Are you still feeling the Christmas spirit? If you are, then you’re thrilled about Boxing Day as well! Traditionally, Boxing Day is a big deal in the UK.
Whether you feel like sharing with the less fortunate or you’re in the mood for football cheer or you’re just into the early morning rush and queues outside stores, Boxing Day has it all! Still, on Boxing Day there’s no doubt the best thing to do is chill out! Let’s waste no more time and use a bit more rhyme to go through these interesting facts about Boxing Day…what do you say?
December 26th is a public holiday in the United Kingdom and other British Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand known as Boxing Day.
Boxing Day is not connected to fist fighting or trashing empty boxes leftover from Christmas or returning undesirable presents to department stores.
The Oxford English Dictionary traces the term Boxing Day in its earliest print ascription to 1833.
Four years later, Charles Dickens mentioned the term in “The Pickwick Papers.”
The true origin of the name Boxing Day is unknown.
There are two leading theories on the precise origin of the holiday name, both connected to charity traditionally distributed to lower classes on the day after Christmas.
One theory states that on the 26th of December, centuries ago lords of the manor usually distributed “Christmas boxes” stuffed with small gifts, money, and Christmas dinner leftovers to their household servants and employees, who were obligated to work on December 25, in gratitude for their good service all through the year.
These gift boxes were, in principle, holiday bonuses.
Another prevalent theory is that the Boxing Day name came from the donation boxes for the collection of monetary donations from parishioners, placed in churches during the Advent season.
The contents of the boxes were distributed to the poor by the Clergy members on the 26th of December, which is also the celebration of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, a character known for acts of charity.
Stephen is also the patron saint of horses, and therefore Boxing Day has come to be a day of sporting events, including horse races, fox-hunting, and rugby.
In 2005 the traditional fox-hunt was modified after the ratification of legislation in England and Wales that principally banned the use of hounds in hunts.
The Traditional Boxing Day Hunt
The Boxing Day name has endured, even though the practice of almsgiving on the 26th of December has faded away, with the charity now being given in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Nowadays, the 26th of December is a trendy holiday in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries for watching sports such as soccer and cricket, shopping and visiting friends.
If the 26th of December happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is chosen as the official public holiday.
Boxing Day wasn’t spread by the English living in the American colonies.
Boxing Day became an official holiday during the supremacy of Queen Victoria, though some historians trace its roots back to medieval times.
Boxing Day is recognized as a British bank holiday since 1871.
One of the U.K.’s busiest shopping days of the year is Boxing Day’s post-Christmas sales.
Boxing Day falls within the top 5 biggest shopping days of the year, but the popularity of online shopping has decreased the overall spending people do on the 26th of December.
In 1994, South Africa changed the name of Boxing Day.
They renamed Boxing Day into “Day of Goodwill”. This day in South Africa is dedicated to sharing with the less fortunate.
In some African and Caribbean countries, the sport of boxing is a part of Boxing Day. They celebrate the day with prize fighting events.
Boxing Day is known as “Saint Stevens Day” or “the feast of Saint Stephen” in Ireland. It’s one of 9 formal Irish public holidays.
This day is known as “Christmas II” or “Second Christmas Day” in other continental European countries.
Depending on the location, Boxing Day traditions vary. However they include shopping, giving money and gifts, and watching sporting events.
In 2004, a massive 9.3 magnitude earthquake created a tsunami around the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day. It resulted in the deaths of over 300,000 people. The worst affected country was Indonesia, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
In Boxing Day history it was remembered as the deadliest natural disaster.
Boxing Day is the most demanding shopping day of the year in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK. This day is even busier than Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The most popular online searches for shopping on Boxing Day in the UK are sale items.
Although Boxing Day is a British holiday, it’s not exclusive only to the UK.
Boxing Day is celebrated in many countries, especially ones under British influence, a tradition as a reminder of the days of British colonialism.
Some countries have different names for Boxing Day, but the USA doesn’t just have a different name for it, it has a completely different event on the 26th, the National Candy Cane Day!
On Boxing Day, in the United Kingdom, there is a full day of Premier League football. So it’s probably the best holiday for all football fans out there!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about Boxing Day that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!