St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day honors the first Christian martyr, stoned to death shortly after the Crucifixion. St. Stephen’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland, celebrated on December 26th, but the celebrations have little connection to the Saint.

In Ireland, St. Stephen’s Day is the day for “Hunting the Wren” or “Going on the Wren.” Originally, groups of small boys would hunt for a wren, and then chase the bird until they either caught it or it died from exhaustion. The dead bird was tied to the top of a pole or holly bush, which was decorated with ribbons or colored paper.

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