The 20th annual Wren Party, sponsored by the Philadelphia-Delaware Valley chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, is done and dusted.
CCÉ’s yearly event commemorates an ancient Irish custom, in which the humble wren is alleged to have given away the hiding place of St. Stephen, Christianity’s first martyr. In olden days, “wren boys” or “straw boys” would parade around their village, bearing the body of a hapless wren on a stick and begging contributions for a big village bash.
In this case, absolutely no wrens were harmed, of course. The only birds were fake.
Party-goers danced on into the night to tunes provided by a big Irish traditional band, Rosemarie Timoney’s dancers put on a lively exhibition, and there was a cute little wren parade, in which participants were awarded for the quality and inventiveness of their wren hats.
Capping the evening was a performance by Shannon Lambert Ryan and Fionán de Barra, who front the Irish group Runa, assisted by fiddler Alexander Ball-Weir.
We have many photos from the night. Check them out.