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St. Stephen's Day


St. Stephen's Day

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St. Stephen's Day
Also called Feast of St Stephen
Observed by Christians
Type Christian
Date 26 December
Related to Boxing Day

St Stephen's Day, or the Feast of St Stephen, is a Christian saint's day celebrated on 26 December in the Western Church and 27 December in the Eastern Church. Churches which adhere to the Julian calendar mark St Stephen's Day in January, although from their perspective they are celebrating it in December. It commemorates St Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr.


Around the world

The day is a public holiday in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Catalonia, Croatia, Republika Srpska, and Romania. St. Stephen's Day is also the "feast of Stephen" referred to in the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas. In Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Boxing Day is celebrated instead, which in most years falls on the same day (Boxing Day falls on the first non-Sunday after Christmas, either 26 or 27 December).


In Irish it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín — the latter translates literally as another English name used, the Day of the Wren or Wren's Day. When used in this context, 'wren' is oftened pronounced 'ran'. This name alludes to several legends, including those found in Ireland linking episodes in the life of Jesus to the wren. In parts of Ireland persons carrying either an effigy of a wren, or an actual caged wren, travel from house to house playing music, singing and dancing. Depending on which region of the country, they are called Wrenboys, Mummers or Strawboys. A Mummer's Festival is held at this time every year in the village of New Inn, Co. Galway. St Stephen's Day is also a popular day for visiting family members. A popular rhyme, known to many Irish children and sung at each house visited by the mummers goes as follows:

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen's Day was caught in the furze,
Up with the penny and down with the pan,
Give us a penny to bury the wren.


In Catalonia it is called "Sant Esteve" and is a bank holiday, but not in the whole country of Spain.

Republika Srpska

St. Stephen is the patron saint of the Republika Srpska entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and St. Stephen's Day is celebrated as the Day of the Republika Srpska. It falls on January 9 by the Gregorian calendar (the standard international calendar), as the Serb Orthodox Church adheres to the Julian calendar.

See also

  • St. Stephen's Day in Hungary is observed on August 20, the day on which the allegedly sacred relics of Stephen I of Hungary were transferred to the city of Buda. This day is the ultimate public holiday in Hungary. Stephen I, or 'Stephanus' as he was named in Latin by Pope Sylvester II, was originally a pagan chieftain's son answering to the name 'Vajk'. He gouged out the eyes and poured boiling lead into the ears of his arch rival (Vasoly) and was awarded a crown by the pope for forcing catholicism onto the Hungarian people. The converted king was canonized by Pope Gregory VII in AD 1083 and has since been been referred to as St Stephen of Hungary. Under communism St. Stephen's Day was referred to by the Hungarians as 'The celebration of the new bread - the end of the harvest'.

External links

Home | Up | Black Friday | Boxing Day | Boxing Week | Chrismahanukwanzakah | Chrismukkah | Christmas Eve | Christmas Sunday | Distaff day | Epiphany | Handsel Monday | Hogmanay | HumanLight | Night of the Radishes | Posadas | Purification of the Virgin | Sol Invictus | St. Stephen's Day | Twelfth Night | Twelve Days of Christmas | Twelve Holy Days | Winterval

Christmas Guide, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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