Monday, 13 December 2010

December - Robin Redbreast

 We've been feeding the birds in the garden since the harsh weather began. Despite the fact that the garden has many berry-laden shrubs, the resident robin is the first of the ground-feeders to appear each morning after the water in the bird bath has been de-frosted and the bread, nuts, and fat-balls replenished.

How did the Robin become a symbol of Christmas? A robin first appeared on a card in the 1860s. The bird was depicted delivering an envelope. The postmen at the time wore a red tunic and were nicknamed redbreasts, hence the robin on the card.

A tradition associated with the pagan Yule festival is that the eternal circle of the year ends with the battle between the Holly King (the old year, winter), represented by the wren and the Oak King (the new year, summer) represented by the robin. In this battle the wren (old year) is defeated by the robin (new year) and the cycle of seasons begins again.