When robins appear... facts and folklore about Britain's best loved bird

When it comes to Britain's favourite bird, the robin, the myths, and folklore surrounding it are as colourful as its breast. For centuries, this tiny bird has been the symbol of good luck, happiness, rebirth - and sometimes even as a messenger for lost, loved ones.

When robins appear

There are tales stretching back to Norse mythology where the robin is the protector from storms and lightning. And in Celtic folklore the robin is known as the Oak King of Summer.

The robin was voted as Britain's (unofficial) National Bird in 1960, and again in 2015. So, what is it about this little bird that still continues to capture the imagination, and hearts of people? Is it because, for such a tiny bird, it symbolises so much?

Robin in winter

Stories surrounding how the robin got its red breast certainly capture a brave hearted soul. One, is of how the flames from a fire keeping the baby Jesus warm, were dying out. The, then little brown bird, fanned the flames with their tiny wings and a gust of fire scorched their chest. Another one says its red breast came from the blood of Christ, and in Wales, the robin is known as, 'brou-rhuddyn' or 'scorched breast' from when the robin scorched its breast in the fires of purgatory delivering water to the tormented souls!

Not all folklore puts the robin in somewhat precarious situations! There are plenty that associate it with happiness, joy, good luck, strong marriages, re-birth and the ending of an old phase with the promise of something new.

The well-known phrase, 'When robins appear, loved ones are near', alludes to the belief that the robin is a messenger. When robins are seen, some people take comfort that loved ones are at peace, and many believe that their lost loved ones are visiting them.

Whatever beliefs people hold dear, it is impossible to deny the rich symbolism of the robin.

Robin in Victorian Times


It was not until Victorian times that the red breasted bird appeared on Christmas cards. They became synonymous with Christmas due to the bright red uniforms worn by Royal Mail posties who were nicknamed 'robins'. In no time, the robin redbreast was seen on cards, holding envelopes in their beaks, or sitting on postboxes, and that tradition continues today. Maybe, there is a link to earlier folklore with the robin being a messenger of good wishes and joy.

From good luck to happiness, and feats of bravery, this favourite British bird continues to be highly regarded. The next time you see a robin in your garden, be sure to give them the time of day. You just never know what message they may have for you.

Robin Mug

If you want to send your own message of good luck to someone you love or miss, or just to let them know you are thinking about them, Jin Designs Robin Collection is the perfect way to have Robin Redbreast in your home.

Robin Pin

You can find Robin on a range of homeware and gifts including a Robin Mug, Robin Candle and a Robin Enamel Pin.
Shop the Robin Collection.

If you are looking for gifts for someone who has recently lost a loved one, you can find a selection of thoughtful Gifts for Loss which include Jin Designs much loved Robin.

Thoughtful Gift for Loss
Robin Pin

Probably one of the most popular gifts for giving to someone going through a loss. Robin can provide a lot of comfort, sometimes seen as a messenger for lost loved ones. This quality pin is a thoughtful choice for those who just want someone to know they are thinking of them.