Boxing Day

Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th except when December 26th is a Sunday.  In which case Boxing Day is transferred to December 27th by Royal Proclamation (The Commonwealth of Nations).  It is celebrated in United Kingdom, most Commonwealth nations,

Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.   

It is likely that Boxing Day began in England during the Middle Ages, the exact origins of the holiday are obscure.   Some historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but they took the following day off.  The superiors would give the servents gift boxes on that day to bring to home to servents families.  Others believe the origin is from the alms-boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor during the festive season.  They were opened and  the contents were distributed to the poor and needy on December 26th, the Feast of St. Stephen.
Boxing Day evolves to giving gifts to those who had rendered a service during the previous year, such as tradesmen, mail carriers, milk men, doormen, porters, and others who may have provided help. Most modern people celebrate the day as either a day of relaxation (and often sports watching) after the holidays or a day of shopping (High Street sales). It is generally the secular alternative to St. Stephen's Day (see below)

Boxing Day is one of the British bank holidays recognized since 1871 that are observed by banks, government offices, and the post office. The others include Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Whitmonday,and the bank holiday on the last Monday in August.

St Stephen's Day 

St. Stephen's Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen (Lá Fhéile Stiofáin - Irish) also takes place on December 26, also known as The Day of the Wren (Ireland). St. Stephens Day is a public holiday in Alsace, Austria, Catalonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, England,

Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Scotland and Slovakia. 

St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor. He was the first Christian martyr, stoned to death by a mob, and as he died, he begged God not to punish his killers.

Second Christmas Day 

Boxing Day is known as the Second Christmas Day in the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, Germany, Norway, Sweeden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Catalonia.


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