Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stephen's Day

Happy St. Stephen's Day Everyone!
St. Stephen's Day is a traditional christian holiday celebrated in many countries on the 26th of December. My husband is Irish ( from Ireland) and seeing as how we lived there for several years, St. Stephen's Day became one of my favorite holidays.

In Ireland, Stephen's Day is a national holiday, which is also sometimes called Wren's Day, because of a tradition called "Hunting the Wren" (wren often pronounced as 'ran').

I've a horrible inkling that actual wrens were involved in the past. But gladly, it doesn't involve any poor little wrens today. What it does involve is good fun! The old tradition was to dress up in costume and go from house to house singing at the door, with the hopes of getting a handout...preferably in coin.

Nowadays, the tradition involves going from pub to pub. Groups of friends dress up, often as a theme, and go around  playing music and singing songs while passing around a hat for tips. Many people donate the money to charities...others use it for drink...but either way it makes for a good solid fun-filled day after Christmas. One of my favorite group costumes one year was a bunch of guys going around dressed up as Diana Ross and The Supremes.

When we lived in Ireland, a typical Stephen's day for us would comprise a long walk in the woods outside the town--regardless of how bad the weather was. Then, we'd head into town and hit the pubs to enjoy the fun and have a pint, which goes down a treat after a couple hours out walking in the cold winter weather.
Carey's Castle, Co. Tipperary, Ireland (in Summer)

Although it's not nearly as fun here in the USA, today we're still celbrating with a nice glass of 2° Below, which is delicious and vegan friendly.

Here's wishing all the best of the season!


  1. Thank you so much for posting this. I had no idea what Stephen's Day was. Clearly I needed enlightening.

    I love the idea of dressing up and going pub to pub. What a fun tradition.

    talk to you later,

  2. Hi Alicia,

    It is much fun...the Irish are very gregarious, much like the Italians!

  3. Very cool post. I am now craving a brewskie.

  4. That does sound like fun! Almost like Hogmany, busking and a pub crawl all rolled into one and sprinkled with Christmas cheer! :-) (And with no harm to any innocent wrens!)

    And I can only imagine what a winter's day hike in Ireland must be like, followed by a pint at the pub. When we visited England and Scotland (once in May and once in September) and would visit a pub (we visited a lot of pubs, lol), I would try to imagine what it must be like to be there with a fire going in the fireplace, all dark and drear outside and warm and cheerful inside, with a dark pint of stout in my hand! And I vowed that SOMEDAY, I was going to experience it for real. I'd love to spend Christmas in the UK someday!

    Happy St. Stephen's Day 2010, Rose and John! (I'm glad you linked to this post in today's post!) :-)

  5. Laurie

    Oh yes, it is good fun! I stayed with a friend in Cirencester in the Cotswolds from September through mid-December many years ago (1992 I think) and it is lovely building up to the holiday times...and bonfire night and all...I left before Christmas, but I secretly wanted to stay.

    I hope you get your UK Christmas in the near future!



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