I hope you have all recovered from the Christmas festivities! In Italy, the day after Christmas is an important religious holiday, Santo Stefano. But what do other countries do on December 26th? Well, in some countries, like the USA, it is a normal working day… In some European countries it is celebrated as a second Christmas day… But many countries know this day as ‘Boxing Day’.
So, what is Boxing Day and who celebrates it?
It originated in the United Kingdom and is also celebrated in many other Commonwealth countries, like Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The name is thought to have come from the old British tradition of the rich giving their servants a ‘Christmas Box’ the day after Christmas. The servants would have to work on Christmas Day, so they were allowed to spend the day after with their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts and leftover food.
In more modern times, the name ‘Boxing Day’ has taken up another meaning; boxing up unwanted Christmas gifts and returning them to the shops!
In fact, in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Boxing Day is well known as a shopping holiday. It is the time when shops hold the big sales, and for many shops this is the day of the year when they make the most money!
However, if shopping all day with large crowds doesn’t interest you, don’t worry; there’s always sport! In the UK, it is traditional for football and rugby leagues to hold matches on Boxing Day, and in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Test cricket matches are played.