Irish Language Blog

Cóisir Chinn Bhliana — Cad a Bheadh Ann? (re: New Year’s Eve parties) Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Irish Language

(le Róislín)

Seo séasúr na gcóisirí agus ‘chuile sheans go mbeidh tú ag freastal ar Chóisir Chinn Bhliana.

So first let’s take a look at the Irish for some of the typical trappings of  New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day party.  Hitch is, we’ve got eleven items in the list below, but only ten of them are typically associated with the New Year.  Can you figure out which one is “an ceann corr” (the odd man out, lit. the odd one)?


tinte ealaíne

hors d’oeuvres (go díreach mar atá sé sa bhFraincis)

casadh “Auld Lang Syne” lámh le lámh 



Coinín na Cásca

an tAm (mar “athair”)


fíonchaora (má tá tú sa Spáinn, i Meicsiceo, nó ina lán tíortha i Meiriceá Theas

coirn chóisire

Cúpla nóta faoi na focail sin:

tinte ealaíne, fireworks, lit. fires of art; as in English, this is usually plural, except as sung by Katy Perry (GRMA, a Dheasúin C., as an tagairt)

casadh [KAHSS-uh, silent “d”] has the following meanings, among others: twist, sing, play a musical instrument

fíonchaora, grapes, referring to the custom of eating 12 grapes, one by one, during the last seconds of the old year.

coirn chóisire, party horns, which you may know other names in English (blow-out, squeaker, fizoo, or simply, noisemaker (the latter of which can include various other types, including percussive noisemakers).  I did have to improvise a bit here, since I can’t find a listing for “party horns” in any Irish dictionary, hard copy or online.  In the singular, it would be “corn cóisire,” with the lenition disappearing since the phrase no longer has the “slender” (“-irn”) ending which triggers the change (as does “fir” with “fir mhóra” and “báid” with “báid bheaga”).

As for “squeaker,” well, there is “píopaire” (not “píopaire,” a piper) usually used for a chick or a child, but I suppose it could apply here.  As I’ve been doing my homework for this blog, the grueling task of looking over party favor sites (in English, since I can’t find any in Irish), I see there are also “squawkers” that are sold as noisemakers for parties.  I doubt it’s the original intention of the word, but I think we could safely use “grágaire” for that one, as long as the context was clear.  “Grágaire” usually means a “cawer,” “croaker,” or “raucous-voiced person,” based on “grág” (caw, croak, squawk, raucous cry, etc.)

As for “fizoo,” well, we could model it on “casú” (kazoo), but I think I’ll leave that one to the reader’s imagination.  Not everything needs to be translated as such (as, for example, “hors d’oeuvres” being used in Irish as well as French).  Needless to say, I don’t think there’s an existing Irish word for it.  And, in fact, I haven’t found an etymology for it in English, though I wonder, perhaps, balancing precariously out on a limb, if it could be related to Italian “fischietto” (feadóg).  Perhaps with a couple of generations of Americanization layered on and an analogy to “kazoo,” to boot.

Or we could go the full Italian route and directly translate “lingua di Menelik,” (Menelik’s tongue), which is probably the most imaginative of all of these terms.  “Teanga Menelik” a bheadh ann i nGaeilge, nó “teanga Mhenelik” más fearr leat an séimhiú a chur ann.

Cérbh é Menelik a deir tú?  Mac Sholaimh agus Makeda, Banríon Sheabá (ríocht ársa in Aetóip an lae inniu.

Hmmm, did I write this entire blog in order to be able to talk about Irish words for party favors?  Bhuel, not really.  But before wrapping up, beagán gramadaí, for the “take-away.”

Cóisir” is a feminine noun, so it has the following forms:

an chóisir, the party, banquet, social gathering, etc.

na cóisire, of the party, etc., as in “tús na cóisire,” the beginning of the party

na cóisirí, the parties

na gcóisirí, of the parties, as in “costas na gcóisirí,” the cost of the parties

Bain sult as cóisirí an tséasúir!  SGF – Róislín

P.S.: An freagra, ar ndóigh, Coinín na Cásca (the Easter Bunny).

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