Monday, December 26, 2011

On the Second Day of Christmas....

I have the rather ambitious intention of trying to do a post for each day of the twelve days of Christmas, finishing on the Feast of the Epiphany. Ideally, I would like to post something particular to each day - a song or a carol if I can find one. Today is St. Stephen's Day, and I had originally intended to publish a clip of a very old carol called St. Stephen Was a Clerk. Unfortunately, though the tune seems to be fairly well known in certain circles (i.e. medieval and renaissance musicians) diligent research did not turn up a single clip of the tune, other than as an mp3 sample. This being the case, I am posting a more flippant clip of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem singing The Wren Song.

The tradition of the hunting of the wren, which is described briefly at the beginning if the clip, is an old Irish custom. The story behind it is that a wren was responsible for betraying St. Stephen to his murders - and also for betraying the Irish during a key battle, by beating its wings against a shield, and rousing the enemy.

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