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By Mary Maguire
NOLLAIG SHONA to all our fans.

An estimated 500,000 turkeys will go into the ovens in Ireland this year. In the old days, turkeys were reared by the women folk for Christmas ‘pin money’, and there were few farms without a flock. Some are still hand-reared but now mass production is the main source of supply.

Birds also figure in Christmas sayings “When the blackbird sings before Christmas, she will cry at Candlemas”. An old proverb on the robin says, that “if the robin sings in the bush, then the Christmas weather will be warm”.

Did you know that the Carol “Joy to the World” was never meant to be a Christmas Carol. The only line that refers to Christmas is “the Lord is come’.

Dublin Poet Laureate Nahm Tate wrote ‘While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night’ in 1703.

Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander, also born in Dublin, wrote ‘Once in David’s Royal City’.

A British Christmas tradition is that if a wish is made while mixing the Christmas pudding it will come true only if the ingredients are stirred in a clockwise direction.

In Sweden, a common Christmas decoration is the Julbock. Made from straw, it is a small figurine of a goat. A variety of straw decorations are a usual feature of Scandinavian Christmas festivities.

AN CONNEAL MOR NA NOLLAIG - The Christmas Candle in the Window remains a symbol of times past in Ireland. It is said that one candle for each member of the household was placed in the windows.