Saturday, December 26, 2009

St. Stephen's Day

One of my favorite carols is "Good King Wencelas" and here is an excellent rendition by Lorena McKennit whose lovely voice really does it justice!

The day after Christmas, December 26th, is St. Stephen's Day. St. Stephen was the Church's first martyr. Many countries celebrate his day and nearly all include include acts of charity but I, of course given my forbears, enjoy the way the Irish, who call it the Day of the Wren, celebrate it best. Here's a video of one of the annual parades known as the Wrenboys parade to collect alms for the poor:

In the UK they celebrate Boxing Day on the 26th of December and it has become mostly a shopping day but it derives from the tradition of giving seasonal gifts to less wealthy people and social inferiors. Until their distribution, these gifts were stored in a "Christmas box," which was opened on December 26, when the contents were distributed. In the United Kingdom, this was later extended to include various workers such as laborers and servants. I like the original tradition better than the present one and prefer the Irish way over both. An excuse to have a wee pint and help others works for me! LOL

My favorite Irishmen -- The Clancy Brothers -- sing a traditional song for this holiday:

Happy Blogging and Happy Wren's Day!!!!!!!!!!



  1. Who thought there would be anything interesting on the 26th of December? Well, just leave it to Kay!

  2. Well, in France, December 26th is nothing special, you just try to recover from overeating ;)
    Belated happy Christmas, Kay

  3. Annie: LOL If one looks, there is something happening somewhere. And leave it to the Irish not to want a holiday to end!

    Claude: here in the States it's the beginning of the after Christmas sales and the day everyone returns gifts that don't fit!!!! I like the Irish way better!!!

  4. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Yes, happy blogging to you, too!

  5. Kay, You do a fine service by keeping all of us seculars up-to-snuff (don't you wonder how that came about) on the various celebratory habits of the religious. Laughed about the Brits giving to "social inferiors." And we wonder whence came some attitudes in the U.S.!

    Once again thanks for your good wishes on our bigtime move. You got me wondering how far away good Chinese food would be...the midwest was always an Asian-food dilemna in my younger life. Is there a blogger who might know?

    Sending new, improved year for 2010.

  6. It's recovery day around here. Tomorrow we attend the annual mochi pounding ceremony at Hakelau, Big Island of Hawaii.
    Loved the Clancy Bros. clip!

  7. Just trying to relax and let my mind recharge before next week.

    Happy holidays..

    Dorothy from grammology

  8. love the "social inferiors" bit...
    ha...where's MY present, o noble person??

  9. This is such a fabulous, fun post, Kay! I love it! Day of the Wren sounds like such a different, wonderful celebration. Thanks for such an interesting, informative post!


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