St. Stephen's Day in Ireland in 2024

St. Stephen's Day in Ireland in 2024
Grafton Street as seen in the reflection of the Christmas Light. Image via Failte Ireland
  How long until St. Stephen's Day?
St. Stephen's Day
  Dates of St. Stephen's Day in Ireland
2025 Ireland Fri, Dec 26 Public Holiday
2024 Ireland Thu, Dec 26 Public Holiday
2023 Ireland Tue, Dec 26 Public Holiday
2022 Ireland Mon, Dec 26 Public Holiday
2021 Ireland Sun, Dec 26 Public Holiday

The second day of Christmas is known as Boxing Day or St. Stephens Day. St Stephen was the first Christian martyr.

  Local name
Lá Fhéile Stiofáin
  St. Stephen's Day in other countries
St. Stephen's Day internationally
Related holidays

St. Stephen's Day in Ireland

In Ireland, December 26 may also be called Wren Day.

The name comes from a tradition on St. Stephen's Day when 'Wren Boys' would parade the body of a small bird from house to house. Dressed in disguise, they sang their song looking for money to 'bury the Wren'. They would sing 'Up with the kettle and down with the pan: Give us some money to bury the wren.' Nowadays the parades still take place, but the Wren has been replaced with a fake bird.

When is St. Stephen's Day?

Saint Stephen's Day, December 26th is the Feast of St. Stephen in Western Christianity. It is observed as the second day of the Christmas holidays (Christmastide) in several countries.

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'.

History of St. Stephen's Day

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. He is also the patron saint of horses, which might explain why there is so much horseracing the UK and Ireland on December 26th.

There are two Saints called Stephen. St. Stephen's Day on December 26th 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 a mob. It is said that the mob was encouraged on by Saul of Tarsus, who later became Saint Paul.

In depictions of the saint, Stephen carries a martyr's palm in one hand and a stone in the other.

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.

Good King Wenceslas

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.

More information about Public Holiday Pay in Ireland

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