26 DecMondayBoxing Day United Kingdom

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Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas each year, so it can be considered as an extension of Christmas celebrations.

In the UK, the first written mention of Boxing Day is from the 1830s, during the reign of Queen Victoria. However, it is known that Boxing Day’s roots go much further back. In Medieval times, lords would reward their servants with boxed packages as a Christmas gift for all the services they have done throughout the year. Over time, this tradition kept going but it turned into a day during which employers give presents to their workers. In addition to that, some economically strong people buy and donate gifts to the church on December 26th and the church gives these gifts to the people in need.

Today, Boxing Day has another meaning which is major sports events, much like Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Fox hunting is the most traditional sport of this day. Even the symbol of Boxing Day is a picture of a red fox being chased down by a redcoat on horseback surrounded by white hounds. However, thanks to animal rights activists, killing the fox in a fox hunt is banned now. People are now just chasing the foxes for fun and some humorous people even chase human beings as a game. Boxing Day also has other popular activities like horse races, soccer games, cricket tournaments, and rugby matches.

Also, Boxing Day is the beginning of the post-Christmas shopping season in the UK. You can see huge sales in almost every shop. By the time it is 5 am, most shops will have opened and there will even be shoppers waiting in the line to maybe be able to get a door prize in such an early hour. Furthermore, the importance of Boxing Day is increasing because the week that covers just before Christmas up to New Year’s Eve is starting to be called “Boxing Week”.

Boxing Day has a different use for some people as well. Since people are tired after the hectic Christmas season, some people use Boxing Day to relax at home with friends and family. Many others go for long walks or visit some parks for relaxation. Also, most of the time, you don’t even have to cook for the day thanks to the leftovers of the Christmas meal.

The UK is not the only place Boxing Day is celebrated. However, other places that acknowledge Boxing Day are all British Commonwealth countries or former British colonies. So, they have all adopted the holiday from the UK. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, and the Bahamas are all examples of the countries that enjoy Boxing Day. The fact that it is only celebrated in the UK related countries is mostly because Boxing Day coincides with the Feast of St. Stephen which is a feast-day celebrated in many European countries including the UK. St. Stephen’s Day is a “church holiday” which aims to remind people of the first recorded martyr of Christianity.

If you decide to visit the UK on the Boxing Day, there are a few activities for you to participate in.

  • There are a number of sports events going on and you may want to attend some of them. Especially King George VI Chase and the demolition-derby-style auto race. King George VI Chase is a horse race based in Kempton Park Racecourse in the town of Surrey and the auto race takes place in London’s Wimbledon Stadium.
  • There is a very daring choice as well. If you are feeling brave enough, you may try to go for a swim in the icy-cold ocean as many fun people do during Boxing Day. After you get out of the freezing ocean, you huddle around a campfire on the beach and chat with other swimmers. You may even get to be friends with brave people like yourself. Many of the swimming events raise money for charities, so any amount of donation would be greatly appreciated, and your donation counts even if your money is wet and salty as well.
  • If you like shopping, Boxing Day may be a great day to go and visit some stores in London. Westfield, Covent Garden, and West End are some of the best neighbourhoods to shop in but you can find a nice shop to wander in all over the city. You will find sleek boutiques and luxury stores on Kings Road and Bond Street. Many of the best bargains can be found on Oxford and Regent Streets. If you are looking for an electronic device or part, Tottenham Court Road may be the place you are looking for with its stores full of electronics. Of course, you can shop anywhere you want and probably find everything you need; however, knowing where you can find them easily may help your shopping.
  • You may want to get in the Christmas spirit and decide to give some of your time or money to a charity. There are many food drives and soup kitchens try to play their parts and some people donate blood in order to help.

Keep in mind that since the origin of Boxing Day is to reward the worker, you should make sure that you tip everyone who provides you with service.

Boxing Day is just after Christmas time so airlines can get pretty busy. Therefore, you may want to book your flight early in order not to be forced to change your plans. Local transformation gets very complicated as well, so, you may want to plan your route beforehand.

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