From the pen of Turlough Ó Maoláin ...

The Chronicles of Bulgaria

For Yer Women, the Women


All the year they scrub the homes

From Skibbereen to Portglenone.

They work their fingers to the bone,

Afraid to pause to moan or groan.


They milk the cows and plough the earth,

Make the butter, cut the turf,

Without complaint of a greater dearth

Of respite each time they give birth.


The food’s prepared while you've been out

Having the craic, drinking the stout

And winking at girls. They've no doubt

Ye're a dirty lazy drunken lout.


It's Women's Christmas and the day

That things are done a different way.

Yer man the Pope would even say

It's time the girls went out to play.


So now’s the time, the sixth of Jan

To get off your arse if you're a man

And rattle out the pots and pans

For the women have their own wee plan.


You can’t argue. You’ve no excuse.

(Tradition says you roast a goose)

So just for once you must deduce

It’s her time to be out on the loose.


You’ve got no choice so do your best.

It’s just one day so don’t protest.

With a hundred more she should be blessed.

Nollaig na mBan … Give her a rest!


 A jar o’ stout for Nollaig na mBan.

A jar o’ stout for Nollaig na mBan.


Explanatory note:

In Ireland, the sixth of January is called Nollaig na mBan (pronounced Null-egg na mawn and meaning Women's Christmas). The tradition, still strong in Cork and Kerry, is so called because Irish men take on household duties for the day. Goose was the traditional meat served on Women's Christmas. Some women hold parties or go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers and aunts. As a result, groups of women and girls are common in bars and restaurants on this night. I, in the true spirit of the tradition, was working my fingers to the bone all day even though I’m three thousand kilometres away from Ireland.

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