St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland – Date Celebrations Importance {December 26*} History Activities

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St. Stephen’s Day 
Lá Fhéile Stiofáin ( Irish )
Weihnachtsfeiertag/Stephanstag (German)

what date is st stephen’s day?

2nd day of Christmas
St. Stephen’s Day 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
St. Stephen’s Day 2015
Saturday, December 26, 2015
St Stephen’s Day commemorates the life of St Stephen, an early Christian martyr. It is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland.

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why is st stephen’s day important,
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how is st stephen’s day celebrated in italy, 

Here are answers for these questions 🙂 

What do people do?
Many people generally spend the day quietly with family members or close friends. Some Christians attend special church services to remember St Stephen’s life. Other people may visit a theater to see a pantomime. Pantomimes are musical-comedy productions based on fairy tales and aimed at families. They incorporate audience participation, cross-dressing, double entendre and references to recent local events.

In some parts of Ireland, children go from door to door with a wren (a small bird) in a cage or a model wren on a stick. They may also sing, play music or perform traditional dances. In some areas, boys may dress as girls or women. Many hope to collect money for community or school projects or charity.

Public life
Banks, post offices and many other businesses and organizations are closed on St Stephen’s Day. However, stores and pubs are generally open, although they may open later and close earlier than usual. Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives and intends to travel. If St Stephen’s Day falls on a Sunday, the public holiday moves to Monday, December 27.

Are shops open on st stephen day?

YES

History

St. Stephen’s Day (Lá Fhéile Stiofáin), or the Day of the Wren (Lá an Dreoilín), is an occasion to commemorate the life of St Stephen, a Christian martyr. Many people spend the day quietly with close friends or family.
In Irish, it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín, meaning the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day. When used in this context, “wren” is often pronounced “ran”.[2] This name alludes to several legends, including those found in Ireland, linking episodes in the life of Jesus to the wren. People dress up in old clothes, wear straw hats and travel from door to door with fake wrens (previously real wrens were killed) and they dance, sing and play music. This tradition is less common than it was a couple of generations ago.[3] Depending on which region of the country, they are called wrenboys and mummers. A Mummer’s Festival is held at this time every year in the village of New Inn, County Galway and Dingle in County Kerry. A popular rhyme, known to many Irish children and sung at each house visited by the mummers goes as follows (this version popularized by the Irish group The Clancy Brothers):

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great,
Jump up me lads and give us a treat.
As I was going to Killenaule,
I met a wren upon the wall.
Up with me wattle and knocked him down,
And brought him in to Carrick Town.
Drooolin, Droolin, where’s your nest?
Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree, the holly tree,
Where all the boys do follow me.
Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
And give us a penny to bury the wren.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
Three miles or more three miles or more.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
At six o’clock in the morning.
I have a little box under me arm,
Under me arm under me arm.
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny or tuppence would do it no harm.
Mrs. Clancy’s a very good woman,
a very good woman, a very good woman,
Mrs. Clancy’s a very good woman,
She give us a penny to bury the wren.

A variant sung in the County Cork had a different explanation why the wren was the King of birds:

The wren, the wren, the King of All Birds,
On Saint Stephen’s Day he was caught in the furze.
Although he is small his family is great.
Come out, good lady, and give us a treat!
St. Stephen’s Day is a popular day for visiting family members and going to the theatre to see a pantomime.
St Stephen is believed to be the first Christian martyr. He was stoned to death sometime around the year 33 CE. According to an Irish legend, he was betrayed by a wren while hiding from his enemies. Another legend tells of Viking raids on Ireland on St Stephen’s Day sometime around the year 750 CE. Irish soldiers were approaching a Viking camp to drive out the intruders. However, a wren started eating crumbs from a drum and alerted the Vikings to the presence of the Irish soldiers.

Hence, some people felt that wrens betrayed them and should be stoned to death, just as St Stephen was. Boys traditionally hunted a wren and threw stones at it. They tied it to a stick when it was dead and paraded it around the village. They did this to collect money for a dance or party for the whole village. Although the custom of killing wrens on December 26 died out around 1900, St Stephen’s Day is still known as the Day of the Wren, particularly in rural areas.

why is st stephen’s day important?

St Stephen’s Day has been a holiday in Ireland for hundreds of years. It became a public holiday following the Bank Holidays Act 1871.

 

 St. Stephen's Day in Ireland - Date Celebrations Importance {December 26*} History Activities

Wales

St. Stephen’s Day in Wales is known as Gŵyl San Steffan. Ancient Welsh custom, discontinued in the 19th century, included bleeding of livestock and “holming” (beating or slashing with holly branches) of late risers and female servants.[5]

Catalonia

St. Stephen’s Day (Sant Esteve) on 26 December is a traditional Catalan holiday. It is celebrated right after Christmas, with a big meal including canelons. These are stuffed with the ground remaining meat from the escudella i carn d’olla, turkey, or capó of the previous day.

Alsace and Moselle

St. Stephen’s Day (Saint Etienne) is a heritage due to the local German culture even after French annexation in 1918.

Serbia

St. Stephen is the patron saint of Serbia. St. Stephen’s Day falls on 9 January because the Serbian Orthodox Church adheres to the Julian calendar. Serbian medieval rulers’ title was Stefan (Stephen). The day is not a public holiday in Serbia.

Republika Srpska

St. Stephen is also the patron saint of Republika Srpska, one of two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. St. Stephen’s Day, 9 January, is celebrated as the Day of the Republika Srpska or Dan Republike, though mainly as an anniversary of the 1992 events rather than as a religious feast.

Finland

The most well known tradition linked to the day is “the ride of Stephen’s Day” which refers to a sleigh ride with horses. These merry rides along village streets were seen in contrast to silent and pious mood of the previous Christmas days.

Another old tradition were parades with singers and people dressed in Christmas suits. At some areas these parades were related to checking forthcoming brides and Stephen’s Day used to be a popular day for wedding as well. These days a related tradition are dances of Stephen’s Day which are held in several restaurants and dance halls.

St. Stephen’s Day 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
St. Stephen’s Day 2015
Saturday, December 26, 2015

 St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland – Date Celebrations Importance {December 26*} History Activities

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