The Wren Boys in Dingle, Ireland, Celebrating St. Stephen’s Day
In Ireland, St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, is one of nine official public holidays.
In Irish, it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín, meaning the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day. When used in this context, “wren” is often pronounced “ran”.
This name alludes to several Irish legends, some linking episodes in the life of Jesus to the wren. Although not practiced often anymore, in certain parts of Ireland people carry either an effigy of a wren or an actual caged wren through the streets. They travel from house to house playing music, singing and dancing.
Depending on which region of the country, they are called wrenboys and mummers. A Mummer’s Festival is held at this time every year in the village of New Inn, County Galway and Dingle in County Kerry. St. Stephen’s Day is also a popular day for visiting family members. (Good-bye Christmas dinner leftovers!)
A popular rhyme is known to many Irish children and sung at each house visited by the mummers. Here’s a very nice version of the song for you to enjoy, complete with chords and words!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZI_PzRIqU0
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds…
Happy December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day, from the Crew at Authentic Ireland Travel