Women’s Christmas

by Julianne Stanz


Hello, it’s Julianne Stanz here, and there’s an unusual but absolutely brilliant Irish Christmas tradition that I want to share with you. In Irish it’s called, “Nollaig na mBan,” or the “Women’s Christmas.” Sometimes it’s even known as “Little Christmas."

Nollaig na mBan takes place on January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany and traditionally marks the end of the Christmas season in Ireland. Nollaig na mBan represents the day when Irish men take on all the household duties for the family, and the women leave the home and head out to celebrate. You heard that right. The women take off with their female family and friends and leave the entire care of the household to the menfolk. Most women get together to go out to the pub or to celebrate together.

What’s the meaning behind this unique tradition? you may ask. Well, the men of Ireland gladly or grudgingly, depending on who you ask, do this in thanksgiving for the work of Irish women who make Christmas so special throughout the season. At its heart, Nollaig na mBan celebrates the strength of generations of Irish women, women who changed the landscape of Irish history and are the backbone and the beating heart of the family home.

Happy Nollaig na mBan to all women around the world!

You can learn more about Irish traditions, prayers, blessings, and Celtic wisdom in my book, Braving the Thin Places. Slán, which means goodbye.

 Julianne Stanz

Julianne Stanz

Julianne Stanz is a nationally known speaker, retreat leader, storyteller, and the Director of New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay and a consultant to the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization.

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