The Day of the Wren

Happy St Stephen’s Day…or Boxing Day (if you must).
I hope you’re all feeling rested after yesterday’s celebrations and food!
Back home (in Ireland), the 26th was historically celebrated as The Day of the Wren – Lá an Dreoilín. It is believed that this tradition emerged out of older Pagan or Druidic rituals, co-opted into Christian celebrations.
In the olden days; the Wrenboys/Strawboys/Mummers (originally male only, though later young women were allowed to join) would capture an actual wren and mounted it (ALIVE) onto a staff pole decorated with ribbons. This was later changed and a fake bird was hidden, rather than hunted. They would then travel throughout the local town seeking donations. The money raised would be used to throw a huge party that very evening – one the whole town would attend. Any money left over would be passed  onto the local schools.
The Clancy Boys popularised the song below:
 
The Wren Song
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great,
Jump up me lads and give us a treat.
As I was going to Killenaule,
I met a wren upon the wall.
Up with me wattle and knocked him down,
And brought him in to Carrick Town.
Drooolin, Droolin, where’s your nest?
Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree, the holly tree,
Where all the boys do follow me.
Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
And give us a penny to bury the wren.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
Three miles or more three miles or more.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
At six o’clock in the morning.
I have a little box under me arm,
Under me arm under me arm.
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny or tuppence would do it no harm.
Mrs. Clancy’s a very good woman,
a very good woman, a very good woman,
Mrs. Clancy’s a very good woman,
She give us a penny to bury the wren.
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About Drneevil

Blogger, podcaster, reader, knitter. Founder of Leeds Book Club; host of Culturally Fixated; co-host of Conversations with Geek People; tech support for Leeds Browncoats.

Posted on December 26, 2011, in All Posts, Poetry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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