Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy St Stephen's Day

Today is St Stephen's Day, the day Good King Wenceslas took his famous stroll. My dad assures me that in Ireland it is a bigger occasion than Christmas day. It is traditional for boys and men to try to catch and kill a wren on St Stephen's Day. Why, I cannot discover. But they then take it round all the houses and are given money.

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.


Anonymous said...

Seems a bit rough on the poor wren - I hope they're more plentiful in Eire than they are in the UK.


:: said...

It's my feast day! :)

Yellow said...

That was a fab videao. Were they real inflated pigs bladders, do you think?

Mariel said...

What is the rhyme in great and treat? is it like "gryt and tryt"? In Brooklyn there's no common ground between "grayt" and "treet".Of course, the pronunciation could have shifted since the rhyme began.

Melanie Rimmer said...

In Ireland the two words sounds very close in pronunciation. Here in England they sound different, and no doubt different again in Brooklyn. I think pronunictaions shift not only with time but also with place. I know lots of North East English folk songs where the rhyming scheme only works in the local accent. Try rhyming "wars" and "scars", "news" and "cows", "harm" and "worm" and you'll be ready to sing the North Eastern ballad "The Lanbtom Worm"