In Australia, Britain, Canada, Kenya, and a number of the 54 nations within the British Commonwealth, the day after Christmas, December 26th is known as Boxing Day. So, what is Boxing Day? Does it correlate to the sport of boxing? Consider these six (6) interesting facts about this December holiday.
- As a Catholic tradition, the Boxing Day holiday has its roots in a custom of advocating for charity, donating to the less fortunate, or “almsgiving” during the Christmas season.
- Although the origin of the name “Boxing Day” is mysterious, one idea suggests that it arose when wealthy families gave their dedicated servants a “Christmas Box” filled with gifts and monies to reward them for their loyalty and labor. An alternate theory suggests that collection boxes from the church were distributed to the less fortunate.
- In Ireland, this holiday is “Wren Day” and celebrates the custom of less fortunate children hunting a wren and selling the feathers with the hopes of better fortunes. In current times, a plastic or silk wren is substituted. Although no longer as popular today, fox hunting was popular in the past.
- Since 1871, the countries of England and Wales have both recognized December 26th as a national holiday. However, Scotland did not recognize Boxing Day as a national holiday until 1974.
- In Ireland, in some geographical areas, the holiday is referred to as St. Stephen’s Day. Today, observers may enjoy the holiday by napping, relaxing, shopping, and spending time with family.
- In some former British colonies the holiday is celebrated with prizefighting events enjoyed by the population; especially in areas within Africa and the Caribbean.
How will you enjoy Boxing Day this year? Share with us in the comments.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.
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