Ed Gawlinski pointed out that today is St. Stephen’s Day. He wrote…
St. Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day celebrated on December 26th in the Western Church and December 27th in the Eastern Church.
In Irish it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín – the latter translates literally as another English name used, the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day.
There is a song that goes with this day …
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze*,
Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
Give us some money to bury the wren.
*A prickly, dense evergreen shrub.
On Wren Day, people go from door to door dressed in motley attire, sometimes with ribbons, singing and asking for money. This is based on an ancient tradition that’s still practiced in parts of southern Ireland.
It was also the tradition to “bleed” horses (i.e. to let some of their blood out for medical purposes). It was thought to be good for them. Of course, they now know it’s not! In Austria, priests still bless horses on this day, since St. Stephen is the patron saint of horses.
Many thanks to Ed Gawlinski for letting us know about St. Stephen’s Day and for the midi tune of the Wren Song!
This artilce was posted on Thursday, December 27th, 2007 at 4:28 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, England, Great Britain, Holidays Around the World, Ireland, Mama Lisa, St. Stephen's Day, Wren's Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.