Do you know that some countries celebrate something called ‘Boxing Day’? But what is Boxing Day after Christmas? No! It is not what you think? Boxing day in the USA is celebrated the day after Christmas Day. It is usually celebrated on December 26, however the attached bank holiday might occur on the same day or one or two days later. But what countries celebrate boxing day? In this article we will discuss everything about the countries that celebrate Boxing Day and its origin.
Countries That Celebrate Boxing Day:
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
In some parts of Europe such as Germany, Hungary, Romania, Catalonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia, December 26 is celebrated as ‘Second Christmas Day.
What Is Boxing Day?
This was celebrated during the rich Victorian times in order to offer poor the items that they no longer use. Why is it called boxing day? The process of boxing up things to give the poor takes place on this day and this is why it was named ‘boxing day’. It is considered a holiday in several places, and when December 26 falls on Saturday or Sunday, it would be postponed to the next working day.
What Was the Boxing Day Called in South Australia?
- A. Proclamation Day
- B. Unboxing Day
- C. Second Christmas Day
- D. None
Origin & History
Boxing Day Origin: On this special day, servants who work hard would be given a day off and special gift boxes as an act of thanking them. Later, the servants and poor would go home and celebrate the day with their family and friends by unboxing the presents they received.
The history of this tradition is still unclear but many people say that the Boxing day began in churches in the Middle Ages. The parishioners would collect money to help the poor and needy. It was claimed that this was done to honor the first Christmas martyr, St Stephen as his feast day fell on December 26. In non-commonwealth countries, this day is more commonly referred to as St Stephen’s day. This is the day when the Carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ is set. It was written in 1853 and reflects about the rich king helping the poor.
There is another tradition followed widely during the Victorian times. Outside the churches boxes are kept to collect money in order to help those who are in need.
On this day, people would usually spend time with their friends and family, eating the leftovers of the previous day especially the turkey sandwiches, and by watching the Christmas films.
People would also play sports such as horse riding, football, and fox hunting. However, it was later banned in 2004. Before that it was a famous pastime for the wealthy.
On this special day, many fund raising programs such as swimming competitions and marathons are also held. The money would directly go to those who are in need.
Before World War 2, working individuals such as milkmen and butchers collected their gifts while traveling around. But now this tradition is not followed widely as most gifts offered on this day to workers are not specifically given on this day.
In South Australia, Boxing day was known as Proclamation day. It has been a bank holiday in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland since 1871. In Germany, the day is called ‘Zweite Feiertag’ which means second celebration.
Nowadays, the day has become commercialized. Many shops and online stores started offering exclusive discounts so that the poor can benefit. But now people irrespective of their wealth started to avail these discounts for themselves. And the retailers also use this opportunity to increase their sales.