Today, 26th December, is St Stephen's Day in the Western Church. In the Eastern Church the feast is on 27th December. It celebrates the feast of St Stephen, the first recorded martyr, who was stoned to death.
As far as animals go, today is connected in Ireland with the wren. In days gone by, the wren was hunted by gangs of boys and killed. In these gentler times, no killing takes place. The practice may date back to pagan times and the wren may have been a sacrifice. Hunting the wren was also carried out in Wales, but, as far as I know, the practice has fallen into desuetude in that country.
The link below deals with the wren's possible connection to Indo-European mythology.
now read on.....