All around the world, December is a month to celebrate! Many countries like Japan, China, Norway, Mexico and South Africa all have their own holidays, festivals and traditions at this time of year. The same is true for people in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These places all share one unusual holiday on Dec. 26: Boxing Day.
Boxing Day has been celebrated for hundreds of years, but the unusual part is that no one really knows how it started. Many believe it started in England in the Middle Ages, when rich landowners would give their servants a box of gifts as a holiday bonus the day after Christmas.
Another origin theory is that many churches would provide a box for donations around the holiday season. On Dec. 26, these boxes would be broken open and their contents divided among the poor. Historians can prove that both theories are rooted in fact but still aren’t sure which one inspired the holiday.
Today, Boxing Day is a day of giving, relaxing at home watching sports, and…shopping. The day is a public holiday so many people in England and Canada use the day off to shop sales similar to our post-Thanksgiving Black Friday sales or stay home to watch local soccer and rugby rivals on TV. Wait a minute! A day of giving, a day off, and shopping? That sounds like a pretty great holiday to me! I wonder why this hasn’t caught on in the US yet?!?
This post was inspired by a story included in one of our level 2 One Minute Reader Books, “Fun Festivals.”