This year’s greeting begins with an official wren and mistletoe theme. I thought that I would put together a card that had an vintage image of “picking” mistletoe, along with a linoleum block that Jake had carved of the wren. I read that in some cases the wrenboys would actually pluck a feather from the dead wren at each house they visited as a thank you for payments rendered, that’s why I added a feather. I don’t know why I choose to add various definitions on the left side. The number 9 has always been a symbol of the muses for me, and, as always, I am inspired by others, so that is a kind of thank you reference.

I thought a stop action animation of the card would be fun to do.

In past times, an actual bird was hunted by Wrenboys on St. Stephen’s Day (Dec. 26th). The captured wren was tied to the Wrenboy leader’s staff pole. The captured wren would be kept alive as the popular mummers’ parade song states ‘A penny or tuppence would do it no harm’. The song, of which there are many variations, asked for donations from the townspeople. Often, the boys gave a feather from the bird to patrons for good luck. The money was used to host a dance for the town, held that night. The pole, decorated with ribbons, wreaths and flowers, as well as the Wren, was the centre of the dance. Over time, the live bird was replaced with a fake one that is hidden, rather than chased. The band of young boys has expanded to include girls, and adults often join in. The money that is collected from the townspeople is usually donated to a school or charity. A celebration is still held around the decorated pole.

Wren Day