This week, Saturday fell on a very important date: the 26th of December.
Many celebrate Boxing Day, some celebrate St. Stephen’s Day but a most interesting celebration on the 26th of December is the Day of the Wren.
Observed only in Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man and Newfoundland, Wren Day is one of those celebrations that is good for everyone but the wren. The tradition was, apparently, to hunt and kill a wren on this day and take it, nailed to a stick, around the city to collect money for that evening’s dance. These days, the boys still dress up in straw suits but it is a fake wren which is paraded around the town on a pole. Why a wren? No one is really sure.
Mysteriously, the wren has a reputation for treachery. A wren is said to have betrayed Irish soldiers fighting the Norsemen by beating its wings on their shields. The wren, too, is blamed for betraying St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. This is the usual explanation why the wren is the hunted bird on St. Stephen’s day. It has also been argued that the antipathy shown towards the bird dates from early Christian opposition to the Druidic rites that surrounded it. Today, the wren — as a feature of the event — survives only in the rhyme and in the name of the day.
On the 26th of December in 2009, these wonderful photographs were taken. It’s a small set this week but every single photograph is a treasure – take a look:
Take a moment to visit the twitter streams of our valiant photographers, submitting even in the very depths of the old year:
And that is the last SatScene of the year! Thank you to everyone who has submitted in 2009 and I hope to see photographs from all of you in 2010!
(It’s easy! Just take a photograph on Saturday the 2nd and tweet the link @Satscenes with a location.)