Saturday, December 26, 2009

Saint Stephen's Day

December 26th is Saint Stephen's Day (the 2nd day of Christmas) here.

It commemorates Sv. Štěpán - the first Christian martyr. He was the first to exclaim Christ as the Messiah and, as a result, was stoned to death.

St. Stephen's Day is celebrated as Boxing Day in the UK and Canada.

Today's the day when children, students, teachers, and the poor would go around to people's homes singing Christmas carols. The caroling would last until January 6th, the Feast of the Three Kings, which is the end of the Christmas season. That's when the Christmas trees and decorations are taken down until the following year.

Nowadays, families relax at home or visit friends and relatives.

The popular Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas" is about a king who goes out to give alms to the poor on St. Stephen's Day. The legend is based on St. Václav I.  Here's a video I found of the carol on YouTube.

The city has been kind of a ghost town the last couple of days. Everything, including grocery stores, has been closed. On the 24th, Inter-Spar was the only market open. Today, most everything is still closed but you could start to see some people out on the streets. Inter-Spar and Billa were the only markets open today.

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