Christmas on the Isle of Man is celebrated with a public holiday every 25 December, as it is in a majority of countries around the world. This Christian festivity commemorates the birth of Jesus, and is part of a 22-28 day season in the Christian calendar known as Advent.
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On the Isle of Man there are a few unique traditions that take place on the day before and the day after Christmas that bring many tourists to the island each year.
On Christmas Eve, there is a choir of Christmas songs sung in the local Manx Gaelic. Long songs called “carvals” are sung, which may have as many as 40 verses each. In days gone by, carvals were sung by carollers and singers would get pelted by dried peas when listeners’ patience with the extra-long carols finally ran out.
On the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, a game of “cammag” is played. Cammag is a traditional Manx game that has very few rules. It involves knocking balls towards a goal with a “cammag stick”, and some players end up in the hospital most years due to the rough nature of the sport.
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