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What is the meaning of Boxing Day and which other countries celebrate it?


Boxing Day is known to be a time for sales (Picture: Getty Images)

Christmas Day is over for another year, but that doesn’t mean the holiday season is over.

That’s because having eaten yourself into submission and gorged on festive telly yesterday, you get the chance to do it all over again today on Boxing Day.

But while we may get ourselves another day off straight after Christmas, that’s not necessarily the case in other countries, where Boxing Day isn’t actually a thing.

And just how did it get its name anyway?

Here’s what you need to know…

What is the meaning of Boxing Day?

Before you ask, Boxing Day has nothing to do with actual boxing.

In fact, it gets its name from the custom, back in the 19th Century, of being a holiday in which the rich used to box up gifts to give to those less fortunate.

Boxing Day was traditionally a time when poorer people and servants were given presents (Picture: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

It was traditionally a day when folks such as postmen, errand boys and servants would receive a special Christmas box from their employers – and when they would be given the day off to spend time with their families.

Churches have also traditionally played their part in the day, collecting money from churchgoers during the year and giving it to those in

Boxing Day has been a bank holiday in the UK since 1871, but if it falls on a Saturday it’s moved to the following Monday, and if it falls on a Sunday then we get an extra bank holiday the following Tuesday.

Which other countries celebrate Boxing Day?

It’s going to be busy out there (Picture: Getty Images)

While many countries enjoy an additional day off after Christmas Day, they don’t all celebrate Boxing Day.

As well as here, it’s also celebrated in countries that previously formed part of the British Empire – so it’s celebrated in the likes of Hong Kong. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, South Africa and Bermuda.

In many of those countries it’s known primarily as a shopping holiday similar to Black Friday – and is the day on which many sales begin.

In other countries the day is still a holiday from work but it has a more religious significance – with Romania, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Scandinavia marking it as a second Christmas Day.

It is also celebrated as St Stephen’s Day in Ireland and in the Catalan region of Spain.

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