The Last of Christmas

Today is Little Christmas, or Oiche Nollaig na mBan, the Women’s Christmas. Though of course it’s more commonly known as the Feast of the Epiphany and the day the Orthodox churches celebrate Christ’s birth. In Ireland the idea was that today being the last day of Christmas, the women left the men to fend for themselves and took the day off. In our house it was the day the decorations came down and the tree, both tasks that required my Click for more

Translating a Holiday

One of the things that regularly drives me distracted is the constant mixing up of Christmas and New Years in Turkey. I’ve even mentioned it before. But my perspective is changing, a little, with time. First there’s the fact that many of the traditions associated with Christmas actually came from other festivals. The date of the 25th December was specifically chosen so the early Church could ‘compete’ with several other pagan festivals that feel at this time of year. The Click for more

Branching Out

Many, many years ago, I was perhaps 9, I was amazed to find that our Saturday morning was disrupted by the arrival of a piano. I remember standing by the front door watching people carefully carry it into the house. I can’t remember who moved it or how, but there it was in our front room, where previously it had occupied my grandparent’s front room. It was magical, before we’d only been able to pick away when we visited my Click for more

Baking up Christmas

The smell of pudding, that rich combination of fruit and sugars, pervades the house. I am home again, watching my mother becoming increasingly frustrated attempting to cover the pudding with greaseproof paper and tinfoil. The string with not go right, will not tie tight enough. My first Christmas in Turkey in 2001, my first away from home, my first as a married woman, I cooked rice pudding. My husband regarded the sticky mass with barely disguised wonder, comparing it to Click for more