Here is a description by the Reverend Coslett Ó Cuinn (my transation):
“Cóllainn [Hogmany], or little Christmas, crowd of people used to go around with a bag, collecting for old women, lone widows and the poor people. One of the people would have a sheep skin, and they would cut a piece to give it as a ‘receipt’ for whatever they would get. The people of the house would put away that peice, as they hoped it would bring them luck.”
On entering the house, they would preceed to recite verse in Irish - "Cóllainn, Cóllainn ...."
We are lucky that a number of recordings of the 'Cóllainn' survive.
Ó Cuinn (Cosslett): Iarsmaí ó oileán Reachrann.
In Éigse 6, 1948/52, (pt. 3, 1951), pp. 248–56.
Stories and verse, and words and phrases from Rathlin Island (Co. Antrim).