Wren Day/ Boxing Day/ Saint Stephen’s Day and the Mummers

Wren boys

“The wren, the wren, the king of all birds. Saint Stephen’s day he got caught in the firs. So it’s up with the kettle and down with the pan. Won’t you give me a penny to bury the wren.”
Old Irish poem.

 
My dad used to say this on Saint Stephen’s day, which is December 26. The custom was, when I was growing up, on Saint Stephen’s night people would come dressed in disguise to your door and sing for money. We called them, “the mummers.”

 
Here are two more sites that discuss the tradition in more detail:

http://www.busi.mun.ca/flynn/wren.htm

http://www.infobarrel.com/Hunting_the_Wren%3A__An_Irish_Christmas_Tradition

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3 thoughts on “Wren Day/ Boxing Day/ Saint Stephen’s Day and the Mummers

  1. I’ve ehard of 3 King’s Day when kids from churches would come to the door for donations. if you donated, they would place chalk marks of the first initial of each of the 3 Wise Men on your door or step. They do that in Germany.

    • A friend from Puerto Rico told me that they do the same thing as the Irish on Wren day except they do it on Jan 6, Three King’s Day! Funny how these ancient traditions are celebrated all over the world.

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