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Boxing Day

The day after Christmas Day

TRANSLATION

Boxing Day = Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

"A salad is great for balancing those decadent Christmas desserts. Whether it's a stunning ham centrepiece or a mash-up of Christmas leftovers, we've got a selection of BOXING DAY recipes to impress family and friends."

Boxing Day recipes - House & Garden

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Boxing Day
noun (UK)

Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries; mainly ones historically connected to the UK (such as Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) and in some European countries.

In Germany it is known as "Zweite Feiertag” (which means 'second celebration') and also as “Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag”.

Boxing Day was started in the UK about 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day.

It might have been the Romans that first brought this type of collecting box to the UK, but they used them to collect money for the betting games which they played during their winter celebrations!

In The Netherlands, some collection boxes were made out of a rough pottery called 'earthenware' and were shaped like pigs. Perhaps this is where we get the term 'Piggy Bank'!
 
It was also traditional that servants got the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families on Boxing Day. Before World War II, it was common for working people (such as milkmen and butchers) to travel round their delivery places and collect their Christmas box or tip.

There are also often sports played on Boxing Day in the UK, especially horse racing and football matches! It's also when shops traditionally had big sales after Christmas in the UK (like Black Friday in the USA).

The 26th December is also St. Stephen's Day and just to confuse things, there are two St. Stephens in history! The first St. Stephen is believed to have been a very early follower of Jesus and he is said to have been the first Christian martyr.

The second St. Stephen was a Missionary, in Sweden, in the 800s. He loved all animals but particularly horses (and perhaps that why there is traditionally horse racing on Boxing Day).

St. Stephen's Day (or 'the feast of Stephen’) and the Christmas carol 'Good King Wenceslas' are thus closely associated with Boxing Day.

Sources:

- Brown, Cameron - Christmas Facts, Figures & Fun: Facts
- Boxing Day Origins" - Snopes.com
- Boxing-day - OED Online
- Encyclopædia Britannica - "Boxing day"
- Wikipedia

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