- Boxing Day
Boxing Day Observed by some members and former members of the Commonwealth of Nations Type Bank holiday / Public holiday Date 26 December – Bank or public holiday Related to St. Stephen's Day
Boxing Day is a bank or public holiday that occurs on 26 December, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and some other Commonwealth nations. In Ireland, it is recognized as St. Stephen's Day or the Day of the Wren (Irish: Lá an Dreoilín). In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994.
26 December is celebrated as The Second Day of Christmas in most European countries.
Although the same legislation – the Bank Holidays Act 1871 – originally established the bank holidays throughout the UK, the day after Christmas was defined as Boxing Day in England, Scotland and Wales, and the feast day of St Stephen in Ireland. A 'substitute bank holiday in place of 26 December' is only possible in Northern Ireland, reflecting the legal difference in that St. Stephen's Day does not automatically shift to the Monday in the same way as Boxing Day.
The exact etymology of the term "boxing" is unclear and there are several competing theories, none of which is definitive. The tradition has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions. The European tradition has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown and there are some claims that it goes back to the late Roman/early Christian era; metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen.
In the UK, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary entry for 19 December 1663; This custom is linked to an older English tradition: in exchange for ensuring that wealthy landowners' Christmases ran smoothly, their servants were allowed to take the 26th off to visit their families. The employers gave each servant a box containing gifts and bonuses (and sometimes leftover food).
Boxing Day is a secular holiday that is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, the day after Christmas Day, which is also St. Stephen's Day, a religious holiday. However, when 26 December falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day in many places is moved to 27 December. In the UK, where Boxing Day is a bank holiday, if Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, a substitute bank holiday is given on the following Monday, but if Boxing Day falls on a Sunday – which means that Christmas Day, another bank holiday, fell on a Saturday – then the Statutory Holiday for Christmas is moved to Monday 27 December and the Statutory Holiday for Boxing Day is moved to Tuesday 28 December.
In Ireland – when it was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland – the Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of St Stephen as a non-movable public holiday on 26 December. Since the Irish War of Independence, the name "Boxing Day" is used only by the authorities in Northern Ireland, which remains part of the UK. There, Boxing Day is a movable public holiday in line with the rest of the UK.
In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day is a statutory holiday, and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week.
In Britain, Canada, New Zealand and some states of Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price decreases. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest revenue. In the UK in 2009 it was estimated that up to 12 million shoppers appeared at the sales (a rise of almost 20% compared to 2008, although this was also affected by the fact that the VAT would revert to 17.5% from 1 January).
Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items. Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. The local media often cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queueing up, providing video of shoppers queueing and later leaving with their purchased items. The Boxing Day sales have the potential for customer stampedes, injuries and even fatalities. As a result, many retailers have implemented practices aimed at controlling large numbers of shoppers, most whom are typically irate due to the cold (or, in Australia and New Zealand, hot) weather, and anxious for bargains. They may limit entrances, restrict the number of patrons in a store at a time, provide tickets to people at the head of the queue to guarantee them a hot ticket item, and canvass queued-up shoppers to inform them of inventory limitations.
In recent years, retailers have expanded deals to "Boxing Week." While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers who hold Boxing Day Sales will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year's Eve. Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers were holding early promotions due to a weak economy. Canada's Boxing Day has often been compared with the American Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas. In 2009, a number of major Canadian retailers had their own Black Friday promotions to discourage shoppers from crossing the border.
In some areas of Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada and parts of Northern Ontario (including Sault Ste. Marie), most retailers are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day, either by provincial law or municipal bylaw. In these areas, sales otherwise scheduled for 26 December are moved to the 27th.
In Ireland, since 1902, most stores remain closed on St. Stephen's Day, as with Christmas Day. In 2009, some stores decided to open on this day, breaking a 107-year-old tradition. Some stores have also started their January sales on this day. but most start them in early December.
Cyber Boxing Day
The online version of Boxing Day has been referred to as "Cyber Boxing Day". In the UK in 2008, Boxing Day was the busiest online shopping day of the year. In 2009, many retailers with both online and High Street stores launched their online sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day.
In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland it is traditional for the Premier League, Scottish Premier League and Irish Premier League respectively, as well as the lower divisions and Rugby Football leagues, to hold a full programme of football and Rugby matches on Boxing Day. Traditionally, matches on Boxing Day are played against local rivals. This was originally to avoid teams and their fans having to travel a long distance to an away game on the day after Christmas Day. It also makes the day an important one in the sporting calendar.
Boxing Day is a popular day in the UK and US for mounted fox hunters. Despite fox hunting being banned by the Hunting Act in 2004, Boxing Day remains the biggest hunt of the year for most hunts in the UK by use of scent drag trails instead of live game.
The IIHF World U20 Championship (ice hockey) typically begins on 26 December. In Canada, the tournament is one of the largest sporting events of the year, often drawing comparisons to the Super Bowl in the US.
The NHL tends to have close to a full slate of games (11 were played in 2010), following the league-wide days off given for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
In some African Commonwealth nations, particularly Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, prize fighting contests are held on Boxing Day. This practice has also been followed for decades in Guyana and Italy.
- St Stephen's Day
- Boxing Day Tsunami
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- ^ American Heritage Dictionary, Fourth Edition – 'Boxing Day'
- ^ Oxford English
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- ^ Joe Gould, Clare Trapasso and Rich Schapiro (28 November 2008). "Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede". Daily News (New York). http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/11/28/2008-11-28_worker_dies_at_long_island_walmart_after.html. Retrieved 17 December 2009.
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- ^ Telegraph (22 December 2009). "Boxing Day sales start on Christmas Eve.". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/6858609/Boxing-Day-sales-start-on-Christmas-Eve.html. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- ^ Millman, Joel (2009-12-28). "Season's Beatings: 'Boxing Day' Takes a Pugilistic Turn". The Wall Street Journal (Asia Edition). http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126179017496705483.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
Links to related articles Public holidays in Australia Nationwide statutory holidays Statutory holidays for federal employees Other common holidays Public holidays in the United KingdomNew Year's Day • 2nd January (Scotland only) • St Patrick's Day (Northern Ireland only) • Good Friday(not Northern Ireland) • Easter Monday (not Scotland) • Easter Tuesday (Northern Ireland only) • May Bank Holiday • Spring Bank Holiday (not Scotland) • Orangemen's Day (Northern Ireland only) • Summer Bank Holiday • St Andrew's Day (Scotland only, optional) • Christmas Day • Boxing Day/St Stephen's DayNew Year's Day · Lunar New Year (3 days) · Ching Ming Festival · Good Friday · The day following Good Friday · Easter Monday · The Birthday of the Buddha · Labour Day · Tuen Ng Festival · Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day · The day following the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival · National Day · Chung Yeung Festival · Christmas Day · The first weekday after Christmas Day
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