The Philippines might have one of the longest Christmas holidays, but some countries have their own unique tradition on how they celebrate the festive occasion.
Take the United Kingdom and other countries that used to be a part of the British Empire— Scotland, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada— for instance. One thing unique about these countries is a public holiday called Boxing Day.
A bank holiday or public holiday that became official in 1871, Boxing Day is traditionally celebrated on December 26 with some exceptions: If the day falls on a Saturday, the celebration moves to the following Monday. If December 26 is a Sunday, Boxing Day is observed on the following Tuesday. (Read: 5 Online Stores That Sell Cute Face Masks for Christmas)
These days, Boxing Day is celebrated as an extension of the Christmas holiday and is usually a day for sporting events and shopping.
Why Is It Called Boxing Day?
The term “Boxing Day” was first recorded in 1833, but the official origin of the name has never been determined. Some say it is a reference to holiday gifts of the Christmas box. Traditionally, boxing day is a day off for servants and a day when they receive a gift from their employer, these servants would then go home to give gifts to their families. (Read: Four Effective and Easy Ways to Relieve Yourself From the Holiday Stress)
Meanwhile, say that the holiday got its name from the charity drives of churches. A box to collect money for the poor is traditionally placed in Churches on Christmas day and opened the next day— or Boxing Day.
How is Boxing Day celebrated?
Much like Christmas, Boxing Day is a day to spend time with family and friends, particularly those people not seen on Christmas Day itself. Many people gather for meals, spend time outside, or relax at home to enjoy an extended holiday. (Read: The Best Holiday Flicks to Binge Watch on Netflix Right Now) Those who celebrate the holiday usually prepare baked ham, pease pudding, mince pies with brandy butter, and a slice of Christmas cake.
Boxing Day has also been associate with watching sports. In England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, football and rugby matches are held. In Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, meanwhile, people can watch cricket matches. Ice hockey and horse racing are also held in some areas.
Fox hunts are traditionally part of the holiday until it was banned in the UK in 2004.