A chance to help keep Manx tradition alive

Hunt the Wren at St John's last year. Picture: Mike Wade

Hunt the Wren at St John's last year. Picture: Mike Wade

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Join revellers around the island in the age old custom of Hunt the Wren.

Events take place on Boxing Day (Saturday) around the island and involves singing and dancing around a decorated pole with the hunted wren suspended in the centre.

Meeting times:

- Scoill Phurt le Moirrey car park, Port St Mary 10am.

The route will take revellers around the village, ending with tunes at the Albert Hotel at noon.

People are encouraged to make a wren pole and bring it along.

- Outside the Woodbourne Hotel, in Alexander Drive, Douglas, 10.30am.

Everyone welcome to join in with the music, singing, dancing and collecting for Douglas Lifeboat.

- Outside St Paul’s Church, Ramsey, 10.30am.

Join Maughold Social Club and friends to sing and dance around the town.

- St John’s arboretum car park, 10.30am.

Afterwards, head to 
Tynwald Field for the mighty cammag match between the north and the south.

- The Mitre, Kirk Michael, 11am.

The custom is celebrated across the Celtic nations, with each dance revolving around the hunting and killing of a wren, and then displaying and celebrating the death through song and dance.

Tradition states the dancing must end by midday.

Originally it was quite a bloodthirsty ritual as youths would scour the countryside looking for a defenceless wren to trap and kill.

These days artificial birds are used.

The wren became 
the centrepiece for a bush’ – two wooden hoops set at right angles and placed on top of a pole and covered with ribbons and evergreens.

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