The Wrenboys parade

On the 26th of December – St. Stephen’s Day – parts of Ireland celebrate Wren Day. The tradition consists in hunting a wren. According to Celtic myth, this little bird symbolizes the old year and is killed by a robin, representative of the new one.

Originally, groups of boys hunted a real bird tied to the top of a pole or holly bush that had been decorated with ribbons and coloured paper. A fake wren is used today.

On the morning of St. Stephen’s day, the boys organize a parade where they take the little bird from house to house while singing a song.

The Wrenboys paint their faces with burnt cork and wear straw masks and old clothes. They collect money during the parade, which is then donated to schools or local charities.

 

 

(Images: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons)

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