Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Christian Festival National or regional holiday in several countries

El Greco - Saint Peter and Saint Paul
Saint Peter and Saint Paul by El Greco

When is St. Peter and St. Paul Day?

Dates of St. Peter and St Paul's Day
Chile Chile
Colombia Colombia
Italy Italy (Rome)
Malta Malta
Peru Peru
Switzerland Switzerland (Graubünden, Ticino)
Venezuela Venezuela

This feast day is celebrated on 29 June.

The day commemorates the martyrdom of two saints, the two great Apostles, Saint Peter and St. Paul, assigned by tradition to the same day of June in the year 67.

The day taken in Chile may change depending if 29 June it falls on a weekend.

In Colombia, like other religious holidays, the holiday is observed on the Monday after the date.

In Italy, this day is a holiday in Rome. All public offices will be closed. Many shops and supermarkets may close at lunchtime.

In Switzerland, this is a regional holiday celebrated in Graubünden and Ticino only

History of St. Peter and St. Paul Day

Peter was the leader of the apostles and the first pope. Paul was born Saul, but converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus.

They had been imprisoned in the infamous Mamertine Prison of Rome and both had foreseen their approaching death. It is said that they were martyred at the command of Emperor Nero.

Even though they were killed on the same day, their method of execution would have differed.

Saint Peter was crucified, whereas Saint Paul would have been beheaded with a sword as he was a Roman citizen and afforded a quicker execution.

It is said of Peter that he was crucified head downward as he didn't feel worthy of being crucified in the same way as Jesus.

On 29 June, coastal and island communities may decorate their boats and wharfs to give praise to St. Peter, who was the patron saint of fishermen. St. Paul was known for his hand craft.

This is probably one of the oldest feast days celebrated in the Christian calendar. In 2010, images of Peter and Paul were found on the wall of catacombs dating back to the 4th Century AD.

The feast of St Peter and St Paul is known as a 'Solemnity'. For Catholics, this means they can eat meat on the day, even if it falls on Friday when normally fish would be eaten.

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