Whether you know it as ‘women’s Christmas’, ‘little Christmas’ or ‘Twelfth Night’, the island of Ireland recognises 6 January as a day for women.
Traditionally, it was a time for women to put the menfolk to work in the home while they visited with friends and family. They would toast and celebrate the work done over Christmas and the year running up to it and remember the women who came before them.
The old tradition of Nollaig na mBan has been revived in recent years with the focus shifting away from releasing women from domestic chores and onto celebrating the vitality of women in our lives. Some of us will mark the occasion by having lunch or dinner with friends and family. Others will have organised a day of self-care and relaxation.
If you’re new to the idea of Nollaig na mBan here are some ideas of ways you can celebrate it for yourself or for the women in your life incorporating the five ways to wellbeing.
Make plans to see someone for coffee, lunch or dinner.
Perhaps you’ve lost touch with old friends or need to forge connections with women in your community. Look online for classes, activities or groups that fit with your interests and allow you to build new connections.
Although Nollaig na mBan is traditionally a day of rest for women, you don’t have to let this dictate how you celebrate it. Take advantage of the fresh weather and go for a stroll, a swim or a class by yourself or with a friend. Allow your mind to clear and let go of any ill thoughts or feelings you may be holding onto.
Learning something new improves your self-esteem and can help you make connections with others by sharing knowledge and enthusiasm.
To celebrate Nollaig na mBan why not
- Learn about some of the important women who’ve contributed to where we live
- Listen to Episode 36 of The Irish Times Women’s Podcast, Epiphanies on Nollaig na mBan to hear famous women talk about the lightbulb moments in their lives
Being aware of the world around you and how you feel can help you appreciate life fully. Look around you and take notice of the ways women have contributed to your local area, your field of work, the things you enjoy doing.
You can also take notice of the women in your life and how they are doing. Take the time to check in and have a meaningful connection
Doing something to help another person can make both of you feel much happier. If you’d like to celebrate Nollaig na mBan, you can
- Do something special for a woman in your life
- Look at ways you can volunteer to support women and girls in your local area
- Donate to organisations who support women at home and abroad