Boxing Day

Last updated

Boxing Day
Observed by Commonwealth nations
Type Bank holiday, public holiday
Date 26 December
FrequencyAnnual
Related toDay of Goodwill
Second Day of Christmastide

Boxing Day is a secular holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day. It originated in the United Kingdom and is celebrated in a number of countries that previously formed part of the British Empire. Boxing Day is on 26 December, although the attached bank holiday or public holiday may take place either on that day or two days later.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

A bank holiday is a national public holiday in the United Kingdom. These are set by the UK parliament in statute law. The term bank holiday is commonly used interchangeably with other public holidays such as Good Friday and Christmas Day, which are held by convention. The term refers to all public holidays in the United Kingdom be they set out in statute, declared by royal proclamation or common law.

Contents

In some European countries such as Romania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as a Second Christmas Day. [1]

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, Asia to the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Romania Sovereign state in Europe

Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It has borders with the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometers, Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, Brașov, and Galați.

Hungary Country in Central Europe

Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.

Etymology

There are competing theories for the origins of the term, none of which are definitive. [2] The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest attestations from Britain in the 1830s, defining it as "the first weekday after Christmas day, observed as a holiday on which postmen, errand boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas box". [3]

<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> Premier historical dictionary of the English language

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is the principal historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a comprehensive resource to scholars and academic researchers, as well as describing usage in its many variations throughout the world. The second edition, comprising 21,728 pages in 20 volumes, was published in 1989.

The term "Christmas box" dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas. [4]

In Britain, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. [5] This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary entry for 19 December 1663. [6] This custom is linked to an older British tradition where the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families since they would have to serve their masters on Christmas Day. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses, and sometimes leftover food. Until the late 20th century there continued to be a tradition among many in the UK to give a Christmas gift, usually cash, to vendors although not on Boxing Day as many would not work on that day.

Samuel Pepys English naval administrator and member of parliament

Samuel Pepys was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.

In South Africa as recently as the 1980s, vendors who normally had little interaction with those they served were accustomed to knock on their doors asking for a "Christmas box", being a small cash donation, in the weeks before or after Christmas.

The European tradition of giving money and other gifts to those in need and in service positions has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It is believed to be in reference to the Alms Box placed in areas of worship to collect donations to the poor. The tradition may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen, [7] which in the Western church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Saint Stephen's Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint's day to commemorate Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr, celebrated on 26 December in the Latin Church and 27 December in Eastern Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Churches that adhere to the Julian calendar mark Saint Stephen's Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on 9 January of the Gregorian calendar used in secular contexts. In Latin Christian denominations, Saint Stephen's Day marks the second day of Christmastide.

Latin Church Automonous particular church making up of most of the Western world Catholics

The Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 such churches, the 23 others forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West – with his cathedra in this role at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity through its direct leadership under the Holy See, founded by Peter and Paul, according to Catholic tradition.

Date

Boxing Day is a secular holiday traditionally celebrated on 26 December, the day after Christmas Day. December 26 is also Saint Stephen's Day, a religious holiday. [8] [9] [10]

Status by country

In the UK, Boxing Day has been a bank holiday since 1871. When 26 December falls on a Saturday, Boxing Day is moved to the following Monday. If 26 December falls on a Sunday, the substitute public holiday is the following Tuesday. [11] However, 26 December is referred to as Boxing Day even when it falls on a Sunday.

In Scotland, Boxing Day has been specified as an additional bank holiday since 1974, [12] by Royal Proclamation under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971. [13]

In Ireland, when the entire island was part of the United Kingdom, the Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of Saint Stephen as a non-moveable public holiday on 26 December. [14] Following partition in 1920, Northern Ireland reverted to the British name, Boxing Day. In East Donegal and Inishowen, the day is also popularly known as Boxing Day.

In Hong Kong, despite the transfer of sovereignty from the UK to China in 1997, Boxing Day continues to be a public holiday. [15] If Boxing Day falls on a Sunday, a compensation day is given on the next weekday.

