Boxing Day is traditionally the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts from their bosses or employers, known as a "Christmas box". Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December. It is observed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Malta and some other Commonwealth nations. In Australia, Boxing Day is a federal public holiday.
In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed to Day of Goodwill in 1994. In Ireland, the day is known as St. Stephen's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Stiofáin) or the Day of the Wren (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín). In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.
The exact etymology of the term "boxing day" is unclear. There are several competing theories, none of which is definitive. The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It is believed to be in reference to the Alms Box placed in places of worship in order to collect donations to the poor. In ancient, pre-Christian Rome, Saturnalia was a Roman celebration during which slave owners would switch roles with their slaves. Gift giving was a part of Saturnalia and benevolence to slaves was a practice which may have influenced the later December tradition of boxing and presenting of gifts to people of lesser status. Also, it may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.
Boxing day and Christmas Box
When is Boxing Day? In Britain, Boxing Day is usually celebrated on the following day after Christmas Day, which is 26 December. However, strictly speaking, Boxing Day is the first weekday after Christmas (see definition in the Oxford English Dictionary).
Like Christmas Day, Boxing Day is a public holiday. This means it is typically a non working day in the whole of Britain. When Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday the following Monday is the public holiday.
Why is 26 December called Boxing Day? Traditionally, 26 December was the day to open the Christmas Box to share the contents with the poor.
What is a Christmas Box? The Christmas box was a wooden or clay container where people placed gifts
What is Boxing Day? Why is it Called Boxing Day
What is Boxing Day? How many times am I asked - what is Boxing Day, or, why is it called Boxing Day? Arguments come thick and fast as to why and I hope, like me, you find the answers below interesting. But first off I must say; it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. It starts of course with our greed here in Britain and Ireland for a longer holiday; it’s not enough for us to have Christmas Day celebrations we have added on another day called Boxing Day. The day is a national holiday and one to spend with family and friends and eating up the leftovers. Its origins however, are steeped in history and tradition.
Why is it Called Boxing Day? Arguments abound on the origins of the name Boxing Day, all of the answers here are relevant, so maybe it is all of them.
- A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.
- Boxing Day was a day off for servants and when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
- A box to collect money for the poor was placed in Churches on Christmas day then opened the next day.
- Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck.If the voyage were a success the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor.