It took me years before I realized Boxing Day is not a day for boxers or a bout as the name implies. I actually thought boxing day was a day where people voluntarily stage a bout, with gloves and punches been thrown here and there. I keep wondering how some people came about this name, but now, I am older, I know what boxing day actually meant and I had this strong conviction that everyone of my age would also know. Not until I asked a friend of mine what Boxing Day is and he looked up to me and said with a confused look, “it’s a public holiday……..December 26th……that’s all”
WHAT IS BOXING DAY?
Boxing Day is a bank holiday that generally takes place every 26th of December. It is observed by Commonwealth Nations, United Kingdom, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Nigeria and other former British colonies.
ORIGIN AND WHY THE NAME ‘BOXING DAY’
The traditional celebration of Boxing Day included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, needy individuals, and people in service jobs. The holiday may date from the Middle Ages (A.D. 400’s–1500’s), but the exact origin is unknown.
There has been various theories about the Origin of the name “Boxing Day”:
- A day servants, Post-men and errand-boys receive a ‘Christmas Box’ (In Britain, a Christmas box is a name for a Christmas present) from their masters. They would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
- An Alms Box placed in areas of worship to collect donations to the poor.
- 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.
And there is also one popular reason (what I heard people say)
- You will be too pre-occupied on Christmas day to unwrap your Christmas gift, so you have to wait till the next day (Boxing Day) to open your Christmas box.
FACTS ABOUT BOXING DAY
- December 26 is also St. Stephen’s day, a religious holiday.
- In UK, If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is given as a substitute bank holiday. On the occasion when Christmas Day is on a Saturday and 26 December on a Sunday, the following Monday, 27 December, is the substitute bank holiday for Boxing Day and Tuesday, 28 December, the substitute bank holiday for Christmas Day.
- In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994.
- In Ireland, December 26 is known as both St. Stephen’s Day and the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day.
- In the UK, Canada, Australia, and New
Zealand, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the United States.
- In the United Kingdom, it is traditional for the Premier League (England), Scottish Premiership (Scotland) and NIFL Premiership (Northern Ireland), as well as the lower divisions and rugby leagues, to hold a full programme of football and rugby union matches on Boxing Day.