Saint Stephen’s Day is a national public holiday every 26 December in Austria. In some other countries, this same day is called “Boxing Day”. But in Austria, this day is observed in memory of Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith.
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Stephen was a deacon in the Church of Jerusalem and was instrumental in distributing aid to needy widows, orphans, poor, and sick folk in the church. He also was a preacher and evangelist, full of the Holy Spirit and bold to speak up for Jesus. The Book of Acts, Chapter 7, in the Bible gives the full story in detail.
After rehearsing the history of Israel and the Biblical proof that Jesus is the Christ, Stephen was attacked by members of the Jewish Sanhedrin. They had Stephen stoned to death. But as he was about to die, he declared he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God’s Heavenly Throne, as if giving him “a standing ovation” for his dying testimony to Him.
In Austria, Saint Stephen’s Day is a time to go to church, shop at special street markets, or attend festive carnivals. Also, there are traditional, ceremonial horseback rides. Everything is still shut down, as it was on Christmas Day, except for these sorts of Saint Stephen’s Day venues.
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