There sits a fine example of the celtic knot. It never begins or really ends, just continues on always. Beset beneath two spirals spinning out and in at the same time. Some things go on forever. Others only seem to.
The calendar was not designed to be a maudlin thing but here at the twilight of the year we are reminded that some things stop, or shift or change.
The number of the year goes up and we go on but things are changed and by our traditions we can measure or progress or mark how far how have to go.
Christmas and New Year’s are the loud, boorish, lost-in-their-cups uncles, traditions that announce themselves from around the corner and down the block. They have their custom and we partake and love them for it. Through the debts of Christmas and receipts of the sales of St. Stephen we come together after a fashion, but it’s a common one.
There are other quieter customs less regarded and little practiced now but worth remembering if not enjoying.
After Christmas, was Boxing Day. Also on that day, if less practiced, is Wren Day.
Wren Day is when children parade around with a Wren (a fake one these days) and play music while asking for money to cover funeral expenses for the poor bird. The exact reason for this, not that one ever needs a reason to pay a child to stop banging a Bodhran and leave them in peace, is unknown but the stories are fun.
One story has it that the Wren was the bird that gave away the position of Irish soldiers to vikings or the men of Lord Cromwell, costing them their lives.
Another holds it up to Cliona the seductress, who would seduce men to the ocean only to drown them but was cursed every Christmas to be a Wren and easy enough to punish.
But if giving’s more your man than begging and you still find seduction in the sea then there’s always the New Year’s day Swim. While the chill may question your sense, there’ll be no denying heart as proceeds support a number of charities.
Lastly there is Nollaig na mBan, Women’s Christmas. A day when, after the rush and the wrapping paper, the men are expected to tidy up the house while the women retire for tea or to the local.
We save this one for last because, no one really leaves the washing up to the missus the other 364 days a year do they? A pair of socks on the floor here or there is fine but you can’t wait until December to show some honest appreciation.
Especially when there’s so many ways
to show it throughout the year. Charity begins at home after all and a home without may see you cozying up a bit to chastity.
Traditions grow and change over years and across generations. You might be in the mood to start some new traditions this year, or just bask in the comfort of what’s always been done.
Whatever you allow yourself these next few days, be well, be healthy and enjoy.