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When is the Boxing Day Celebrated

Abhijit Naik Dec 17, 2018
Here is a short story about the 'Boxing Day' which narrates when it is celebrated in different parts of the world, and why; which is interesting. If you have been wondering why this day is not a public holiday in the United States, continue reading to get all your doubts cleared.
Boxing Day is usually observed on the day after the Christmas Day; i.e. December, 26th; and is a public holiday in parts of Europe and the British Commonwealth. But, there are rare instances when it is observed on the 27th or 28th of the month, instead of the 26th.

Boxing Day

When Is It Celebrated?

As mentioned earlier, Boxing Day is celebrated on the next day of Christmas and hence is known as the '2nd day of Christmas'. Even though it's celebrated on 26th December; few countries observe it alongside 'St. Stephens Day' irrespective of which day of the week it falls on. Some stipulations are followed when it falls on weekends.
Some countries observe Boxing Day as a public holiday on Monday or Tuesday if 25th December falls on 'Saturday' (like during 2010). Why Tuesday? Because when Christmas falls on Saturday, the Boxing Day falls on Sunday which is a weekend holiday. So, to compensate the both; they are observed on Monday, 27th December, and Tuesday, 28th December respectively.
Basically, everything depends on which region of the world you stay in. If you happen to reside in a country wherein Boxing Day is observed as a statutory holiday - Canada for instance, then Boxing Day holiday is observed on Tuesday, 28th December.
Situation #1
  • Saturday 25th Christmas (Weekend Holiday)
  • Sunday 26th Boxing Day (Weekend Holiday)
  • Monday 27th Christmas Public Holiday
  • Tuesday 28th Boxing Day Public Holiday
  • Saturday 25th Christmas Public Holiday
  • Sunday 26th Boxing Day (Weekend Holiday)
  • Monday 27th Boxing Day Public Holiday
In some countries, Boxing Day is not observed on Sunday as Sunday is considered as the day of worship. If Boxing Day falls on Saturday, the public holiday is moved to Monday, 28th December. On the other hand, if it falls on Monday, it is observed on the same day, but the Christmas holiday is moved to Tuesday, 27th December.
Situation #2
  • Saturday 26th Boxing Day
  • Sunday 27th Public Holiday
  • Monday 28th Boxing Day Public Holiday
Situation #3
  • Sunday 25th Christmas (Weekend Public Holiday)
  • Monday 26th Boxing Day Public Holiday
  • Tuesday 27th Christmas Public Holiday
Given ahead is a list of days in years from 2018 to 2028 on which the Boxing Day will fall. Cross-check these days with your local holidays to verify when you have the Boxing Day as a public holiday.
  • Wednesday, 26th December 2018
  • Thursday, 26th December 2019
  • Saturday, 26th December 2020
  • Sunday, 26 December 2021
  • Monday, 26 December 2022
  • Tuesday, 26 December 2023
  • Thursday, 26 December 2024
  • Friday, 26 December 2025
  • Saturday, 26 December 2026
  • Sunday, 26 December 2027
  • Tuesday, 26 December 2028

Why Is It Celebrated?

Though it is difficult to trace the exact origin of the Boxing Day tradition, it is widely believed that it started somewhere in Middle Ages. There are several theories as to why it is a holiday, and how its name came into existence.
The name 'Boxing Day' is believed to have derived from the very practice in Europe of giving the servants, who were required to work on the day of Christmas, some things as gift packed in 'boxes'; along with a holiday the next day by their employers. The holiday isn't in any way related to the sport of boxing - a misconception that many people have.
With time, the tradition of giving gifts evolved as people started giving gifts to people who rendered any kind of service. According to another theory on Boxing Day history, this day (which is also celebrated as St. Stephan's Day) was the day when alms boxes in churches were opened, and the money was distributed to the poor and the needy.
Eventually, the tradition spread from England to various other nations of the British Commonwealth - including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Greenland, Netherlands, Switzerland, etc.

Boxing Day in the United States of America

Even though Boxing Day is not observed as a federal holiday in the United States, the tradition of giving gifts is practiced in various regions of the US - particularly the areas along the US-Canadian border.
Boxing Day is a popular public holiday in Canada - which happens to be a member state of the Commonwealth of the Nations. There is no concrete explanation as to why it is not celebrated in the United States, but the fact that it is an English tradition has perhaps kept it away from the American society.
Interestingly, most of the countries which celebrate it - including Canada, are the ones which were ruled by the English at one point of time. But obviously, the traditions of these countries have a hint of British influence, and Boxing Day celebrations is one of the best examples of the same.
America fought against the English for its independence, and perhaps that's why it preferred to stay away from their influences. Americans have their own holidays which are similar to this day - like Thanksgiving; may be they don't want to add to their list of public holidays.
The importance of this day is not just restricted to a public holiday or giving gifts - but goes well beyond the same. In some pats of the world, it is celebrated as a shopping day in a manner quite similar to the US tradition of Thanksgiving.
It also has a crucial role to play in the world of sports - with Australia having a Boxing Day test match, England having its Boxing Day Premier League matches and Canada starting their ice hockey season on this very day.