Monday december 25, 2023
Catholic or protestant : Since pre-historic times in Europe, festivities (bonfires, offrerings) were marking the beginning of longer hours of daylight with fires and ritual. The Roman festival of Saturnalia lasted several days in December (gambling and offerings). Germanic tribes also celebrated mid-winter (drinking and rituals). The Bulgarian (with Koleduvane) and the Polish (with Gwiazdka) perpetuate this tradition. Jesus of Nazareth was probably born in springtime (Reformists favour autumn). But in the 4th century, December 25th was chosen for the celebration of his birth by Pope Julius I (Bishop Liberus is also mentioned in 354 A.D.). Thus, a Christian element was introduced in the long-established mid-winter festivals. Before 1582, the Papal States and other Italian city states celebrated New Years Day on Christmas Day.
St Stephen's Day
Tuesday december 26, 2023
Catholic or protestant : Remembrance of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr.