THE SONG OF THE WREN
"The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen's day was caught in the furze."
For most people in Ireland, the day after Christmas is St. Stephen's
Day, named for the ill-fated deacon of Jerusalem who was stoned to
death a year or so after the crucifixion of Christ.
For those of a British persuasion, the 26th December is Boxing Day,
named for an old English tradition of gifting presents to one's staff
and servants known as a "Christmas box".
But for many who live in old-world Ireland, it is '"Wren Day", so named
for the ancient tradition where young boys clad in masks and straw
suits would set off on a musical march through the parishes,
collecting money for charity, ideally with a luckless wren bird pinned
to the Wren leader's musical pole.*
So if the weather looks ripe, why not gather together a posse of
likely youngsters and set off on the rounds.
Or you could just listen to this recording of The Wren Song by an
iconic union of The Clancy Brothers and The Furey Brothers -
*Beara is certainly old-world Ireland because a large contingent of costumed musicians and singers made up of children and adults came to the door. They were celebrating the day to raise money for the Urhan playground at the Travara strand, and they were terrific!