December 26th is Boxing Day and is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. Boxing Day originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria.
Boxing Day is a bank holiday. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday is a bank holiday. If Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, the following Monday and Tuesday are bank holidays. All schools and many organizations are closed during this period. Some may close for the whole week between Christmas and New Year.
Many stores are open and start their post-Christmas sales on Boxing Day. Public transport services may run on special timetables. Many people travel to visit family or friends in this period so bus, plane and train services can be very busy.
A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.
Origins of the Boxing Day
Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
A box to collect money for the poor traditionally and placed in Churches on Christmas day and opened the next day – Boxing Day.
Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. The voyage a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents then given to the poor.
Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of the day, but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to this in its usual sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn. But, since it is now forbidden to chase the fox with dogs, they now follow artificially laid trails.
In recent times, the day has become synonymous with many other sports. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the country. Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself.
Many top football teams also play on Boxing Day.
Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of silly activities. These include bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events.
Another ‘sport’ to emerge in recent years is shopping. Sadly, what was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January, post-New Year, but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now begin on Boxing Day.
But ultimately, Boxing Day food is a way to make leftovers luxurious. Try potted cheese with dried cranberries, a creamy turkey soup, or Diana Henry’s ideas for mincemeat, smoked salmon and more. You could make a Christmas cheeseboard. … Just place leftover meat, potatoes and vegetables in a roasting tin.
New Year can be witnessed with fireworks explosives sparkles of color filling the night sky by the seaside. To visit us any of the hotels in Portugal, Spain or UK check out www.muthuhotels.com for the menu and book your New year getaway trip with us.