Boxing Day has traditionally been a big deal in the UK. The early morning rush and queues outside stores, the big sales, the buzz, it’s all quite infectious, and fun even. But how much do you actually know about Boxing Day? If your answer is not much, you’re in luck, because that’s what today’s article is all about.
Read on to learn 10 interesting facts about Boxing Day.
Boxing Day Facts
- Public holiday: The date of Boxing Day is the day after Christmas day, the 26th of December. In the UK at least, it is a public holiday, which means offices are closed, and people get a day off work. If the 26th happens to fall on a weekend, the holiday gets moved to the following Monday. Boxing Day became an official public holiday during the time of Queen Victoria.
- 1871: Boxing Day became recognised as an official public holiday (or bank holiday as they’re called in the UK) in 1871.
- Why it is called Boxing Day: If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of the name, you’re not the only one. We had been wondering about that too, so we did some research. Turns out, there’s actually no official reason why Boxing Day is called that! There is a theory though, that the name came from an old church tradition of opening donation boxes the day after Christmas and distributing the money to the poor and the needy. Still doesn’t quite explain the logic of boxing… Guess this one will have to stay a mystery.
- Not just a British tradition: Yes, Boxing Day is a British bank holiday, but it is not exclusive to the UK. In fact, it is celebrated in lots of other countries, very likely because of British influence, a tradition remnant from the days of British colonialism. Here are some more countries that celebrate Boxing Day (apart from the UK, obviously) – Germany, Canada, Greenland, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Australia, Austria, New Zealand, Kenya, Sweden, Norway, Kenya, Switzerland, and Romania.
- Different names: Not only is Boxing Day celebrated in other parts of the world, some countries actually have different names for it. For instance, it’s called the “Day of Goodwill” in South Africa, whereas it is “St. Steven’s Day” in Ireland, and “Second Christmas Day” in some parts of Europe.
- Traditions: In the UK and most other countries that celebrate this day, the traditions revolve around shopping mainly (due to the huge discounts that are usually part of the day), and sometimes also around watching sports events (Boxing Day is typically the biggest day for sporting events in the UK). Then, there are also traditions regarding giving gifts and money to the needy and poor.
- Biggest shopping day?: Boxing Day has historically been the biggest “sale day” in the UK, with deep discounts and great deals offered by retailers and high street shops. It is no longer the biggest shopping day of the year though, largely due to other shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and online shopping deals. It still is one of the five largest shopping days of the year though.
- Tsunami: Did you know that during one Boxing Day over 300,000 people died? This unfortunate event was the result of a tsunami caused by a massive earthquake in the Indian Ocean, in 2004.
- Candy Cane Day: Remember what you learned earlier about some countries having different names for Boxing Day? Well, in the USA they don’t just have a different name for it, they actually have a completely different event – it’s National Candy Cane day there on the 26th!
- Zero boxing?: As you learned right at the beginning, the origins of Boxing Day’s name is unknown. But is there a possibility that it had something to do with the sport of boxing? Turns out, no, not as far as the records go anyway. There has never been any relationship with the sport of boxing and Boxing Day in the UK. The only sport that Boxing Day was known for traditionally was fox hunting – that’s been legally banned so it is an extinct tradition now, thankfully. Not all traditions are good… All that said, the sport of boxing is a part of Boxing Day in some African and Caribbean countries, where they celebrate the day with prizefighting events.
What are your thoughts on these Boxing Day facts? Do you have any suggestions, or any facts of your own to share?
Share your thoughts, ideas, and facts about Boxing Day in the comments section below.
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