St. Patrick |
Mothers Day |
St. Stephen |
During Penal Times there was once a plot in a village against the
local soldiers. They were surrounded and were about to be ambushed when a group of wrens
pecked on their drums and awakened the soldiers. The plot failed and the wren became known
as 'The Devil's bird'.
Other lore suggests that a wren betrayed the hiding place of St.
Stephen before he was stoned to death and became a martyr.
On St. Stephens Day (the day after Christmas)
a procession, known as The Wren Boy Procession , takes place. A pole with a holly bush would be carried
from house to house and families dressed up in old clothes and with blackened faces. In olden times an
actual wren would be killed and placed on top of the pole.
This custom has to a large degree
disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephens Day has survived
and is very much part of Christmas.
St. Stephen's Day is a national holiday in Ireland and
most businesses remain closed until 27 December.