Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in many countries throughout the world. It occurs the day after Christmas on December 26th. It is also celebrated as St. Stephen’s Day in the Catholic Church. The idea can be traced back to England in the 1830’s, and was part of the work process. The week after Christmas, it was expected that citizens would give the service providers in their community boxes filled with various gifts. This is something that hasn’t been adapted in America, but Canada does celebrate this day.
The actual date of December 26th has been a tradition, and even though America doesn’t celebrate, that date is very often given off by employers as an extension of the Christmas holiday. In Canada, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the day is celebrated as an official holiday, and workers are given the day off, increasing the length of their holiday break. Some states in the southern US are given then day off as a state holiday.
The biggest allure, by far, of Boxing Day is that it is a huge shopping day for most of the countries listed above. It is the equivalent of Black Friday to them. Many stores give steep discounts on the items that we are used to getting discounts on in the United States. This has become a huge tradition there, but alas, another one that hasn’t formally been picked up in America. While that day is a huge day for returns, the sales pale in comparison to Black Friday and other days throughout the formal Christmas season.
Two major sports have big slates of games on Boxing Day as well. In Europe, many football games are played, typically with their closest rivals so that players and fans could stay close to home that day. In Australia, cricket, which is a major sport there, has some of their biggest games of the year, as it is just turning into summer there. The National Hockey League also used to have a big slate of games on Boxing Day, but due to provisions in the most recent collective bargaining agreement, players are given that day off to celebrate as well.
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