DAY! So in the spirit of the holiday season I went in search of some fun Christmas ideas for the classroom. For many the school term comes to an end this week so why not have a bit of fun with your students whilst learning some new and surprising facts about the history of some of the most recognisable characteristics of Christmas? For those of you like myself who are not teaching at the moment there is no harm in taking a sneak peek at these excellent PowerPoint Presentations which I found on http://www.Tes.co.uk and making a note of them for the next time you will be in the classroom over the festive season.

Merry Christmas 🙂

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merry christmas