An excerpt from an article by James Monti:
"The haunting Irish Christmas carol, Don Ouche Ud i m'Beithil (I sing of a night in Bethlehem), sung in Irish, speaks of the first Christmas night as "bright as dawn." The imagery of light piercing the darkness looms large in Ireland's celebration of the birth of Christ, a celebration shaped in part by the struggle to practice the faith under the shadow of persecution.
In Ireland, Advent has traditionally constituted a time of penance, with fasting and increased prayer. Although the realization of the Church's Advent fasting laws has removed the obligation to fast during this season, devout Irish continue voluntarily to prepare themselves for Christmas with this penitential practice. Additional time is allotted for morning and evening prayers, with children encouraged to say the Our Father and Hail Mary extra times. But above all, Advent is in Ireland a season to confess one's sins in the sacrament of penance. In Irish families , it is the mother who particularly assumes the responsibility of making sure that everyone goes to confession by Christmas Eve." . . .