Whitewashing Barns For Christmas

There was once a time in Ireland where you would see whitewashed barns all over the countryside during the Christmas season. Farming families used to clean the barns, and sometimes all the buildings on a farm, and cover them with limewash or white paint. The idea was to purify the farm for the arrival of the savior, though cleaning the inside of all the buildings had the added purpose of preparing the place for the arrival of holiday guests. This custom is more than a thousand years old, and has been practised in central European countries too. It’s almost completely disappeared from Ireland, though you still may pass one or two whitewashed barns if you drive through rural areas in December.