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St Stephen's Day in Spain

St Stephen's Day, known as San Esteban or Sant Esteve in Spanish, is an annual public holiday in three Spanish communities on the day after Christmas. It remembers the first known Christian martyr.

Is St Stephen's Day a Public Holiday?

St Stephen's Day is a public holiday in Catalonia, where it is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

St Stephen was killed on grounds of his Christian faith.

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Stoned to Death

The day honors Saint Stephen, sometimes spelled Stephan, who was a deacon in the early Christian Church. He's best known as the first saint to die for his beliefs, at around 33 or 34 CE. The Jewish authorities arrested him for blasphemy against Moses and God. He then made a speech denouncing them at his trial and was stoned to death afterwards. St Paul witnessed his martyrdom before converting to Christianity.

Holiday for Some Communities

St Stephen's Day is a day off for workers in Barcelona, the Balearic Islands, and Catalonia. It's common for friends and family to join in on a meal to celebrate the day. Typical meals for the feast include a Canelloni pasta dish, leftovers from Christmas Day, or a pasta and meat meal called Escudella i carn d’olla. Escudella is served in two parts: pasta soup first, and then the meat and vegetables on a serving dish.

Most churches throughout Spain have special services dedicated to the saint or mention him in their sermons on or around December 26.

What's Open or Closed?

Government offices, schools, and most businesses are closed in the three communities where the day is a holiday. Public transport schedules may change so it's best to check with the local transport authorities if you're travelling to Barcelona, the Balearic Islands, or Catalonia. It's generally business as usual for the rest of Spain.

St Stephen's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2014FriDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
2015SatDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
2016MonDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB, MU
2017TueDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
2018WedDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayCatalonia
2019ThuDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayBalearic Islands, Catalonia
2020SatDec 26St Stephen's DayLocal holidayBalearic Islands, Catalonia

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