Photo by smerikal
St. Stephen is known as the first Christian martyr and the patron saint of horses. In northern countries the December 26th has been celebrated as the day of horses and horsemen. In Finland it was a custom of men to feast in the stable, to gain good luck with horses for the next year. The feast honoured Talli-Tapani (“Stable-Stephen”), the lord of horses. This is how St. Stefanos was fit to Finnish folk culture. A crucial part of the Tapani celebration was to have a leisure drive with the horses, which often included racing through the village. This served also as an opportunity to visit the relatives and neighbours.
Nowadays the Tapani celebration is not as big as it used to, but the horse people still honour their horses this day (even more than usual) and it is still common to go for a Tapani drive (with a sleigh if possible) or ride, and of course, if possible, with a flaxen-mained finnhorse at best.
Saint Stephen (en.wikipedia.org)