And don’t try to impress me by telling me that you knew it was St. Stephen’s Day.
I will admit that as an American who loves late night television, I assumed St. Stephen’s Day celebrated the career of Stephen Colbert, the host of The Late Show.
From what I know of Colbert, he would totally name a holiday after himself, get the Pope to sign off on it, and then schedule it right after Christmas so he could catch people when they were in a truly festive mood.
Alas, this holiday has nothing to do with Stephen Colbert.
And no, fellow Mainers, it is not a day in honor of Stephen King.
Who was St. Stephen? Why does he have a holiday? Is there an animated special I can watch to learn the basic plot points of St. Stephen’s Day?
One of the many blessings of having a Sweet Irish Girlfriend, Modern Philosophers, is that I get to learn all sorts of amazing things about life in Ireland and Irish culture.
Plus, I can listen to her adorable accent all the time.
Let me interject here that my girlfriend is a saint. No one else would be able to put up with me like she does, and she should be canonized simply for enduring my Scrooge/Grinch hybrid of a personality on Christmas.
Perhaps if she ever decided to reveal her name, My Sweet Irish Girlfriend could one day have a holiday named in her honor.
St. Stephen’s Day is a big time holiday in Ireland. According to my Sweetheart, people eat and drink in large quantities to celebrate. That led to my Tweeting the following…
I asked her who St. Stephen was, and what he did to make him so popular in Ireland that his day is a national holiday.
Her reply caught me off guard.
She didn’t know.
My guess is that she once knew, but all those years of drinking and eating to excess to celebrate St. Stephen’s Day made her forget.
I had to know who St. Stephen was and why his day caused the Irish to party.
So I put my interns to work researching the matter!
According to the interwebs, St. Stephen was the first Catholic martyr. For some reason, the Irish celebrate his life by dressing up as freakish looking scarecrows, and kids go door to door with dead wrens, selling the feathers for good luck.
No wonder the Irish ply themselves with food and drink on St. Stephen’s Day. They need to forget the horrors that they see every December 26th!
It sounds much more promising than Boxing Day, which I tried to celebrate two years ago. I ended up going 5-1 in my boxing matches that day, but since I lost the last match of Boxing Day by a controversial split decision, I vowed to never celebrate the holiday again.
Let’s see how St. Stephen’s Day goes. I’m not sure where to find a wren at the last minute, but I have some hay and straw in the garage from the time I reseeded my front lawn. I should be able to whip up a freaky scarecrow costume pretty quickly.
Happy St. Stephen’s Day. I’ll be sure to let you know how my celebration goes!
If you want to buy a lucky wren feather, just let me know in the comments section…