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Immaculate memories of when ‘country people’ went to town for the big Christmas shop

Miriam O'Callaghan


 

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Shoppers at the turning on of the Christmas lights at Bewley’s Café and launching the Bewley’s Christmas Market last weekend. In the past, December 8 was synonymous with 'country folk' travelling to cities to do their Christmas shopping. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan

Shoppers at the turning on of the Christmas lights at Bewley’s Café and launching the Bewley’s Christmas Market last weekend. In the past, December 8 was synonymous with 'country folk' travelling to cities to do their Christmas shopping. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan

Shoppers at the turning on of the Christmas lights at Bewley’s Café and launching the Bewley’s Christmas Market last weekend. In the past, December 8 was synonymous with 'country folk' travelling to cities to do their Christmas shopping. Photo: Marc O'Sullivan

The season of goodwill is almost upon us, but before that is the day of Original Sin – or rather the lack of. Because today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, when in the Middle East, Anna conceived Mary without it. The feast is still celebrated, albeit secularly, in mainland Europe.

In Italy, it’s a public holiday. When my daughter messaged me her weather news for I’Immacolata – freezing and possibly white – I thought the same temperature and colour of rage might attend such official news here, given how the Angelus bell is so problematic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the separation of Church and State. But for God’s sake, whoever She is, let us still have that ring, that moment, be it from Colmcille’s handbell, the icicle earring of the Cailleach, or a monastery in Tibet.


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