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Contemporary Quakers celebrate Christmas with as much enthusiasm as any other Christians. It was not always so. Over the greater part of the first two centuries of their existence, Quakers aimed for simplicity in all things. So, every day was counted as equal – although Sunday was set aside for regular worship. The early Quakers called it ‘First day’ to avoid the pagan connotation of the name. Likewise, they refused to observe any special annual festivals.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century these strictures were relaxed and few, if any, living Quakers in Ireland would remember anything other than a typical twentieth century Christmas with presents, Christmas trees and hospitality.
Amongst the Dublin Meetings, Monkstown and Eustace Street celebrate the Sunday before Christmas with carols after their regular Worship. Churchtown has a special candle-lit carol service on Christmas Eve at 7.0 pm and Worship, followed by carols, at dawn on Christmas Day, beginning at 8.0 am. Rathfarnham and Monkstown have Christmas Day Worship at 10.0 am and 9.30 am respectively.