The celebration of Saint Stephen is commemorated annually in Ireland on December 26th. St. Stephen is the first Christian martyr. Meanwhile, the celebration seems to have little relation to St. Stephen himself. The Irish name for the day literally means “Day of the Wren” or “Wren Day.”
If you come to Ireland for St. Stephen’s Day, you will see boys and girls going door to door singing the wren’s song. They song tells a story about the bird. The boys are called as wrenboys and the girls called as mummers. Their performance will exchange with coin, so the people who meet them usually will give coin and you can also give them food or drink.
Adults wear straw hats and old clothes. They also go door-to-door and play music. The wren is the festival icon because of a Gaelic myth. The wren is sometimes called “Druid’s bird” and is a messenger between this world and the next. The Irish also believed the wren is the smartest bird. The tiny wren has powerful sway in Celtic mythology.
These traditions are less common nowadays than in previous generations. Now, people usually celebrate by watching a pantomime and visiting family. If you want to celebrate the day traditionally, visit County Dingle, Galway, or New Inn.
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