12 April 2021

A dead robin as a good-luck symbol

As reported by Collector's Weekly:
“The Victorians... liked to send out cards with dead birds on them, robins in particular, which related to ancient customs and legends. There’s a famous quotation from the Venerable Bede about a sparrow flying through the hall of a castle while the nobility is celebrating Christmas: The moment from when it enters until it flies out is very brief, a metaphor for how quickly our lives pass.” Apparently, killing a wren or robin was once a good-luck ritual performed in late December, and during the late 19th century, cards featuring the bodies of these birds were sent to offer good luck in the New Year."
Via Madame Jujujive's always-something-interesting Everlasting Blort.

See also: Piebald robin


  1. is this related to that 'who killed cock robin?' nursery rhyme?


    1. Perhaps you could look that up and report back to the class tomorrow.


  2. hmm... i don't really see a connection between the nursery rhyme (dating to the 15th century) about a robin being shot with an arrow and the following court proceeding of witnesses to the murder and the funeral details and killing a robin for good luck in the 19th century.

    not wishing to completely waste the class time, i offer this disney version of the nursery rhyme:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GK66CFljA0 Silly Symphony - Who killed cock Robin? - 1935



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