Boxing Day: Is it a celebration of boxer dogs, boxing or giving gifts?
Over the years Boxing Day has become synonymous with carrying on the Christmas feast, slobbing out on the sofa watching movies or going on a country walk.
No where in the bible is there a mention of Boxing Day which makes the holiday, celebrated the day after Christmas, all the more curious – just why do we celebrate it?
Here are some answers to the most common boxing day questions:
Why is it called boxing day?
The name is derived from an age old tradition of rich masters giving their servants Christmas boxes which they could share with their families on December 26, after all the formal festivities.
When did we start celebrating it?
There are an array of different answers to this question, but the most commonly believed is that the tradition started in the Middle Ages.
Parishioners collected money for the poor in alms boxes, and these were opened on the day after Christmas in honour of St Stephen, the first Christian martyr, whose feast day falls on 26 December.
When did it become a national holiday?
The Victorians were the first people to really start creating designated public holidays.
The Oxford English Dictionary dates the term to the 1830s. Neale clearly recognised the association of the day in the public mind with charity, and in 1871 St Stephen’s Day was designated a bank holiday.
Do other countries celebrate Boxing Day?
Only a few countries celebrate Boxing Day which falls on December 26.
Mainly countries that have historical links to the UK celebrate the day such as Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and a few European countries.