Why are there robins on Christmas playing cards? – Maggie Califf, Clogherhead, Co Louth
An excellent query. seeing as how robins are terribly belligerent birds and might’t bear different robins besides through the breeding season. Postmen in Victorian England wore purple uniforms and have been thus nicknamed robins and so represented on the Christmas playing cards they delivered.
Why do now we have to purchase mistletoe? Does it not develop in Ireland? – Paddy Slevin, Cavan
Mistletoe is an evergreen semi-parasite of bushes, native to Britain and continental Europe. It is a uncommon backyard escape right here and will be discovered on apple bushes in orchards in Carlow.
Why was the wren historically hunted on St Stephen’s Day? What hurt did it ever do? – Sive O Shea (10)
One of our commonest birds (there are greater than six million in Ireland), the wren was historically regarded as an actual sneak. It cheated its method to profitable the “who could fly the highest” competitors by hiding underneath the eagle’s feathers after which flying greater, thus claiming the title of king. And it betrayed St Stephen by dancing on a drum and awakening the Roman troopers, who then captured and martyred him.
Why can we usher in holly at Christmastime? – Caitriona Maloney, Dublin
As a mark of respect to the pagan solar god Lugh. It dates from Neolithic instances, when measurements in locations comparable to Newgrange confirmed that the solar was starting to rise once more within the sky after the winter solstice. Holly was one of many few leafy issues within the surrounding deciduous forests.
Are there reindeer in Ireland? – James Glynn (7)
There was once on the finish of the final ice age, after they grazed the tundra-like panorama. As it warmed up and forests grew, they moved additional north. But Rudolph and Olive (the opposite reindeer) all the time return to steer Santy’s staff of reindeer throughout Ireland on Christmas Eve.
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