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St. Stephen's Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, was a Christian saint's day. It commemorated St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and was celebrated the day after Christmas, 26 December on the Terran calendar. It was also known as Boxing Day in the Great Britain and Canada, and Wren's day in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales.
Various traditions were a part of St. Stephen's Day celebrations, especially in Ireland. Boys would dress up in masks and act the part of "wrenboys", chasing wren birds with sticks. Afterwards they would beginning "mumming," or caroling from house to house. The verse they would sing was:
- The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
- On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
- So up with the kettle and down with the pan,
- Won't you give us a penny to bury the wren?
- Down with the kettle and up with the pan,
- Give us a penny and let us be gone!
The money these mummers would raise was ostensibly to bury the wren, but really to hold a dance for the town, called the "wren dance." It was often the highlight of the Christmas season in rural Ireland.
In contrast, a Welsh tradition involved bleeding livestock, and flogging late risers and female servants with holly branches. Thankfully it was discontinued by the 19th century.
Wren's Day was still celebrated in Ireland in the 24th century. Growing up in Dublin, it was a favorite holiday of Miles O'Brien and his siblings. His mother, Fionnula O'Brien, would always hold a massive wren dance, and her children and foster children would go mumming through the town.
As an adult, Miles' foster sister, Jean Brennan, continued the tradition with her family. After Jean's death, St. Stephen's Day became an even more important day for Timothy Sinclair, one he always made sure to spend with his sons, Jeff and Tyler. (Star Trek: Pendragon: "Twilight's Call", "Midnight Clear", "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day")