The origins and future of Boxing Day

Boxing Day: A day that follows Christmas Day in which we try to work off all that excess turkey and booze. But what are the origins of this bank holiday and what does it symbolise?

Boxing Day takes place on the 26th of December or, if Christmas Day falls on a weekend, then it will fall on the next following working day. The exact origins of this day are unknown. One theory suggests that the word ‘boxing’ refers to the early Christian and Roman era in which metal boxes were traditionally left outside of churches in honour of the Feast of Saint Stephen.

An alternative theory as to the origins of the holiday’s name harks back to the tradition of giving boxes of presents to tradesmen during the first working week following Christmas, as a way of saying thanks for their hard work.

In several countries, including Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, Boxing Day is generally considered a shopping holiday. Traditionally, many shops will sell items at heavily reduced rates, with many stores opting to open at early hours simply to accommodate the large number of shoppers who arrive looking for bargains.

As a bank holiday, Boxing Day will certainly endure and continue to take place in countries that observe this special occasion, and even today’s technological world has embraced the holiday with open arms. Indeed, many online websites will have a special Boxing Day sale, in which goods can be purchased online during the bank holiday for that day early, at a heavily reduced cost than most other days throughout the year.

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