Why is Boxing Day called Boxing Day? Where does Boxing Day get its name, British traditions and events
Boxing Day is known for its cold turkey sandwiches, long walks, pub tours, sales and football games, which is why it is called Boxing Day.
The holiday season can be a busy time.
With a long period until Christmas Day, Boxing Day is often the second of December 25th activities.
Still, with so much to do – from sales to soccer games – there is plenty to do as many emerge from their Christmas cocoons.
But why is Boxing Day called that? Let’s find out…
Why is Boxing Day called Boxing Day?
Despite the name, there is nothing to do with the sport of punching, repackaging gifts, or even storing all your valuables in boxes ready for a big move.
Instead, its name derives from charitable acts of the Victorian era.
Traditionally Boxing Day was a day off for servants who often received a special feast box from their masters in recognition of their loyal service.
After performing their duties on Christmas Day, the servants would return home to see their families with boxes of gifts, sometimes money and leftover food from their masters.
The theory has stood the test of time thanks, in large part, to Charles Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.
This employer-to-employee gesture can still be considered continuous, with some employers currently distributing Christmas bonuses to their staff.
Another reason why Boxing Day is so called?
Another theory comes from churches that collect charitable donations – often money – from parishioners during the Advent season and store them in alms boxes.
The boxes would then be opened by the clergy on Christmas and the contents distributed to the less fortunate the next day, Boxing Day.
The sentiment remains to this day, with many churches circulating a box for people to donate envelopes of money to charitable causes during the holiday season.
Is there a religious link with Boxing Day?
The day, like Christmas, has religious links and is the celebration of Saint Stephen who was the first Christian martyr known for his acts of charity.
Ireland and the region of Catalonia in Spain celebrate Boxing Day as St. Stephen’s Day and is a big part of a season that promotes the act of giving and selfless acts.
Countries like Germany, Poland and Hungary take it a step further and celebrate December 26 as a second Christmas day.
Across the UK, Boxing Day remains a special time of year for so many people who make the effort to see their friends and loved ones during the holiday season.
What are the Boxing Day traditions?
Traditions may vary from household to household, but much of it revolves around time spent with those closest to you, in person or via video calls.
Traditional Boxing Day football is expected to continue, with the hope that some spectators will be allowed onto the pitch, as well as the ability to watch on TV.
Australia, a cricket-loving nation, celebrates by hosting an annual match between its national team and a touring team at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, known as the Boxing Day Test.
In 2021, no less than 80,000 people are expected to take the Ashes Test between Australia and England.
Others opt for a dash to find a bargain in Boxing Day sales. Scenes from previous years have seen queues outside the doors of UK retailers and malls.
When is Boxing Day 2021?
Boxing Day, December 26, falls on a Sunday this year, which means the following Monday and Tuesday (December 27 and 28) are statutory holidays.
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