Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Hunt the wren: Ancient Manx tradition celebrated

Hunt the Wren Image copyright Manx Radio
Image caption Communities around the island celebrated the ancient tradition

An ancient folk tradition has been celebrated by people around the Isle of Man.

The custom of hunting the wren sees groups of people dancing through the streets with a decorated wren pole every St Stephen's Day.

It is believed to stem from an old sacrificial practice which predates written records.

The wren was hunted and paraded on a special pole, used as the centrepiece for the dance.

The feathers of the bird were thought to ward off evil in the year to come.

These days, a replica wren is used for the event.

Image copyright Daphne Caine
Image caption Musicians play a traditional song to accompany the event

The dancers were accompanied by groups of musicians playing a traditional song to accompany the event, which features lyrics about "the king of all birds".

James Franklin, of Manx organisation Culture Vannin, said: "Hunting the wren is something very special.

"Communities coming together to sing, dance and have fun on the streets all over the Isle of Man. It is something we should all feel very proud of to have this ancient tradition still thriving."