An After Christmas Carol

Did you know that there is a carol for the day after Christmas?

Good King Wenceslas - Traditional English Carol - St. Stephen's Day - Feast of Stephen - ChristmasFirst we have to look at what is special about the day after Christmas.

December 26th is St. Stephen’s Day in the Catholic church calendar of saints. If you are Eastern Orthodox then the date is either December 27th or January 9.

The day is a remembrance of the martyr Stephen who was stoned after his great sermon in Acts 7.

Jerusalem Damascus Gate - Stoning of Stephen - St. Stephen's Day - Gates of JerusalemThe picture above is of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. According to early tradition, it was outside this gate that Stephen was stoned to death. A later tradition gives the location as the Lion’s Gate, but there is little evidence to support this.

Are you starting to figure out which carol is for the day after Christmas?

Do you know of a carol which references the feast of Stephen?

Good King Wenceslas - Traditional English Carol - St. Stephen's Day - Feast of Stephen - Christmas

Good King Wenceslas looked out

on the feast of Stephen

when the snow lay round about,

deep and crisp and even;

Brightly shone the moon that night,

tho’ the frost was cruel,

when a poor man came in sight

gath’ring winter fuel.

Who was Good King Wenceslaus? During his life Wenceslaus was not a King, but was just a Duke. He was posthumously given the title of King by the Emperor Otto I. He lived from about 907 to 935 in Bohemia.

Wenceslaus was the Duke of Bohemia and was known for his good Christian deeds. He was known for going around barefoot giving alms, even in the snow in winter time.  This came at a time when Christianity was still contending with paganism as the official religion in Bohemia.

Wenceslaus was murdered by friends of his brother who was know as Boleslaus the Cruel. His brother then became Duke of Bohemia. There is some question as to whether he was murdered for his Christian beliefs, but he is considered a martyr and a Saint by the Catholic Church.

Did you sing the carol today?


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