St. Stephen’s Day

St. Stephen’s Day

The day after Christmas–St. Stephen’s Day–has been a national holiday in Italy since 1947. A deacon of the early church of Jerusalem, St. Stephen is believed to have been the first Christian martyr having died around 33 AD.  His relics are preserved at the Church of St. Stephen in Jerusalem.

Many businesses and organizations are closed including banks, post offices, government offices and schools. The nativity is a symbol of St. Stephen and Italians tend to celebrate by visiting the city’s various nativity scenes. If you’re in Rome, there are many wondrous presepi to be found and we suggest checking out those at the following churches: Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Maria  in Aracoeli, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Church of Saints Casma and Damiano.

If you know anyone named Stephen or Stefano or some other derivative of Stephen, be sure to wish them a happy namesake day or buon onamastico, as we say in Italy!

 

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