Saint Stephen’s Day

Saint Stephen's Day
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26 Dec 201827 Dec 2018Public Holiday

St.Stephen’s Day is also known as Boxing Day or a Wren Day. It is one of two widely celebrated holidays observed in honor of two Christian saints.

St. Stephen’s Day 2018

This public holiday is celebrated on 26 or 27 December in the Latin Church and 09 January in Eastern Christianity (Gregorian calendar).

The Stoning of St Stephen

The day commemorates the life of Saint Stephen, a Christian deacon in Jerusalem who was known for his service to the poor and his status as the first Christian martyr. The charity of St. Stephen is the reason for the songs and customs which have become the traditional manner of celebrating his feast.

It is an official public holiday in 25 European states and regions. The St. Stephen’s Day is also a public holiday in those countries that celebrate Boxing Day (United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada).

St. Stephen's Day

In many countries in Europe, it’s traditional custom of going house-to-house during the St. Stephen’s Day. The day is usually observed by visiting friends and going to parties. Modern festivities include fireworks and parades as well.

In Ireland, it is also known as Wren’s Day or Hunt the Wren Day (Lá an Dreoilín).

Hunting of the Wren

The tradition includes “hunting” a fake wren (small bird) and putting it on top of a decorated pole. It is common to dress up in masks, straw suits and colorful motley clothing.

Saint Stephen’s Day in Europe

Ireland Although not as commonly practiced as previously, in some parts of Ireland people carrying either an effigy of a wren or an actual caged wren (live or dead), traveling from house to house playing music, singing, and dancing.

Sweden One of the oldest folk-songs of Sweden, Saint Stephen was Riding (Staffansvisa) is sung at Christmastide in honor of St. Stephen.

Serbia Saint Stephen is the patron saint of Serbia. Saint Stephen’s Day falls on 9 January because the Serbian Orthodox Church adheres to the Julian calendar.

Finland In Finland, the most popular tradition related to this holiday is “the ride of Stephen’s Day”, which refers to a sleigh ride with horses. Another old tradition is parading with singers and people dressed in Christmas suits.

Germany Austria Poland Czech Republic In these countries there are numerous ancient customs survived to this day, such as ceremonial horseback rides or the “stoning” drinking ritual celebrated by young men after attending church service.

United Kingdom In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping day. It is a time when shops hold sales, often with dramatic price reductions. This day has become the day of the year for many merchants when it comes to revenue.

Labour Day in European Languages

France Saint-EtienneGermany Der StefanitagSpain El Día de San EstebanItaly Santo Stefano
Norway St. Stephens dagCzech Den sv. ŠtěpánaDenmark Saint Stephens dagNetherlands Sint-Stefanusdag
Finland Saint Stephenin päiväHungary Szent István napjaSlovenia Dan sv. ŠtefanaBosnia Sveti Stefan
Sweden Annandag julCroatian Sveti StjepanPoland Dzień Świętego SzczepanaRomania Sfântul Ștefan
Russia Новый ГодTurkey Aziz Stefen GünüIreland Lá an DreoilínSerbia Стевањдан

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