I was fortunate to have spent time in Ireland during the Christmas holidays. Christmas in Ireland is the largest celebration of the year although 8 December is traditionally viewed as the start of Christmas with many putting up their decorations and Christmas trees. Also, the landscape begins to twinkle with festivities, Christmas markets are buzzing, and friends and family from far afield come home to celebrate the season. When I “went to town” there were Christmas lights all over the place. Unlike Ireland, Christmas is not as big in my country, so I was really impressed with all the Christmas preparations. The town was lively with shoppers.
My Christmas Eve in Ireland
I have been living with my host family at the moment, so I spent Christmas Eve with them. They invited me to have for dinner on Christmas Eve. By the time our meals arrived, we pulled Christmas crackers. They consist of cardboard tubes wrapped in brightly coloured pieces of crepe or tissue paper. They also contain a tiny gift, a joke, a paper hat and a banger. I have never seen Christmas crackers before, so that was all new for me. Following that we had lovely full course meal. All of them were fabulous. I really enjoyed chatting with my host family. It flew by so quickly. I realized again I am happy to be with my host family during my time in Ireland. It was an amazing night.
My Christmas in Ireland
Continuing from Christmas Eve I spent this Christmas with my host family. When I woke up on Christmas morning, my host mother’s son came to me and gave me a Christmas present. Immediately, I opened the small box and it was the silver bangle, which is made in Ireland. He was a little Santa Claus for me this Christmas day. I am really glad to get such a lovely present from him and his family. I then went with my host mother’s parents house with my host family to enjoy dinner there. Irish people normally spend Christmas day at home with family members and close friends. Christmas dinner is a formal meal. It is often served in the early afternoon and is a highlight of the Christmas period. Common foods are some types follow:
*Roast goose, Chicken, duck, pheasant or turkey
*Boiled or smoked ham
*Roast, mashed or boiled potatoes
*A range of vegetables, including carrots, turnips and Brussels sprouts.
After the main meal was cleared away for dessert the Irish love to eat trifle or Christmas pudding with rum sauce and brandy butter. In my host family’s case we firstly ate salmon and salmon mousse as an appetizer. It was so fresh and tasty.
Secondly we had a steak, which my host mother’s father cooked on a barbeque. Take one look at its picture and just see how delicious it was! Also my host mother’s mother made various side dishes and these were just as nice.
After the main meal, we enjoyed talking and exchanging Christmas presents. Finally, we ate a Pavlova, which is Christmas dessert consisting of a meringue with a layer of fruit and cream on top and which was made by my host mother. It was crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the outside and was lovely.
Other than the meals, there are many lighted candles in the window display in the house. Their primary purpose is to welcome Mary and Joseph. In Japan, we don’t have a custom of putting candles out on Christmas day, so it made an impression on me. Besides, to my disbelief, public life is generally quiet on Christmas day. Banks, post offices, schools and many other businesses are closed. There is also no public transport in many areas. I was surprised, as that would never happen in Japan even though it is a day off for the general population. I was able to get a real feel of Irish culture. I had the best Christmas Day ever. I would like to express my sincere thanks to my host family.