Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day, and it’s another day to eat more chicken, have more drinks and hang out with friends. In fact, it is like the part two of Christmas.
But there is a lot we may not know about the this day, December 26. In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is a national holiday. In Nigeria, it is a public holiday.
December 26 is also a national holiday in Ireland, but there it is known as St Stephen’s Day.
St Stephen is saint who was stoned to death for believing in Jesus. He is the first known Christian martyr. He is also the patron saint of horses which could be where the hunting association came from.
Why is it called Boxing Day?
According to THE SUN UK citing British history, there are a few competing stories for the origin of the name, but none are definitive.
The day after Christmas was when servants of the wealthy were given time off to visit their family, as they were needed to work on Christmas Day.
Each servant would be given a box to take home with food, a bonus and gifts.
Another theory is that in the Victorian era, churches often displayed a box for parishioners to donate money.
Also, it was customary for tradespeople to collect ‘Christmas boxes’of money or gifts on the first weekday after Christmas as a thank you for good service over the year.
How is Boxing Day celebrated?
Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, particularly those not seen on Christmas Day itself. It is also a day to eat left over turkey or chicken as the case may be.
The day used to be synonymous with hunting. The 2004 foxhunting ban put an end to this, although many places still carry out drag hunts (the dogs chase a scent that has been laid out) to keep up the tradition.
In Ireland, December 26 being St. Stephen’s Day is devoted to hunting expeditions as the saint is the patron of horses.
Boxing Day is also a time when the Brits show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, or running into the sea, fun runs and charity events.
In Nigeria, many parents take their families out to public places like the beaches, amusement parks, zoos, cinemas and several tourist centres.
Football matches on Boxing Day
In modern times the day has become associated with sports – particularly football and rugby. In the Premier League, the day witnesses a round of matches in which fans and club owners seemingly give players and managers the last chance to make things right ahead of the second half of the season which begins in the new year.
This season, the Premier League is trying out something a bit different. Instead of having every team play on Boxing Day, games are spread out, with more coming in the days following.