|2016||26 Dec||Mon||Boxing Day||National|
Boxing Day is always the day after Christmas. It traditionally occurs on December 26 but is not a fixed-date public holiday, meaning the holiday can be moved to the next weekday if the 26th is on a Saturday or Sunday. December 26th is also celebrated as Saint Stephen’s Day.
Although Boxing Day is a public holiday, more and more shops trade on Boxing Day and it is fast becoming a day when post-Christmas sales begin, especially in the cities. In London, many attractions, museums and ice-skating rinks are open.
Boxing Day has several origins, all of which have some validity. One is that Boxing Day relates to a Christmas Box that was carried on ships. A priest would pray over the box before it left and Mass would be held regularly on shore during the journey time of the ship. Sailors on board would add a coin to the box and if the ship returned safely the box of coins would be given to the church in thanks for their prayers.
Another story is that the Alms Boxes in churches were opened on Boxing Day and their contents distributed to the poor.
Today, the family meal on Boxing Day is usually a more relaxed version of Christmas Lunch and may include leftover ham and turkey, rehashed vegetables, fruit mince pies with brandy butter, and more of yesterday’s Christmas cake.
Families use the day as a casual day of catching up, often visiting the people they had not been able to see on the day before.
Boxing Day is also a great reason for sport. Football and Rugby League matches are played around the country; the King George VI Chase is held in Surrey; and the biggest mounted hunts of the year are held – ‘fox’ hunts without foxes (scent trails are laid).