Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26th.
Boxing Day, also known as the Feast of St. Stephen (after the first Christian martyr), originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria. It originated as a holiday for members of the merchant class to give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude similar to the bonuses many employers offer their employees today. These gifts, usually given in boxes, gave the holiday it’s name, “Boxing Day”.
Also related to the origin of Boxing Day is the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches over the Christmas season. The contents of these boxes were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas.
Today, Boxing Day is a holiday in the United Kingdom, Canada, and many other Commonwealth nations. It is a time for family and friends to gather with lots of food and fun. Outdoor sports such as soccer, horse racing and hunting are popular on this holiday. Retailers offer huge savings on many items on this day, making it the biggest shopping day of the year in Canada.
Throughout the Christmas season, many organizations keep the original tradition of Boxing Day alive by donating their time, energy, and money to fill the Food Bank and provide gifts for the poor.