What is Boxing Day? And Is It Celebrated Outside of the UK?
It’s a yearly routine — you flip your calendar to December and begin counting down the days until the holiday season. As you’re planning out Christmas decorations and holiday gift-shipping you make a mental note, “I really should figure out what exactly Boxing Day is…”
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But,But, if you’re like me, you probably haven’t looked any further into it (until now). It’s one of those holidays that goes under the radar in the United States, and it has vaguely British connotations for the average American. However many people are not quite sure how to celebrate, if they should celebrate, or what they’d even be celebrating. . It’s one of those holidays that goes under the radar in the United States, and it has vaguely British connotations for the average American. However many people are not quite sure how to celebrate, if they should celebrate, or what they’d even be celebrating.
This year, we’re giving you the blow-by-blow (pun intended) on what Boxing Day is and how it actually has absolutely nothing to do with boxing, the sport with padded gloves and a ring.
What is the History of Boxing Day?
Instead of sparring, Boxing Day came out of a tradition of giving. History weaves many tales, but one commonly accepted theory is that the name came from wealthy Brits filling their Christmas boxes, leftover from gift-giving, with money, food, and small gifts for the servants who worked through the holiday season, finally getting a day off on Dec. 26. According to History.com, these were seen as holiday bonuses for a job well done.
When is Boxing Day?
This year, Boxing Day is on Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. In fact, Boxing Day falls on Dec. 26 every year, the day after Christmas. In the United Kingdom and the commonwealth countries, it’s a nationwide holiday, and it’s observed on the following Monday in the case that it falls on a weekend.
Why is it Called Boxing Day?
The most widely accepted theory is that the name Boxing Day came from the boxes where the wealthy would collect gifts and money for their servants.
However, there is another story that the name Boxing Day came from the alms boxes that were used to collect donations throughout the Advent season. The holiday donations were given to those less fortunate on Dec. 26, the feast day of St. Stephen, an early saint known for his work with the poor, explains History.com.
Where is Boxing Day Celebrated?
Boxing Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom, as well as commonwealth countries, which were former British colonies, and the overseas territories. This includes Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
How is Boxing Day celebrated today?
Boxing Day still retains some of its original giving legacy, with many people collecting bonus boxes for delivery workers, newspaper workers, and others who perform essential services year round.
Now, Boxing Day is less about its original purpose and more a second day of celebration with family and friends. Many workers have the day off, and it becomes a day of indulging in Christmas leftovers and watching football. Fun fact: the BBC reports that prior to 1957, watching football on Christmas Day was a fan favorite, but, in that year, the last Christmas match was held, and, ever since, fans have gathered on Boxing Day to cheer on their team.
As with many holidays in the U.S., there are often sales associated with Boxing Day — they just aren’t always called that. But those big discounts you see the day after Christmas are just that, so keep your eyes peeled for some major deals on Dec. 26.