|Who is off on St. Stephen's Day?|
Saint Stephen's Day, 26 December is the Feast of St. Stephen in Western Christianity.
In commonwealth countries, the day after Christmas day is a holiday, but known as Boxing Day. In some countries the day after Christmas Day may also be known as the 'Second Day of Christmas' or the 'Day after Christmas'.
In non Commonwealth countries, the day is more commonly referred to as St Stephen's Day or the feast of Stephen as mentioned in the carol 'Good King Wenceslas'.
Did you know?
St. Stephen is the patron saint of Bricklayers
There are two Saints called Stephen. St. Stephen's Day on 26 December commemorates St. Stephen who was the first Christian Martyr.
Stephen was a Greek Jew who had converted to Christianity. He was appointed as one of seven deacons to help with organizing the early Christian church.
Due to his preaching about Christianity, he was accused of blasphemy and stood trial at a Jewish court in about 34 CE.
During the trial he made a long speech, saying that Christianity supported the teachings of Moses. This so enraged the crowd at the trial, that he was dragged away and stoned to death by an mob. It is said that the mob was encouraged on by Saul of Tarsus, who later became Saint Paul.
The other St. Stephen was St. Stephen of Hungary, who was the first king of Hungary and is noted for converting the Magyar people to Christianity.
The feast of St. Stephen is probably best known for its appearance in the famous Christmas Carol, Good King Wenceslas.
"Good King Wenceslas looked out On the feast of Stephen When the snow lay round about Deep and crisp and even"
Wenceslas was a King in Bohemia in the 10th century CE. Like Stephen, Wenceslas became a Saint after his death and like Stephen, even has his own public holiday.
The words to the carol were written by John Mason Neale in 1853. The music was originally from a song about spring, popular in the 14th century.