In many rural areas of Ireland still today the custom of whitewashing the outhouses and stores prevails. At one time, it was the whole farm, inside and out. The women would scrub and polish everything til it shone, and the men would take a bucket of whitewash, or limewash, and purify everything in honour of the coming of the Christchild. This custom possibly goes back to long before christianity or even celtic civilisation. It was a purifying ceremony from the most ancient of times, the ancient Mesopotamians, 4000BC would cleanse their homes, sweep the streets even, in an attempt to assist their god in his battle against the powers of chaos. And in Central European lore, it was believed that the deity, Frigg, (According to Teutonic mythology, she was the second and principal wife of Odin and goddess of the clouds and sky, of married love, and housewives) would check all the threshholds of each house to make sure they were swept clean. The links are so tightly intertwined, it becomes difficult to seperate one belief from another, Christmas is like a Tapestry, tightly and colourfully woven. It is almost impossible to find a thread and trace it to its true beginning. From this ancient custom comes the traditions in Ireland of putting up fresh curtains, a special Christmas Bedcover, cushions and table linens etc. and putting the whitewash on the cottage walls and lighting a candle in the window at Christmas
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