December is for many the best month of the year, do you agree? The Holy Christmas and the New Year give life to a magical atmosphere that is exciting for big and small alike.
But besides these two important holidays, there is another very special one: the day of Saint Stephen, which is celebrated on December 26 in Italy.
Have you ever wondered why this holiday is so important and heartfelt in the country? Well, I want to tell you that this day is dedicated to a holy martyr whose origins are still unknown today.
But I will tell you more, the name Stefano derives from Greek and means Coronato and belongs to a young man from the first Christian community.
You’ll also like to know that on this holiday there are so many things scheduled in Italy that make it even more exciting!
From North to South this year many events will be organized, all to be enjoyed with the family and close friends, starting with a visit to the wonderful Christmas markets.
Are you curious to discover other ideas on where to spend St. Stephen’s day? Then you just have to continue reading!
Why do we celebrate Saint Stephen’s day in Italy: history and traditions
Among the Italian holidays, Saint Stephen’s day is certainly up there with the most important ones. In fact it is celebrated the day after Christmas for the joy of all those who can still long for a little ‘relaxation with their loved ones.
In Italy this day is celebrated by the Church because it represents a real dogma, but there is something else.
Did you know that December 26 was proclaimed a national holiday only in 1949 and for the purpose of prolonging the Christmas holidays?
And that’s not all, since this Saint was recognized as the first martyr of Christendom, it was decided to celebrate him immediately after Christmas to place him next to Jesus in the calendar.
In this way it was decided to create a temporal continuity, celebrating the first saint who fought and died for the Christian faith after the birth of Christ.
This all-Italian holiday, however, is also accompanied by many Italian traditions, first of all the preparation of typical dishes of this time of year to be enjoyed in cheer with friends and relatives.
I am sure that you also love spending the day playing bingo, cards or organizing many fun games in which to involve the rest of the party, right?
What to do on Saint Stephen’s day in Italy
I want to give you some nice suggestions on what to do in Italy to spend Saint Stephen’s in the best way.
An idea that will surely please your children is to visit the legendary Santa Claus House! Did you know that many have been set up this year in different Italian cities and towns?
I’ll tell you some of them:
- At Riva del Garda in the province of Trento
- At Govone in the province of Cuneo
- In Rapallo in the province of Genoa
- In Montecatini Terme in the province of Pistoia.
And why not enjoy a relaxing stroll through the glittering lights of the Christmas markets? I’m talking about one of the most popular attractions of this time of year, able to entertain everyone!
The market of Bolzano is one of the most evocative that is organized in Italy, in fact it is also cited as one of the most beautiful.
But the markets set up in Trento, Verona, Milan and Rome are not far behind, believe me!
In short, on Saint Stephen’s Day you will not have time to get bored, while remaining warm in your beautiful lit up home.