When is it?
December 26th, Boxing Day takes place on December 26th or the following Monday if December 26 falls on a Saturday or Sunday.
Where did it come from?
Boxing Day began in England, in the middle of the nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria. Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen's Day, was a way for the upper class to give gifts of cash, or other goods, to those of the lower classes.
Where is Boxing Day celebrated?
Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada.
How is Boxing Day celebrated?
There seems to be two theories on the origin of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated. The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it's name, "Boxing Day".
The second thought is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches over the Christmas season. The contents thereof which were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas.
Today, Boxing Day is spent with family and friends with lots of food and sharing of friendship and love. Government buildings and small businesses are closed but the malls are open and filled with people exchanging gifts or buying reduced priced Christmas gifts, cards, and decorations.
To keep the tradition of Boxing Day alive, many businesses, organizations, and families donate their time, services, and money to aid Food Banks and provide gifts for the poor, or they may choose to help an individual family that is in need.
What a great extension of the Christmas holiday spirit. You might consider making this holiday a tradition in your family. No matter where you live the simple principle of giving to others less fortunate than yourself can be put into practice.