Somewhere New

Travel blog

6 Dec

What is Boxing Day?

Posted by Abigail Six in London Life

If you’re new to the UK than you might find yourself stratching your head when you hear all your mates talking about Boxing Day! Check out what exactly it is, the history behind it and some traditions you can take part in to feel right at home during boxing day.

What is boxing day?

In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is a brilliant post-Christmas tradition filled with more turkey, drinks, time spent with family and friends, and huge shopping sales. It is a bank holiday traditionally celebrated the day after Christmas and basically an excuse to delay going back to work, eat leftovers, and recover from all the festivities and chaos leading up to Christmas.

But where exactly did such a bizarrely-fantastic holiday originate from (and how can we get this in America?!)

History Behind it

Boxing day originated in the UK, and although it’s origins are not entirely clear, there are a few good theories about where it got its name from. One of those theories comes from the servants who had to cook and help with their employer’s parties on Christmas Day. Because they had to celebrate Christmas with their families the day after, servants would be gifted a ‘Christmas box’ that was filled with leftover foods, sweets, gifts, and bonuses. Another theory is that boxing day received its name from tradespeople who would go around the day after Christmas with boxes. In these boxes, they collected money, gifts, and sometimes food as a ‘thank you’ for their services throughout the year. Another theory is that, the day after Christmas, Churches would put out alms boxes for the poor to collect leftovers for those in need.

Which Countries Celebrate it

Even though Boxing Day originated in the UK, it is celebrated in commonwealth countries throughout the world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In the UK, boxing day is a bank holiday. If it falls on a weekend, the following Monday will become a bank holiday too.

Boxing Day Today

Although boxing day has traditionally been another quality day to spend eating leftovers around the tv with family, some fun new traditions have surfaced over the years. Boxing day is a huge day for sports fans with the Premier Football League putting together fixture that never disappoints. If you’re looking for a way to spend that new Christmas cash or secure that gift you really wanted, Boxing day is known for its massive post-holiday sales. People will queue for hours before stores open to get their hands on the good deals first. Some even stranger traditions have become the norm on boxing day such as the Boxing Day Dip in fancy dress. I mean…who wouldn’t want to take a swim off the freezing cold coast of England in December dressed up like a penguin?