In Australia, Boxing Day is a public holiday in all jurisdictions except the state of South Australia, where a public holiday known as Proclamation Day is celebrated on the first weekday after Christmas Day or the Christmas Day holiday. [16]

In New Zealand, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday. On these holidays, people who must work receive 1 1/2 times their salaries and a lieu day is provided to employees who work. [17]

In Canada, Boxing Day (French : le Lendemain de Noel) is a federal statutory holiday. Government offices, banks and post offices/delivery are closed. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday [18] that is always celebrated on 26 December. In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day is a statutory holiday and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week. [18]

While not generally observed in the United States, on 5 December 1996, Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld declared 26 December as Boxing Day in Massachusetts in response to the efforts of a local coalition of British citizens to "transport the English tradition to the United States", [19] but not as an employee holiday. [20]

In Nigeria, Boxing Day is a public holiday for working people and students. When it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, there is always a holiday on Monday. [21]

In Trinidad and Tobago, Boxing Day is a public holiday.

In Singapore, Boxing Day was a public holiday for working people and students; when it fell on a Saturday or Sunday, there was a holiday on Monday. However, in recent years this tradition has ceased in Singapore.

In the British overseas territory of Bermuda, the costumed Gombey dancers perform throughout the mid-Atlantic island on Boxing Day, a tradition believed to date back to the 18th century when slaves were permitted to gather at Christmastime. [22]

Shopping

Boxing Day crowds shopping at the Toronto Eaton Centre in Canada, 2007 Boxing Day at the Toronto Eaton Centre.jpg
Boxing Day crowds shopping at the Toronto Eaton Centre in Canada, 2007

In the UK, [23] Canada, [24] Australia, [25] Trinidad and Tobago, and New Zealand, [26] Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the United States. Boxing Day sales are common and shops often allow dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue. In the UK in 2009 it was estimated that up to 12 million shoppers appeared at the sales (a rise of almost 20% compared to 2008, although this was also affected by the fact that the VAT was about to revert to 17.5% from 1 January, following the temporary reduction to 15%). [27]

Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. [24] Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items. [28] Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay at home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. Local media often covers the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queuing up, and showing video of shoppers queuing and later leaving with their purchased items. [29] Many retailers have implemented practices aimed at managing large numbers of shoppers. They may limit entrances, restrict the number of patrons in a store at a time, provide tickets to people at the head of the queue to guarantee them a hot ticket item, or canvass queued-up shoppers to inform them of inventory limitations. [28]

In recent years, retailers have expanded deals to "Boxing Week". While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year's Eve. Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers held early promotions due to a weak economy. [30] Canada's Boxing Day has often been compared with the American Super Saturday (the Saturday before Christmas) and Black Friday. From 2009 onward, Black Friday deals became more prominent among Canadian retailers to discourage shoppers from crossing the border to the US when the Canadian and USA dollars were close to parity. This has lessened the appeal of Boxing Day in Canada somewhat as it was overtaken by Black Friday in terms of sales in 2013. [31] Boxing Day is not and has never been a shopping holiday in the USA; however, 26 December often starts many U.S. retailers' after-Christmas sales and the earliest starting day after Christmas of many people, ex. Americans, returning unwanted gifts for exchanges or refunds.

In some areas of Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada and parts of Northern Ontario, most retailers are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day, either by provincial law or by municipal bylaw, or by informal agreement among major retailers, in order to provide a day of relaxation following Christmas Day. In these areas, sales otherwise scheduled for 26 December are moved to the 27th. [32] [33] The city council of Greater Sudbury, Ontario, which was the largest city in Canada to maintain this restriction as of the early 2010s, formally repealed its store hours bylaw on 9 December 2014. [34]

In 2009, many retailers with both online and High Street stores launched their online sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day. [35] [36]

Sport

Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 2006 MCG stands.jpg
Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 2006
Boxing Day Meet of the Blencathra Foxhounds in Keswick, 1962 Keswick Boxing Day hunt 1962.jpg
Boxing Day Meet of the Blencathra Foxhounds in Keswick, 1962

In the United Kingdom, it is traditional for all top-tier football leagues in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – the Premier League, the Scottish Premiership, and the NIFL Premiership – and the lower ones, as well as the rugby leagues, to hold a full programme of football matches on Boxing Day. Originally, matches on Boxing Day were played against local rivals to avoid teams and their fans having to travel a long distance to an away game on the day after Christmas Day. [37] Prior to the formation of leagues, a number of traditional rugby union fixtures took place on Boxing Day each year, notably Llanelli v London Welsh and Leicester v The Barbarians.

In Italy, Boxing Day football was played for the first time in the 2018/19 Serie A season. The experiment was successful, with Italian stadiums 69% full on average – more than any other matchday in December 2018. [38]

In rugby league, festive fixtures were a staple of the traditional winter season. Since the transition to a summer season in the 1990s, no formal fixtures are now arranged on Boxing Day but some clubs, such as Wakefield Trinity, arrange a traditional local derby friendly fixture instead.

