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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.

Image of the stoning of St Stephen
St Stephen was killed on grounds of his Christian faith.
©iStockphoto.com/ivan-96

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

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday TypeWhere It is Observed
FriDec 262014St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
SatDec 262015St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
MonDec 262016St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB, MU
TueDec 262017St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
WedDec 262018St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
ThuDec 262019St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB
SatDec 262020St Stephen's DayLocal holidayB, CT, IB

Quick Facts

The Feast of St Stephen is a holiday to commemorate the life and death of an early Christian saint.

St Stephen's Day 2018

Wednesday, December 26, 2018 (local in Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Catalonia)

St Stephen's Day 2019

Thursday, December 26, 2019 (local in Balearic Islands, Barcelona, Catalonia)

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Name in other languages

NameLanguage
San EstebanSpanish
St Stephen's DayEnglish
San EstebanGerman

Alternative names

NameLanguage
lunes siguiente a la Natividad del SeñorSpanish
Second Day of ChristmasEnglish
Zweiter WeihnachtsfeiertagGerman

List of dates for other years

Other holidays in December 2018 in Spain

Fun Holiday on December 26, 2018

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