Pagan dating ireland

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Christmas trees are from Germany, exchanging cards is Victorian as are puddings and certain other foods." The timing of the religious festivals harks back to an earlier time, however.

"If you look at Christmas you must also look at St John's Eve, June 23rd, bonfire night in the west," Mac Cárthaigh says.

There is also an interplay between the original pagan rituals associated with the winter solstice and the society that built Newgrange and the Christian festivals of Christmas and St John's Eve (the day before the feast day of St John the Baptist), he says. "It is hardly an accident that the two solstices are associated with two so powerful figures as Christ and John the Baptist," says Mac Cárthaigh.

There is a slight mismatch with the dates but this doesn't mean the link isn't there: "There is clearly something arbitrary about the date choices but it was no coincidence." The original festivals gave structure to the year and marked out pivotal dates associated with the movement of the sun.

"It is associated with John the Baptist but the festival is much older than that." It is also a festival celebrated elsewhere in Europe.

It sits opposite Christmas on the calendar close to the summer solstice.

"They were told that Christ was born, they were officially included," he explains.

It said “there seems to be a substantial number of bishops, and some priests, who believe that the problems we are facing are not due to any difficulties in the Church or with the priesthood, but are caused by a lack of faith in the people.

“The people, they told us, have bought into the evils of materialism and consumerism, and don’t have time or interest in faith any more.

"Even to the present day Christmas in the Irish tradition is the biggest festival of the year," he says.

There has traditionally been a "huge amount of preparation" for the day and much folklore surrounding the feast and how it should be conducted.

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