Food and drink for Christmas; new clothes for Easter.

Note: This proverb posits the cyclicality of life as a duality on the liturgical calendar. Food and drink mark the celebration of Christmas, the beginning of the life of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the food and drink earned from the recent harvest. In contrast to the beginning of life inherent in the Nativity, harvest occurs at the end of life, at the death of plants. Something must die that we may live. In contrast, Easter commemorates the resurrection of Christ. At the same time, new clothes are possble because of the spring shearing of sheep. Spring sheering is a sign of the beginning of life.

On a more practical level, feasting is one of the hallmarks of Christmas while a good suit or a fine dress is a hallmark of Easter. Recall an earlier proverb, “Seacht seachtaine ramhra ó Shamhain go Nollaig.” That tradition is evidenced by the fact that for candy companies the two greatest sales days in the year are Samhain and Christmas. There is a variation of this week’s proverb that says, “Bia is deoch na Nollaig, édach glan na Cásca.” The adjective ‘glan’ usually means ‘clean’ but it also means ‘well-made’ or ‘distinct’. In either case, fine clothes are associated with Easter.

Daltaí na Gaeilge