Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Nollaig Na mBan
One of my friends bakes her shortbread on her grandmother's stone circle with the old design embossed on it. I just love this connection. Here she is serving it.
I mark the years in my Nollaig na mBan celebrations now. It gives a good slap to the back of December and on to a new year with my women friends.
It reminds me of the loveliness of the Nollaig na Mbans of my childhood years with my mother and aunts and greataunts and grandmother packing our 'front room' in front of the fire. With the laden tea trolley. It is a continuation, an honouring of the female traditions which I am sure were passed down from pre-Christianity in the times of the goddesses in Ireland. I miss my family at such events, my own progeny and Grandgirl, my beloved nieces, my darling sister - though she is with me in spirit as she celebrates it in Cork. And of course my Toronto and Irish friends.
There was much laughter in my diningroom. I allowed the guests this year to bring food. Newfoundlanders feel very naked without staggering under a hamper of food as they come in a friend's front door. And now I will be eating for weeks on the bounty that was laid on my table surrounded by flowers and chocolate and scented female gifts - candles, lotions and soaps. I am reminded of the fragility of our lives, how many that came to my Nollaigs in prior years are no longer with us. I count them by the candles I light. But I do not share this private ritual as a pall might descend.
I was amazed at the number who liked my photo of the event on FB, over 40 at last count, many are suggesting they are going to start their own Nollaig celebration next year. I am delighted, for we need to spread this far and wide. For the women who went before us and the women coming up behind us.
For this annual celebration is a beautiful, loving link to each other.