[Christine O’Keeffe’s Christmas Customs]
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An Nollaig Mhor: Big Yule
This is Christmas in Gaelic. Wine is poured over the Darrag yn Ollick: Yule log, chants are said for good luck, and the embers are gathered and used to fuel the next fire. The embers are put into the fireplace and burnt, but before it is consumed the new log is put on, and the old fire and the new burn together. A lighted candle is placed in the window to guide spirits home. (3)

Stone-Touching: Wales: People in out-of-the-way places, when troubled in mind, touch the stone over the chimney-piece, and afterwards throw a handful of dry earth into the fire. As it burns, they whisper the cause of their trouble to the flames, and this is supposed to avert any impending evil; or they kneel down beside a low-placed oven or stand by the high, old-fashioned ones, and whisper any secret or trouble to the bottom of the oven. – Emma Mary Thomas

Oíche Nollag: Christmas Eve Foods: Cod-fish with potatoes. With woodburning stoves the old stump is ignited, and the new sticks are thrown on, so that all burn together. Then bread is baked. The people say, while a fire burns on the hearth lightning will not strike the house. During the Edwardian Era the Manx recorded as eating river eel. (7, 17)

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