I've been blessed to have traveled extensively throughout Europe while stationed as a missionary in Eastern Europe. To share a bit of that past, I bring to you The 12 Days of "Christmas Around the World." Each day I will chose a country I visited, tell a personal story, and share a Christmas tradition from that country. Please add your own family traditions in the comments section of these posts, or share your own international experiences if you've been blessed enough to travel.
Happy Holidays from Ms. Q!
In A Word? Ireland.
A few years ago I had the pleasure (read: misfortune) of visiting Ireland the week between Christmas and New Years.
I say misfortune mostly because I was sick - more sick than I've ever been in my life barring surgery. But it was also an unfortunate time to visit because nothing happens in Ireland during this week (and I don't mean in a Las Vegas kind of way).
Sure, they have Boxing Day and St. Stephen's Day, but what good is that to a tourist? It just means the shops, museums, and tourist-y places are likely closed.
The highlights of this trip were kissing the Blarney stone (after which my friend promptly became ill), drinking Guinness in an Irish pub, and..., um..., yep, that's it.
I suppose the tour of the Jameson whiskey factory wasn't all that bad...
After my Irish "vacation" I spent the next 20 or so hours traveling back to Hungary when I really should have been in a hospital. I pretty much spent the plane ride from Dublin to Vienna in tears as I fully expected my head to explode from the painful pressure in my ears.
The next day I went to the doctor in Sopron (socialized medicine = not bad at all, you heard it here first). He and his otoscope got within in 3 feet of me when he began writing a prescription and scolded me for not seeing a doctor sooner.
Yeah, buddy. I was kind of between countries!
Tradition As Fire Hazard
In Ireland, one little tradition they have at Christmastime is to keep a lighted candle in the window on Christmas Eve.
The purpose of this is so that Mary and Joseph can feel welcomed and know there is shelter to be had at your abode.
One can only wonder what's supposed to be done about the donkey.
Perhaps it's enough to hope the Irish have flame-retardant curtains.
Until tomorrow, Nollaig Shona Daoibh.