Every year, on the day after Christmas, or December 26, various nations around the world—typically those that were colonized by the British Commonwealth—celebrate Boxing Day. Boxing Day is thought to have started because wealthy families’ servants typically had to report to work on Christmas Day. At the conclusion of Christmas Day, gift boxes were typically given to them as thanks for their assistance, and the following day was free for them to spend with their own families. Another explanation for the origin of Boxing Day is that on December 26, churches opened donation boxes and gave the contents to the less fortunate. The church celebrates St. Stephen’s Day on December 26.
Interesting facts about Boxing Day:
Boxing Day is “the first weekday after Christmas-day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
In Britain, Boxing Day presents were frequently given to domestic helpers along with leftovers from the family’s Christmas feast.
Wren hunting used to be a well-liked Boxing Day activity in England. Any other day was considered unlucky for killing wrens.
It was common practice during the Age of Exploration to put a Christmas box on ships. The sailors’ good luck offering of money was later given to a priest. On Boxing Day, the priest would open the box and give the money to the needy.
The United Kingdom, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Guyana, South Africa, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a few U.S. states all observe Boxing Day.
Boxing Day is observed as a public holiday in the following US states: Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Kansas.
Some people have used Boxing Day as a day to exchange or return unwanted Christmas presents to the retailer.
Since 1871, Boxing Day has been a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Whit Monday, and the last Monday in August are additional holidays on which British banks are closed.
The Christian Church celebrates St. Stephen’s Day on December 26. This day honors St. Stephen for his contributions to the church, particularly his work with widows and the poor. An angry mob eventually stoned him to death. As he was being stoned to death, he begged God not to punish his murderers.
Boxing Day in South Africa was renamed the Day of Goodwill in 1994.
Some people celebrate by collecting gifts to donate to the world’s and their own country’s poor.
Similar to Black Friday, Boxing Day has become a huge shopping day in some nations with significant discounts and sales. Boxing Day is a recognized holiday in a few Canadian provinces.
On Boxing Day in the United Kingdom, there is a full day of Premier League soccer (football in North America).
Popular Boxing Day sporting events include rugby, hockey, and even horseracing.