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Words We Use... For Christmas


12-12-2012 09:00

As Christmas approaches, it’s time to look at the words we use to describe it - and as Diarmuid Ó’Muirithe revealed in Words We Use, sometimes those words aren’t as original as we think…

 

’I’d love to be going home for the Christmas,’ said a friend from Cheshire to me the other evening. He’s been in Ireland a long time, and I thought he had picked up the definite article here, where it is a relic of the Irish, an Nollaig. I mentioned it to him. ’The Christmas is used all over rural England,’ he said. ’Check it out.’ I did. He is right.

 

[O’Muirithe discovered that The Christmas is used from Shropshire to Cornwall - but in the latter place it’s used to describe a special sort of Christmas cake.]

 

They have their Block na Nollag too, in Cornwall, the Yule Log, only they call it the Christmas Mock. Why, I don’t know, but it may have something to do with the figure of a man they draw on the block before burning it.

 

InDorset the Christmas Sheaf is still given to Cattle on Christmas morning. The stables and byres are decorated with Christ’s Thorns - the original Christmas tree, the holly. They say the crown of thorns was made from it.

 

Do any of these words and traditions sound familiar to you? I’m sure they do. In some respects we are not native here, as John Hewitt said.

 

Anyway, as the old people used to say where I come from, a happy Christmas to you all.



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