In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Test cricket matches are played on Boxing Day. For more details see Boxing Day Test. [39]

In Australia, the first day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race are on Boxing Day. [40]

In horse racing, there is the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey, England. It is the second most prestigious chase in Britain, after the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In addition to the prestigious race at Kempton, in Britain, it is usually the day with the highest number of racing meetings of the year, with eight in 2016, in addition to three more in Ireland. [41] In Barbados, the final day of horse racing is held on Boxing Day at The Historic Garrison Savannah, a UNESCO world heritage site. This tradition has been going on for decades in this former British colony.

Boxing Day is one of the main days in the hunting calendar for hunts in the UK and US, with most hunts (both mounted foxhound or harrier packs and foot packs of beagles or bassets) holding meets, often in town or village centres. [42]

Several ice hockey contests are associated with the day. The IIHF World U20 Championship typically begins on 26 December, while the Spengler Cup also begins on 23 December in Davos, Switzerland; the Spengler Cup competition includes HC Davos, Team Canada, and other top European Hockey teams. The National Hockey League traditionally had close to a full slate of games (10 were played in 2011 [43] ), following the league-wide days off given for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, the 2013 collective bargaining agreement (which followed a lock-out) extended the league mandate of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off to include Boxing Day, except when it falls on a Saturday, in which case the league can choose to make 23 December a league-wide off day instead for that year. [44]

In some African Commonwealth nations, particularly Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, professional boxing contests are held on Boxing Day. This practice has also been followed for decades in Guyana and Italy. [45]

A notable tradition in Sweden is Annandagsbandy , which formerly marked the start of the bandy season and always draws large crowds. Games traditionally begin at 1:15 pm. [46]

Related Research Articles

Public holidays in Australia are declared on a state and territory basis.

Customs and regulations for shopping hours vary between countries and between cities.

Black Friday (shopping) fourth or fifth Friday in November, following Thanksgiving day

Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of America's Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term "Black Friday" didn't become widely used until more recent decades.

Twelve Days of Christmas holiday spanning December 25th to January 5th

The Twelve Days of Christmas, also known as Twelvetide, is a festive Christian season celebrating the Nativity of Jesus. In most Western ecclesiastical traditions, "Christmas Day" is considered the "First Day of Christmas" and the Twelve Days are 25 December – 5 January, inclusive. For many Christian denominations—for example, the Anglican Communion and Lutheran Church—the Twelve Days are identical to Christmastide, but for others, e.g., the Roman Catholic Church, Christmastide lasts longer than the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Public holidays in the United States Wikimedia list article

The schedule of public holidays in the United States is largely influenced by the schedule of federal holidays, but is controlled by private sector employers who provide 62% of the total US population with paid time off. A typical work week has historically been 40 hours a week with a Saturday–Sunday weekend, although many professionals are currently expected to work 50 hours a week for fixed salary.

Public holidays in New Zealand Wikimedia list article

Public holidays in New Zealand consist of a variety of cultural, national, and religious holidays that are legislated in New Zealand. Workers can get a maximum of 11 public holidays and a minimum of 20 annual leave days a year.

Public holidays in Canada List of government-legislated holidays

Public holidays in Canada, known as statutory holidays, stat holidays, or simply stats, consist of a variety of cultural, nationalistic, and religious holidays that are legislated in Canada at the federal or provincial and territorial levels. While many of these holidays are honoured and acknowledged nationwide, provincial and territorial legislation varies in regard to which are officially recognized.

Sunday shopping, also called Sunday trading, refers to the ability of retailers to operate stores on Sunday, a day that Christian tradition typically recognises as a day of rest. Rules governing shopping hours, such as Sunday shopping, vary around the world and some countries and subnational jurisdictions ban or restrict Sunday shopping.

Christmas traditions

Christmas traditions vary from country to country. Christmas celebrations for many nations include the installing and lighting of Christmas trees, the hanging of Advent wreaths, Christmas stockings, candy canes, setting out cookies and milk, and the creation of Nativity scenes depicting the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas carols may be sung and stories told about such figures as the Baby Jesus, St Nicholas, Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Christkind or Grandfather Frost. The sending and exchange of Christmas card greetings, observance of fasting and special religious observances such as a midnight Mass or Vespers on Christmas Eve, the burning of a Yule log, and the giving and receiving of presents. Along with Easter, Christmas is one of the most important periods on the Christian calendar, and is often closely connected to other holidays at this time of year, such as Advent, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, St Nicholas Day, St. Stephen's Day, New Year's, and the Feast of the Epiphany.

