Monday, December 24, 2007

Keeping Irish traditions alive in California

From a very early age I remember  we have followed the Cork tradition of lighting a Christmas candle in our window to let Mary and Joseph know that there would be room in our home for them as the look for a room to have baby Jesus. The tradition included blessing the candle with holy water ( Lourdes or Knock was always at hand in Lynwood)  and than the smallest in the house would be entrusted with the match to light it.  

The ceremony of lighting the candle would happen just as soon as the sun went down and would be in the sitting room window all of Christmas eve night. It was then moved to be the center piece for Christmas dinner and again back to the living room for Christmas night.

I have to admit that I was sometime a little jealous that Eoin got to light the candle but then when we got to our early teens and Eoin grew taller than moi, one year he declared that I was now the smallest and I could light the candle. I LOVED it! Was I a drama queen or what!! ( Eoin and Brian no comments, please!)

As a child I also felt another reason to light the candle was to let Santa know that we were good and he could stop at our house with gifts for us.

Once I moved to Switzerland and now to California I have kept the tradition alive. Today just around dusk, I got my candle out,  the Lourdes water and our candle was lit. In the best interest of not burning the house down I use a Galway Crystal candle holder that Aunt Veron gave us as an Engagement present. Another way to keep the Irish connection. 

Here are some pictures of our candle tonight:

At dusk when I first lit the candle

At 6:30 when it was dark outside

Mary, Joseph and anyone who needs some comfort tonight may you know that our door is always open for you. Also, Santa I have been a very very good girl!! :-)


Sophie said...

That's a bright and beautiful light that you have there. It's a wonderful thing that you've kept your Irish traditions here :)

Merry Christmas!

Alice Gunther said...

Leona, I love coming here and feeling so at home.

I have kept this tradition alive also! My mother always had a red candle, and to me, this candle is the single most memorable thing about being home on Christmas Eve.