Boxing Day 2021: Why is it called Boxing Day, when is it, is it a national holiday and how is it celebrated?

BOXING DAY is the perfect time to wind down after a busy Christmas Day.

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 10:29 am

After a huge feast and a day of socialising with your nearest and dearest, there is nothing better than chilling out on December 26.

For some, Boxing Day is an extra day to see friends and family that you may have not have been able to see prior to Christmas.

Last year, socialising was off the festive schedule in the UK due to lockdown restrictions and many families will be reuniting this Boxing Day to make up for the lost time.

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Boxing Day falls on December 26 every year.

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Here is everything you need to know about Boxing Day including why it is so-called and how it is celebrated in the UK:

When is it?

Boxing Day takes place on December 26 every year and is a national holiday in the UK.

As Christmas Day falls on a Saturday this year, the Christmas bank holiday will take place on Monday, December 27.

This means that the Boxing Day public holiday is scheduled for Tuesday, December 28.

Boxing Day is mostly a Commonwealth tradition, with Canada, Australia and New Zealand joining in with celebrations.

Why is it called Boxing Day?

There are many different theories that could explain why Boxing Day is so-called but none of the stories are definitive.

The first story states that the day after Christmas was when servants of the wealthy were allowed to visit their family as they has to work on Christmas Day.

Each servant was then given a box to take home which included a bonus, food and gifts.

Another theory stems from the Victorian era as churches often displayed a box for worshippers to donate money.

Tradespeople would also collect 'Christmas boxes' that contained gifts or money on December 26 as a thank you for their service throughout the year.

Boxing Day is also known as St Stephen’s Day, after St Stephen who was the first Christian martyr as told in the book of Acts in the Bible.

St Stephen was stoned to death for believing in Jesus and was the patron saint of horses.

In Ireland, Boxing Day is known as St Stephen's Day and is also a national holiday.

How is Boxing Day celebrated in the UK?

Boxing Day is a great way to spend more time with friends and family, eat leftover turkey and catch up with all the festive TV that you may have missed.

The day used to be synonymous with hunting but the foxhunting ban of 2004 was brought in to put the tradition to an end.

Some places in the UK still carry out drag hunts, where dogs will chase a scent that has been laid out to keep up with the tradition.

Boxing Day is now associated with sports- particularly rugby and football- with many fans watching at home or in person.

In the days before TV, festive football took place on Christmas Day but the last Christmas Day football match took place in 1957 before moving fixtures to Boxing Day.

December 26 sees shoppers flock back to stores for dramatic price reductions known as the ‘Boxing Day sales', with many queuing for hours outside stores to get the latest bargains.

The festive day is also known for some bizarre British traditions which include swimming the cold English Channel, fun runs, entering the sea dressed as Father Christmas and charity events.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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