What is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is celebrated after Christmas day on December 26th. But it is only celebrated in a few countries about historically connection to the UK such as Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand and in some other European countries. In Germany it is known as "Zweite Feiertag” which means 'second celebration, which translates as Boxing Day although it doesn’t literally mean that.
Something special about boxing day
800 years ago, it was started in the UK first. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day. It might have been the Romans that first brought this type of collecting box to the UK, but they used them to collect money for the betting games which they played during their winter celebrations.
- In The Netherlands, some collection boxes were made out of a rough pottery called 'earthenware' and were shaped like pigs. Perhaps this is where we get the term 'Piggy Bank'.
- Boxing Day has now become another public holiday in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is also the traditional day that Pantomimes started to play.
- There are also often sports played on Boxing Day in the UK, especially horse racing and football matches! It's also when shops traditionally had big sales after Christmas in the UK like Black Friday in the USA.
Boxing day history
The 26th December is also St. Stephen's Day. Just to confuse things, there are two St. Stephens in history. The first St. Stephen is believed to have been a very early follower of Jesus and he is said to have been the first Christian Martyr a person who dies for their religious beliefs. The second St. Stephen was a Missionary, in Sweden, in the 80s. He loved all animals but particularly horses perhaps why there is traditionally horse racing on Boxing Day.
Some facts on boxing day
Boxing Day isn’t some prank to confuse America. It’s a real holiday in the United Kingdom and other European countries that dates back to the days of Queen Victoria. Here are some facts to get you up to speed.
- It occurs on December 26
- No one really knows where the name originated
- It’s a big day for shopping
- There is no boxing involved
- Some other countries do take the name more literally
- In Ireland it’s known as Wren Day