Why do people keep calling January 6th 'Little Women's Christmas'?

January 6th is Nollaig na mBan, or, in English, Women's Christmas. It's also known as Little Christmas. But it's never Little Women's Christmas.

I never heard people saying it when I was in school. As far as I was concerned (thanks to a feminist mother, and father!) January 6th was Women's Christmas. It is, I'll admit, confusing because the day can be known in this country as Little Christmas, too; you can call it by either name. What you shouldn't call it, ever, is Little Women's Christmas. This is not a day to celebrate Meh, Jo, Beth and Amy March. (You can, however, call it Women's Little Christmas, but only to drive home the fact that Little Christmas belongs to US.)

It's only recently that I've noticed people calling it the wrong thing and it's irk-worthy. On Sunday, I'll be turning off social media notifications so I can avoid eye-strain doing to rolling.



Outside of Ireland, little is known about Nollaig na mBan. Inside, it's traditionally the day that men take over the household duties and give the lady of the house a day off. So far, so archaic, although the message is a good one. I think back to my grandmother who single-handedly took care of everything to do with Christmas. She made the cake and pudding in advance, she made sure that her grandchildren had a second set of presents in her house because we Burkes were 'good' enough to be visited by Santa twice. She made the entire dinner, apart from the ham, which my mother and, later, brother took care of, and she did all the cleaning up. Yes, we were spoiled. Yes, she definitely deserved to be treated on Women's Christmas. But aside from that, in Ireland, these days anyway, it marks the end of the Christmas holiday when the decorations are taken down.


In Christianity, January sixth is the twelfth day of Christmas aka the Feast of Epiphany aka Three Kings Day.


These days, it's a good excuse for a nice party. Who doesn't want a glass of wine after that full week of swearing we were off it? In a new tradition, it's a great excuse to celebrate women's achievements and to cheers to how great we are.


Will you be celebrating Nollaig na mBan with some wonderful wimmin tomorrow night? What are your plans?

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