The Christmas festivities are over, but in many countries around the world, there’s another big holiday that comes the day after — Boxing Day! The holiday is not celebrated in the United States, but it’s similar to the Black Friday holiday that we celebrate on the day after Thanksgiving. Many who did not grow up in a country where Boxing Day is celebrated do not know much about the holiday, so we rounded up five fast facts to get you caught up:
1. When is Boxing Day? Boxing Day falls on the day after Christmas, December 26, in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also celebrated in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It has been a bank holiday in Britain since 1974 — if Dec. 26 falls on a Saturday, Boxing Day is observed on the following Monday, and if Dec. 26 falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day is observed the following Tuesday, with Christmas Day being observed on the Monday.
2. Why is it called Boxing Day? No, Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. There are various stories about the origin of this holiday’s name, and there is no definitive answer about why it is called Boxing Day. However, a popular theory is that it evolved from when servants would receive a “Christmas box” (otherwise known as a present) from their master on the day after Christmas. It’s also theorized that the term could refer to boxes placed in churches on Christmas Day to collect money for the less fortunate, which are then opened the day after Christmas.
3. What do you do on Boxing Day? The most popular thing to do on Boxing Day — hit the shops for those after-Christmas sales! Boxing Day can be compared to Black Friday in the U.S. in this sense, with stores offering sales and opening their doors early in the morning. Since shopping on Boxing Day has become so popular, many stores have started to participate in “Boxing Week.”
4. Are there Boxing Day activities? Professional football (soccer) and rugby games are often played on Boxing Day. It is also a popular day for hunting.
5. What do you eat on Boxing Day? There’s no better way to get rid of holiday leftovers than by following up that holiday with another holiday — people often eat their Christmas leftovers for the relaxing Dec. 26 celebration.