Boxing Day seems to be a very interesting custom which has British roots though the occasion is rather strange for many countries across the world. The tradition of getting presents is a national holiday which is observed in former colonies of the United Kingdom too. When is Boxing Day in 2017? What countries celebrate the holiday?
Backgrounds of the date
People all over the world try to connect it with only sport competitions though it’s a mistake. There’re no boxing contests on Boxing Day. The roots of the tradition should be searched in dictionaries and history. During the 17th century “Christmas-box” meant just a small gift for Christmas celebration. They were presented to those people who made servants’ deeds. At the end of each year people gave them small festive boxes for their painstaking job. It was a custom to make a gratitude to those people on the day after Christmas.
The first mention of Boxing Day was in 1663. It was a diary of Samuel Pepys. He noticed that people who served for wealthy families had no time to congratulate their family members. These people had a day after Christmas to visit their homes. They got a box from their employers. Traditionally it contained some food, bonuses and other gifts. Thus, the term was noted in the Oxford dictionary. It recognizes the term as a day when servants get their bonuses and other kinds of gift sets. This definition appeared in 1830.
Some British colonies have their own definition and meanings of the day though the whole meaning is unchangeable. The South Africans began a tradition of giving small gifts or cash to servants who bring milk to the doors or take garbage away. The tradition is observed during a Christmas week. When is Boxing Day 2017? According to the calendar people are to give presents on the 26th of December.
The tradition of giving boxes with donations and small gifts are seemed to come from Roman times. It is believed that people left boxes in the territories of worship, so that all interested persons could put donations there. These places were mostly situated in front of churches’ doors. In Christianity December, 26, is regarded St. Stephen’s Day. The UK set a tradition as a Boxing Day with a traditional day-off. The local authorities usually transfer this day to the next date if it’s on a week-end.
Ireland doesn’t celebrate Boxing Day, not St. Stephen’s Day, except the northern part of the island of Ireland. The whole territory follows an occasion from 1871. In 1920 the Northern Irish people changed the occasion into Boxing Day. The Scots started celebrating it in 1971.
Australia, except its southern state, holds the tradition. The rest of the island celebrates Proclamation Day. New Zealanders had no right to make their servants work on the day. Canada proclaimed the occasion a statutory holiday. Some American states’ authorities set Boxing Day in the 1990s though it wasn’t recognized a real day-off. Nigerians have an official day-off on December, 26. If you want to know detailed information about the celebration in a certain state or country, you should write an internet request “What day Boxing Day in 2017?”
Traditions of the holiday
Nowadays the most accepted aim of the occasion is a rest from hard preparations for Christmas and a good time with friends and relatives. The day is famous worldwide for its sales. So, lots of people spend hours buying different goods. Long queues and great scampers on Boxing Day are shown in the internet and TV news. People try to attend the store early in the morning when they can catch all sizes and types of clothes and other bargains. On Boxing Day sales are really great. Sometimes they reach 90 percent. People can buy everything they haven’t got as a Christmas present.
Family members try not to stay at home and have a cultural rest outdoors. Special exhibitions, variety shows, theatrical plays and pantomimes are held on Boxing Day. The Englishmen try to have fun on the day. They take part in strange activities, such as funny runs and swimming in the English Channel.
Another tradition is fox hunting. It’s a restricted custom nowadays. Local authorities don’t let people to kill animals though earlier wealthy people had a tradition to hunt foxes riding on horses. Lots of pictures are real decorations of various museums in the United Kingdom and other countries. It’s a traditional symbol of Boxing Day. In spite of restriction of fox hunting, there is a permission of a whole hunting period in the UK on Boxing Day. What is the date of Boxing Day 2017? It’s on December, 26.
Nowadays people play different kinds of sports, especially football and horse racing. There are lots of horse riding contests in the United Kingdom. Different chases are held on the day in England. Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans usually hold cricket matches. Australians start their yacht competitions on the 26th of December. In Switzerland and Canada ice hockey competitions start on the day. Fighting contests are held in several African countries on the 26th of December. Bandy contests, known as Annandagsbandy, start on Boxing Day in Sweden.
Department stores are usually open and have big sales. Traffic lines are busy, so there’s an advice to guests and other people who want to use airlines and other public transport to book tickets beforehand. Many people prefer to prepare for flights and trips several weeks and even months earlier.
The day has a strict date, though it is shifted when the 26th of December is Saturday or Sunday. In the second variant people have a long vacation till Tuesday. The best way to find the festive day of the week is to ask the internet community “When is Boxing Day in 2017, calendar of days-off”. In 2017 people also have long vacations, because Christmas is on Monday which is after traditional weekend. The next day is on Tuesday, so people are to have four days-off including Boxing Day.