Irish ChristmasThe Night
Haggerty from Ireland
this excerpt from the original story, Brigit
describes how her family celebrated Christmas Eve
when she was a child.
we were old enough to go to Midnight Mass, our
Christmas Eve preparations ended with breaking the
fast; dad enjoyed a glass of port, mum had a cup of
tea and the children munched on sweets and apples.
We'd gather around the fireplace and my parents
would talk about the old days. How their parents
told them that an angel stood on every spike of a
holly leaf and that all prayers said on Christmas
Eve would be answered. Tonight was also the night
that animals were endowed with the gift of speech,
but you must never try to listen in - that would be
very unlucky indeed.
I can remember lying very still in the
darkness for what seemed like hours,
hoping to catch Father Christmas in the
was also said, so they told us, that the sheep in
the fields would form a procession, as if lining up
to pay homage to the baby Jesus. We were always
enthralled by these storieseven the
scary one that said if you died on Christmas Eve,
you'd go straight to heaven! Then, it was time for
our prayers, a bath and bed.
ritual was the same every year. We went to our room
and hung a white pillow case at the foot of the
bed, in hopes it would be filled to over-flowing
the next morning. I can remember lying very still
in the darkness for what seemed like hours, hoping
to catch Father Christmas in the act. But the
sandman always came before Santy did.
off to sleep, I can vaguely recall hushed voices in
the other room, bits and pieces of Handel's
Messiah, and a feeling of pure contentment. It
would take me years and years to recognize and
realize that these are the gifts that go on
about the author of this story
Brigit Haggerty is the author of The Traditional
Irish Wedding and is now working on her second
book. It will focus on memories of an Irish
childhood - a compilation of recollections from
people who were either born and raised in Ireland
or who grew up in an Irish family.
Published by Sandy and Thomas Peters