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St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen's Day honors the life of St. Stephen, believed to be one of the first Christian martyrs.

Upcoming Dates & Where They Are Celebrated

St. Stephen's Day is celebrated on the 26th of December, the day after Christmas. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the observation is moved to the following day, on the 27th. Here is a list of the upcoming dates:

  • Tuesday, December 26, 2017
  • Wednesday, December 26, 2018
  • Thursday, December 26, 2019
  • Saturday, December 26, 2020 - Observed on Monday, December 28, 2020
  • Sunday, December 26, 2021 - Observed on Monday, December 27, 2021
  • Monday, December 26, 2022
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2023
  • Thursday, December 26, 2024
  • Friday, December 26, 2025

Where Is St. Stephen's Day Considered A Holiday?

This is a holiday everywhere in Ireland. As such, government buildings are closed. The post offices and banks will also be closed for observation of this holiday. Public transportation is available in some areas, but not in others. Before making plans to travel anywhere, check with your local transit schedule. As for other shops, it depends on the owners. Many stores will be closed. Some will be open for limited windows of time. Pubs and other establishments may choose to remain open.

Festivities & Events During St. Stephen's Day

It is most common to celebrate St. Stephen's Day in church. There are special services held on this day to commemorate the life of St. Stephen. Families may choose to attend a pantomime, in celebration. These are musical comedies that incorporate audience participation. They include many different aspects that draw the interest of the crowd. This includes cross-dressing and double entendre references. They also reference local events. The tradition of cross-dressing carries over to young children. These children go door-to-door, attempting to raise money for charities or the community. It's common to see a wren on a stick during this day. On the occasions where St. Stephen's Day falls on a Monday, families may choose to take a brief vacation. Since the Holiday lands over the Christmas break, many people will be on vacation during St. Stephen's Day.

A Brief History Of St. Stephen's Day

There is a rich history around St. Stephen's Day. It's also sometimes referred to as the Day of the Wren. On this day, it was traditional to stone a wren and parade it around. This was particularly common for young boys. This tradition stopped in the 1900's, but is still remembered. The reason for this is that it's said that St. Stephen was betrayed by a wren whilst hiding from his enemies. St Stephen is known as the first Christian martyr. Although there are many different stories surrounding him. It is believed that he was stoned to death. It became known as an official holiday in 1871.