St. Stephen's Day and Boxing Day Date in the current year: December 26, 2016

St. Stephen's Day and Boxing Day December 26 is St. Stephen's Day, a religious holiday celebrated by the Western Christians. It is also known as Boxing Day in number of countries that celebrate it instead of or as well as St. Stephen's Day.

Saint Stephen was a deacon in the church at Jerusalem. He had many enemies in various synagogues due to his teachings. He was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death. Western Christianity has two feasts that commemorate the martyr, on August 3, when St. Stephen's relics were invented, and on December 26.

St. Stephen's Day is a public holiday in many countries. Dressing up in old clothes and straw hats and traveling from door to door with fake wrens is traditional to Ireland, where the holiday is sometimes referred to as Wren Day. Finnish tradition of the sleigh ride with horses is the best known.

December 26 is known as Boxing Day in Great Britain, Canada, Commonwealth Nations, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands. The exact origin of Boxing Day is unclear, several theories compete and none of them are definitive.

In Great Britain and Commonwealth Nations every Boxing Day that falls on Sunday is moved to December 27. And if Boxing Day falls on Saturday, an additional day off is given on the following Monday.

In some countries, the holiday has another name. For example, in the Solomon Islands, December 26 is celebrated as National Day of Thanksgiving. In South Africa and Namibia it is known as Day of Goodwill. Citizens of Vanuatu celebrated it as Family Day, and in Bulgaria it is observed as Father's Day.

In the Bahamas, Boxing Day is marked with Junkaloo, a colorful street parade with music, dance, and costumes. A similar parade is also held on January 1, New Year's Day.

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