Why red robins are a symbol of Christmas in the UK

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Why red robins are a symbol of Christmas in the UK.

If you have ever wondered why red robins are associated with Christmas, postmen in Victorian Britain were nicknamed “robins” because of their red-breasted coloured uniforms. So the robin on the Christmas card came to represent the postman who delivered the card.

You may have heard of the Christmas legend when a robin rested upon Jesus’ shoulder when he was on the cross and sang to relieve his suffering. Blood from Jesus’ crown of thorns stained the little bird’s chest, since then, all robins were red breasted.

Have you noticed a robin’s red-breast  is actually orange. The bird was named before the English language had a word for the colour ‘orange’. Many things that were really orange were called red instead even though we did have the word for ‘orange’ as in the fruit. The colour orange was not named as a colour in English until the 16th century. The name for the colour comes from the fruit.

Source: QI Series K – Knees & Knockers

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