What is Boxing Day and how is it celebrated?
While not commonly celebrated in the US, the UK-borne holiday follows hot on the heels of Christmas, representing another day to spend with family.
On December 26, parts of the world celebrate Boxing Day. While not a holiday in the US, hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrate it following the family get-togethers of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Like Christmas Day, Boxing Day is a bank holiday in the UK, what would be public holiday in the US.
But where does the tradition come from and who celebrates it?
Where does the holiday come from?
Boxing Day is a tradition born out of Great Britain and its wider Commonwealth of Nations, what used to be the British Empire. The Oxford English Dictionary notes back in the 1830s that it was "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".
A Christmas box was a gift to tradesmen and employees, who were given a gift in gratitude for their service throughout the year.
Sport and Boxing Day
December 26 is also the feast day of St. Stephen, the patron saint of horses, and Boxing Day has come to be a day of sporting events, including horse races, foxhunting, and rugby.
In the UK, nearly every football team plays on Boxing Day, except on or two for television rights purposes. The extra day of holiday for most gives clubs the perfect opportunity to host games whichever day of the week the holiday falls on, without the prospect of people being unable to attend matches.
There was a particularly famous round of matches in 1963, which served up some incredible scorelines in the English First Division, the precursor to the Premier League.
However, the covid-19 pandemic has put much of the sport on hold, as teams struggle with a combination of positive tests and injuries.