Why is it Called Boxing Day ?


Boxing Day, a holiday observed in the UK on December 26th, immediately following Christmas Day, raises the question: Why is it named Boxing Day, and what are its historical roots?

Why is it Called Boxing Day ?

Contrary to its shared name with the sport, Boxing Day has no connection to boxing. Its origin traces back to Queen Victoria's reign. In the Victorian era, the affluent would package and distribute unneeded items to the less fortunate. This day served as a break for servants, who were appreciated for their hard work with a 'special box' of treats. Subsequently, they would spend the 26th with their families, sharing the received gifts.

The national holiday is also linked to a maritime tradition. Departing ships carried a sealed box with money for good luck. If the voyage succeeded, the box was given to a priest, opened on Christmas, and distributed to the poor.

Boxing Day is a bank holiday in the UK. If it falls on a weekend, the following Monday is the official public holiday. This year, Boxing Day falls on a Tuesday.

When was the concept of Boxing Day introduced?

Many believe Boxing Day began in medieval churches, collecting money for the poor, honoring St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Another Victorian tradition involved churches placing a collection box outside for donations to help the impoverished.

In which nations is Boxing Day celebrated?

Primarily in countries with strong UK ties like Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and some European nations. Hungary, Poland, and the Netherlands celebrate Boxing Day as a second Christmas Day. In Germany, it is known as 'Zweiter Feiertag' or 'Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag.'

How is Boxing Day typically observed by people?

Over the years, Boxing Day has transformed into a holiday for spending time with family and friends. People enjoy leftovers, watch Christmas movies, and extend festivities. Some join extended family celebrations if they missed Christmas on the 25th. Boxing Day is also associated with sports like horse racing and football. Charitable activities, such as icy water swims and fun runs, are common on this day.

How has the observance of Boxing Day transformed over time?

Over the years, Boxing Day has become more commercialized. Beyond leftover indulgence, it's a day for exploring sales and bargains, both in physical stores and online. Retailers often start offering discounts as early as Christmas Eve or even the 23rd of December."

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