Ireland, a majestic island situated in the northwestern part of the Europe, celebrates New Year according to Georgian calendar, and thus has January 1 as its New Year Day. It is prominently called as Lá Caille or Lá Bliana Nua by the natives of Ireland.
New Year’s Day is observed as a public holiday, with all banks, government offices, and most of the private institutions and businesses remaining close.
New Year Celebrations in Ireland
New Year is a big time for the natives of Ireland. Usually, New Year is considered to be a time in Ireland when people prefer to spend time with friends and family. People sit around a table on New Year’s Eve; have a special dinner for the evening, and count for the moment of the New Year to arrive. Everyone remember and pay homage to those who passed away in the Old year. They do this by leaving setting a place on the table, and by keeping the doors unbarred.
New Year time in Ireland does not have an intensively followed party culture. Few pubs, clubs, and black tie balls do open up late on New Year’s Eve, and get close earlier than usual. Some do make a visit to them with friends to have little pints down through the throat. Some other wish to spend it by travelling to some beautiful place on the island, preferably a nearby hill station or a splendid beach, to ensure a grand welcome to New Year with an unforgettable moment.
There are few New Year parades across the city, in cities, towns, as well as villages, which draw huge crowd both from the local region as well from far off places. The New Year parade as organized in Dublin is one of the largest in the country. Artists from all over the country, including musicians, singers, dancers, magicians, walk along with common people through the streets of Dublin. Everyone cheer and make noise to mark their welcome for the New Year. In villages and rural parts, New Year parades are more of a religious based procession. Portmagee, a small fishing village situated in County Kerry celebrates Old Year, rather than New Year. They celebrate everything that happened across their lives in the last year, with music, dance, and singing. To have the best view of the sunset of the last day of the Old Year, there cannot be a better place than the beautiful Achill Island of County Mayo.
Traditional New Year Celebrations in Ireland
Ireland is considered to be a country of many beliefs, customs, and tradition. Ireland have many New Year related customs and traditions, with most of them being meant more for fun and amusement. There is one such tradition of organizing New Year’s dips, which are organized around the waters of either Irish Sea or Atlantic Ocean. People are made to go through ice cold waters with short swims. There is also a tradition of cleansing the house well before the New Year Day arrives, as doing is believed to bring good luck in the coming year. People keep their cellar equipped with coals, and house with abundant of provisions, as doing so is believed to ensure a bountiful coming year. There is another tradition which calls for banging on Christmas bread on walls and doors of the house, which is done with a belief that it sways bad luck out and brings good luck in. Some also believe that it ensures adequate bread for the coming year.
The tradition of first footing is prominently followed in Ireland, as a part of which one expects a dark, tall, young, and a good looking man to arrive first on the threshold on the New Year’s Day. It is believed to be a symbol of good luck in the coming year. However, a woman, a blonde, or a red haired female first arriving on the threshold is considered to be a sign of grief and bad luck for the coming year. There is another tradition followed by young unmarried women of the house, who put a little bit of mistletoe under their pillow before they sleep on New Year’s Eve. This is done with a belief that they will be conferred with a true lover in the coming year.