DEC 26 celebrates Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day

A-Celebration-of-Women-Feature-Banner-e1352628808407 (1) 512

boxing-day-traditions

Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers, in the United Kingdom, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, South Africa, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and other former British colonies. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December.

In South Africa, Boxing Day was renamed Day of Goodwill in 1994. Due to the Roman Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar, the day is known as St. Stephen’s Day to Catholics, and in Italy, Finland, and Alsace and Moselle in France. It is also known as both St. Stephen’s Day and the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day in Ireland. In many European countries, including notably Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, 26 December is celebrated as the Second Christmas Day.

The Demidoff Altarpiece: Saint StephenBoxing Day is a secular holiday that is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, the day after Christmas Day. 26 December is also St. Stephen’s Day, a religious holiday.

When 26 December falls on a Sunday, Boxing Day in many Commonwealth countries and former British dominions is moved to 27 December. In the UK, Boxing Day is a bank holiday. St. Stephen’s Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, is a Christian saint’s day to commemorate Saint Stephen, celebrated on 26 December in the Western Church and 27 December in the Eastern Church.

Many Eastern Orthodox churches adhere to the Julian calendar and mark St. Stephen’s Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on 9 January of the Gregorian calendar used in secular contexts.

It commemorates St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr.

It is an official public holiday in Alsace, Austria, Balearic Islands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Catalonia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moselle, Norway, Philippines[citation needed], Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden. The date is also a public holiday in those countries that celebrate Boxing Day on the day in addition to or instead of St. Stephen’s Day, such as Canada and the United Kingdom.

What do people do?

Many people generally spend the day quietly with family members or close friends. Some Christians attend special church services to remember St Stephen’s life. Other people may visit a theater to see a pantomime. Pantomimes are musical-comedy productions based on fairy tales and aimed at families. They incorporate audience participation, cross-dressing, double entendre and references to recent local events.

In some parts of Ireland, children go from door to door with a wren (a small bird) in a cage or a model wren on a stick. They may also sing, play music or perform traditional dances. In some areas, boys may dress as girls or women. Many hope to collect money for community or school projects or charity.

If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is given as a substitute bank holiday. On the occasion when Christmas Day is on a Saturday and 26 December on a Sunday, the following Monday, 27 December, is the substitute bank holiday for Boxing Day and Tuesday, 28 December, the substitute bank holiday for Christmas Day.

In Scotland, Boxing Day has been specified as an additional bank holiday since 1974, by Royal Proclamation under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971.

In Ireland – when the island as a whole was part of the United Kingdom – the Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of St. Stephen as a non-movable public holiday on 26 December. Since the creation of the Republic of Ireland following partition in 1920, Northern Ireland – being part of the United Kingdom – officially reverted to use of the British name ‘Boxing Day’.

In Australia, Boxing Day is a federal public holiday. In the Australian state of South Australia, 28 December is a public holiday known as Proclamation Day and Boxing Day is not normally a public holiday. The holiday for Proclamation Day is observed on the first weekday after Christmas Day or the Christmas Day holiday. Nowadays Boxing Day is popular in Australia as the first day of a Test cricket match held at the MCG and the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race. A Test match is also often held in South Africa starting on Boxing Day.

In New Zealand Boxing Day is a statutory holiday; penalty rates and lieu time are provided to employees who work on the day.

In Canada, Boxing Day is a federal statutory holiday. Government offices, banks and post offices/delivery are closed. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day was a statutory holiday, and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week.

In the US, Boxing Day is celebrated as a public holiday in some, mainly southern, states: Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas.

In the UK, Canada, and some states of Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) in the US. Boxing Day sales are common in Canada. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest amount of returns. In the UK in 2009 it was estimated that up to 12 million shoppers appeared at the sales (a rise of almost 20% compared to 2008, although this was also affected by the fact that the VAT was about to revert to 17.5% from 1 January, following the temporary reduction to 15%).

Happy-Boxing-Day-Pictures-1024x921Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores. It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items.

Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay home and avoid the hectic shopping experience. The local media often cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queuing up, providing video of shoppers queuing and later leaving with their purchased items. Many retailers have implemented practices aimed at managing large numbers of shoppers. They may limit entrances, restrict the number of patrons in a store at a time, provide tickets to people at the head of the queue to guarantee them a hot ticket item or canvass queued-up shoppers to inform them of inventory limitations.

In recent years, retailers have expanded deals to “Boxing Week“.

While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year’s Eve. Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers were holding early promotions due to a weak economy. Canada’s Boxing Day has often been compared with the American Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas.

In some areas of Canada, particularly in Atlantic Canada and parts of Northern Ontario, most retailers are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day, either by provincial law or municipal bylaw, or instead by informal agreement among major retailers to provide a day of relaxation following Christmas Day. In these areas, sales otherwise scheduled for 26 December are moved to the 27th. The city council of Greater Sudbury, Ontario, which was the largest city in Canada to maintain this restriction as of the early 2010’s, formally repealed its store hours bylaw on 9 December 2014.

In 2009, many retailers with both online and High Street stores launched their online sales on Christmas Eve and their High Street sales on Boxing Day.

Boxing-Day-England-Traditions

A-Celebration-of-Women-Feature-Banner-e1352628808407 (1) 512

Speak Your Mind

*

Copyright 2014 @ A Celebration of Women™ The World Hub for Women Leaders That Care