Ireland, the land of a thousand welcomes (Cead Mile Failte) is rooted in hospitality. For more than a thousand years Ireland was governed by the Brehon Laws which esteemed the values of hospitality to a stranger. It was the hosts responsibility to provide food, drink and a warm bed where possible to a stranger. – Isn’t that amazing?
When the Celts converted to Christianity, the traditions of welcoming strangers continued.
On Christmas Eve a candle was lit and placed on the window as a symbolic gesture to provide a light to guide Mary and Joseph on their way. Visitors to an Irish home, particularly around Christmas time are treated with a warm welcome and festive cakes, pies and spiced wine. A place is often set at the kitchen table with fruit bread, milk and a light candle for a wandering stranger. So, this Christmas, be welcoming, be warm and follow in the steps of the ancients who loved hospitality!
Slainte, and Merry Christmas!
Judith, The Shamrock and Peach