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When is the Boxing Day Celebrated

When is the Boxing Day Celebrated

A short write-up on Boxing Day which will tell you when it is celebrated in different parts of the world, and why. If you have been wondering why this day is not a public holiday in the United States, this is where all your doubts will be cleared.
CelebrationJoy Staff
Boxing Day is a public holiday in parts of Europe and the British Commonwealth, which is usually observed on the day after the Christmas Day. It may sound a bit confusing, but it is not always observed on the 26th of December. There are rare instances when it is observed on the 27th or 28th of the month, instead of the 26th. Now all that can leave you a bit confused about date - especially if it is not a public holiday in your region.
Boxing Day
When is it Celebrated?
As we mentioned earlier, Boxing Day is celebrated on the next day of Christmas, i.e. the 26th of December, and hence is also referred to as the '2nd day of Christmas'. Even though 26th December is the day on which it is celebrated - with quite a few countries observing it alongside St Stephens Day irrespective of which day of the week it falls on, there are some stipulations which are followed when it falls on weekends.

In some countries, Boxing Day public holiday is observed on Monday or Tuesday when 26th December is a Sunday - which happened in 2010. Why Tuesday? Because when Boxing Day falls on Sunday, Christmas falls on Saturday, which is a weekend holiday. Therefore both holidays are compensated for on Monday and Tuesday respectively, i.e. Christmas holiday is moved to Monday, 27th December, and Boxing Day holiday is moved to Tuesday, 28th December. 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 believed to be the day of worship. In 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 below is a list of days on which Boxing Day occurs between 2011-2020, and you will have to cross-check it with your local holidays to verify when you have the Boxing Day public holiday.
  • Monday, 26th December 2011
  • Wednesday, 26th December 2012
  • Thursday, 26th December 2013
  • Friday, 26th December 2014
  • Saturday, 26th December 2015
  • Monday, 26th December 2016
  • Tuesday, 26th December 2017
  • Wednesday, 26th December 2018
  • Thursday, 26th December 2019
  • Saturday, 26th December 2020
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. In Europe, the servants who were required to work on the day of Christmas were given a holiday on the next day by their employers. On this day, the employers also gave them some gifts which were packed in boxes. The name Boxing Day is believed to have derived from this very practice (and it is not related to the sport of boxing - a misconception that many people have, in any way.)

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. That doesn't really come as a surprise, as 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 exactly why it preferred to stay away from English influences. Americans do have their own holidays which are similar to the Boxing Day - Thanksgiving for instance; may be the authorities 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.