English Boxer by Pexels

In Britain, Canada, Australia, Kenya, and a multitude of countries within the British Commonwealth, the day after December 26th is known as Boxing Day. But what is Boxing Day, exactly, and what does it have to do with boxing? Here are six (6) things to know about this holiday.

  1. Boxing Day holiday is rooted in a Catholic tradition that advocates charity for the poor, or alms giving around Christmas time.
  2. No one knows exactly why it’s called “Boxing Day” but one theory suggests that it comes from the tradition of the wealthy giving workers and servants a “Christmas Boxusually filled with gifts and money as a reward for a year’s hard work.  Another theory is that Church collection boxes were opened and distributed to the poor.
  3. In Ireland, Boxing Day is referred to as “Wren Day”  which honors a tradition in which poor children would hunt a wren and sell the feathers to neighbors for good luck. (These days, a fake wren is used!). Foxhunting used to also be a tradition on Boxing Day.
  4. England and Wales have both recognized December 26th as a national holiday since 1871.Scotland, though, didn’t recognize it until 1974.
  5. Throughout some places in Ireland, it is referred to as St. Stephen’s Day, modern observers typically use the holiday to shop, relax and spend time with family.
  6. Some places that are former British colonies actually celebrate the holiday with prizefighting events such as areas within Africa and the Caribbean.


Sharon Schweitzer and A.Hannah Alvarado co-wrote this post. Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, attorney, modern manners expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, and Fortune. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide (Wiley 2015), now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards and the 2017 New York City Big Book Award for Multicultural Nonfiction.

Continuing her higher education at Texas State University, Hannah is set receive her Bachelor’s Degree in English, in 2019. She is a native Texan with a background in writing, sales, social media marketing and customer service. Hannah aspires to perfect her passion and craft of writing and hopes to one day become a novelist. With all the fantastic opportunities offered at Access to Culture, she is excited to be a new member of the team. Connect with her at Hannah Alvarado.