In the United Kingdom, public holidays are days on which most businesses and non-essential services are closed, although an increasing number of retail businesses do open on some of the public holidays. There are restrictions on trading on Sundays and Christmas Day in England and Wales and on New Year's Day and Christmas Day in Scotland. Legally defined holidays, analogous to "public holidays" in many other countries, are usually called bank holidays in the United Kingdom, but can also be referred to as "public holidays"; strictly, however, "public holidays" refer to "common law holidays", the observance of which derive from custom and practice.

Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. It was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online. The term was coined by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation and Scott Silverman, and made its debut on November 28, 2005, in a Shop.org press release entitled "'Cyber Monday' Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year". It is on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and most of the time falls in November, but if Thanksgiving is on November 27 or 28, it will fall in December. The date range is November 26 to December 2, and is always four days after the holiday.

Boxing Week is a period of six days or more that starts with Boxing Day on December 26 and ends with New Year's Eve on December 31. The term was invented by the retail industry around the mid-2000s as an attempt to extend their Boxing Day sales through much of the Christmas season.

Christmas and holiday season Christmas period with related holidays between late-November and early-January

The Christmas season, also called the holiday season, or the festive season, is an annually recurring period recognized in many Western and Western-influenced countries that is generally considered to run from late November to early January. It is defined as incorporating at least Christmas, and usually New Year, and sometimes various other holidays and festivals. It also is associated with a period of shopping which comprises a peak season for the retail sector, and a period of sales at the end of the season. Christmas window displays and Christmas tree lighting ceremonies when trees decorated with ornaments and light bulbs are illuminated are traditions in many areas.

Christmas in Ireland is the largest celebration of the year although 8 December is traditionally viewed as the start of Christmas with many putting up their decorations and Christmas trees, along with doing their Christmas shopping. Irish Christmas traditions are similar to those in most Western countries.

Public holidays in Sweden in Sweden are established by acts of Parliament. The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian holidays. The Christian holidays are jul (Christmas). trettondedag jul (Epiphany), påsk (Easter), Kristi himmelsfärds dag, pingstdagen (Pentecost) and alla helgons dag. The non-Christian holidays are: nyårsdagen, första maj, Sveriges nationaldag and midsommar (Midsummer); Midsummer is, however, officially also a Christian holiday to celebrate John the Baptist's birthday.

Super Saturday or Panic Saturday is the last Saturday before Christmas, a major day of revenue for American retailers, marking the end of the shopping season they, and many customers, believe begins on Black Friday. Super Saturday targets last-minute shoppers. Typically the day is ridden with one-day sales in an effort to accrue more revenue than any other day in the Christmas and holiday season. The date is slightly more likely to fall on December 22, December 19 or December 17, than on December 21 or December 20 (57), and slightly less likely to occur on December 23 or December 18 (56).

Economics of Christmas Economic aspects of Christmas

The economics of Christmas is significant because Christmas is typically a peak selling season for retailers in many nations around the world. Sales increase dramatically as people purchase gifts, decorations, and supplies to celebrate. In the U.S., the "Christmas shopping season" starts as early as October. In Canada, merchants begin advertising campaigns just before Halloween, and step up their marketing following Remembrance Day on 11 November. In the UK and Ireland, the Christmas shopping season starts from mid November, around the time when high street Christmas lights are turned on. In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas/holiday shopping season. Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that expenditure in department stores nationwide rose from $20.8 billion in November 2004 to $31.9 billion in December 2004, an increase of 54 percent. In other sectors, the pre-Christmas increase in spending was even greater, there being a November–December buying surge of 100 percent in bookstores and 170 percent in jewelry stores. In the same year employment in American retail stores rose from 1.6 million to 1.8 million in the two months leading up to Christmas.

Christmas traditions in Australia and New Zealand have many similarities to British, Irish, American and Canadian traditions, including traditional Christmas symbols featuring winter iconography. This means a red fur-coated Santa Claus riding a sleigh, songs such as "Jingle Bells", and various Christmas scenes on Christmas cards and decorations. However, the timing of Christmas occurring during the Southern Hemisphere's summer season has resulted in the development of some local traditions as a result of the warmer weather.

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