Why Is The Robin A Christmas Bird?

The history of why the Robin Red Breast is a Christmas bird that often appears on Xmas Cards and decorations:

Red breasted Robins appear on Christmas cards, advent calendars, ornaments, Christmas tree decorations and many images and pictures associated with Xmas. There are several stories as to why the Robin bird is seen as a festive bird:

How Robins Came To Appear On Christmas Cards

In Victorian times the postmen wore a red tunic as part of their uniform. They were nicknamed Robin Redbreasts after the birds. Each postman was a servant of the Crown whose regal colour also contained red. Postal workers often worked over the Christmas Holiday and even delivered presents and cards on Christmas Day. This association earned the Robin with his red breast a place on an early Christmas card and started a popular Christmas image.

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How Robins Got Their Red Breast

There is the tale of Mary being cold in the stable where she gave birth to Jesus Christ. She asked the animals in the stable to help her to keep a fire going as it was about to go out. None of the animals would blow on the dying embers to keep the fire alight. However a plain brown bird came down next to the fire and flapped its tiny wings and sang. The flapping of the wings caused a small draught which was enough to re-ignite the fire. As the fire burned the bird collected twigs and placed them on the embers to build a better fire. One of the hot embers leapt from the fire and caught the bird on its breast where it burnt red. Mary was so pleased with the bird for keeping her baby warm that she proclaimed that all its descendants would have a proud red breast over its generous heart.

It is also thought that the Robin (still a plain brown bird) was a witness to Christ's crucifixion and tried to take the thorn crown from his head. In doing so the thorns cut Jesus' head and some blood fell upon the bird's breast, colouring it red.

Latin Name For A Robin

The Latin name for a Robin is Erithacus rubecula - Spideog. The original name for a Robin was Ruddock.

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