May yours be a Joyful Christmas: Robin Myths


May yours be a Joyful Christmas | Victorian-era greeting card

The first Christmas robin myth tells us of a fire which had been lit in the stable near baby Jesus’ manger, keeping the infant warm. While Mary had stepped away for a few moments, the flames flared violently, threatening His safety. A brown robin had been watching over the babe and in the act of protection, the robin placed itself between the fire and the infant Jesus’ face by rousing its feathers, thus blocking the flames.  With a chest scorched red and the infant safe, the bird  went on to genetically pass the colouring onto the following generations.


Wishing you all the Pleasure of the Season | Victorian-era greeting card

The second myth tells of a robin which had been present at Christ’s crucifixion. Trying to remove a thorn from the crown-of-thorns on Christ’s head, the robin’s chest had been pierced causing blood to stain its chest. Other variations of this (the second) myth state the blood which stained the robin’s chest belonged to Christ.


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Although other myths tell us robins are known to visit the sick and may foretell death, the robin is also a symbol of courage, re-birth (Spring) and resurrection and is commonly considered a good Omen. If you should happen to spot [living] robins, it is said you may be in the company of  very special guests – a visitation from family or friends  on the ‘other side’. Like the corvids (ravens, crows and rooks), the robin has deep connections to death, funerals and the afterlife.  You can find a good handful of poems, stories and nursery rhymes singing the bird’s praises.



How Dare The Robins Sing

How dare the robins sing,
When men and women hear
Who since they went to their account
Have settled with the year!—
Paid all that life had earned
In one consummate bill,
And now, what life or death can do
Is immaterial.
Insulting is the sun
To him whose mortal light
Beguiled of immortality
Bequeaths him to the night.
Extinct be every hum
In deference to him
Whose garden wrestles with the dew,
At daybreak overcome!

–   Emily Dickinson

– altered by Hystoria

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