We hope you are enjoying this festive season so far. It’s now December 26 th, also known as Boxing Day in the UK. But what exactly does Boxing Day mean? And where did it come from? This blog post will cover all the basics and some typical UK traditions.
What is Boxing Day?
It is a national holiday that is celebrated in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and other commonwealth nations.
Boxing Day is a public holiday for those who celebrate it. Boxing Day will be recognized as a holiday if it falls on a weekend, as in 2020. This means that employees will be given the day off and most workplaces will close.
A similar holiday is also celebrated in some European countries, such as Germany. They have “Zweite Feiertag”, which means “second celebration”.
How did Boxing Day get its name?
Contrary to popular belief, it does not involve the sport. However, Boxing Day’s true origin isn’t known. Several theories claim to explain the meaning. These are the two most popular theories.
Time off for Servers
It was said that during the Victorian age, when servants had spent Christmas Day at the homes of their aristocratic employers, they were given boxing day to enjoy the day with their families.
They would receive a Christmas box containing some leftover food, small gifts, and a bonus as a thank-you for all their hard work.
Christian Church Collections
Another popular theory is that Victorian charity was a form of charity. The idea is that churches would place a donation box outside of their church to collect money for people in need or those generally less fortunate.
In Christianity, December 26 the 26 is also a date that links to St. Stephen. This date was where the church donated money to the poorer members of society.
Boxing Day Traditions in Britain
Boxing Day in the UK means that we spend time with our loved ones (especially those who aren’t here on Christmas Day), and we eat the leftover turkey.
It has become more associated with shopping, and a lot of it! Boxing Day Sales is a well-known expression in the United States. It refers to retailers who heavily discount their stock for the new year.
A traditional UK Boxing Day is not complete without television. This is the season when Christmas Specials are displayed on our TV sets. These specials include reruns of old tv favorites, classic Christmas movies, and dramatic soap opera episodes. You can also enjoy sports like horse racing, rugby league, and football throughout the day.
Another tradition, which is now obsolete, was fox hunting. It was banned in the UK after the Hunting Act 2004 was passed.
Boxing Day is all about family
Boxing Day can be confusing if you are new to the UK. We recommend that you spend the day with loved ones, if possible, and enjoy the cold winter days by taking a walk or settling down in front of the TV with tasty treats.