What countries celebrate Boxing Day?

What countries celebrate Boxing Day?

In this article, we will explore the tradition of Boxing Day and discover the countries that celebrate this holiday. Boxing Day, which falls on December 26th each year, is widely celebrated in various parts of the world. It originated in the United Kingdom and is now observed in many Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several others. Join us as we delve into the origins, customs, and festivities associated with Boxing Day across different nations.

History of Boxing Day

Origins of Boxing Day

Boxing Day is widely celebrated in several countries, particularly those that were once part of the British Empire. The exact origins of this holiday are still debated, but there are a few theories that shed light on its beginnings.

One theory suggests that Boxing Day originated in the Middle Ages when churches would open their collection boxes on the day after Christmas to distribute the contents to the poor. This act of giving to those in need became associated with the day, hence the name "Boxing" Day.

Another theory relates Boxing Day to the tradition of giving Christmas boxes to servants and tradespeople. In the past, employers and wealthy families would prepare boxes filled with gifts, money, or leftover food from the Christmas festivities. These boxes were then given to the staff as a token of appreciation for their services throughout the year.

Evolution of Boxing Day traditions

Over time, Boxing Day has evolved to incorporate various customs and traditions. While the exact practices differ among countries, the underlying theme of generosity and giving remains consistent.

In the United Kingdom and some Commonwealth nations, such as Canada and Australia, Boxing Day is a public holiday. It is typically observed on December 26th and is marked by various activities. One popular tradition is attending sporting events, particularly cricket matches or horse races. Families may also take part in outdoor activities like hiking or going for a walk in the countryside.

In recent years, Boxing Day has also become synonymous with shopping. Many retailers offer significant discounts and sales on this day, attracting throngs of eager shoppers looking for post-Christmas bargains.

In other countries, such as South Africa and New Zealand, Boxing Day is also a public holiday, but the traditions may vary. For instance, in South Africa, it is a day for charity events and sporting tournaments, while in New Zealand, it is a time for relaxation and spending quality time with family and friends.

Overall, Boxing Day has transformed from its origins as a day of charitable giving to encompass a broader range of activities and traditions. Regardless of the specific customs observed in each country, the underlying spirit of generosity and camaraderie continues to make Boxing Day a beloved holiday in numerous nations.

Countries that celebrate Boxing Day

United Kingdom

Boxing Day is widely celebrated in the United Kingdom on December 26th. It is considered a public holiday, and people eagerly look forward to this day after Christmas. The origin of Boxing Day in the UK dates back to the Middle Ages when the wealthy would give their servants gifts or boxes filled with food, money, or other goods as a token of appreciation. Today, it has evolved into a day of relaxation, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in various traditions and activities.


Similar to the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is also celebrated in Canada on December 26th. It is recognized as a statutory holiday in most provinces and territories across the country. Canadians often take advantage of the sales and discounts offered by retailers on this day, making it a popular time for shopping. Many people also use this day to visit family, enjoy winter activities, or simply unwind after the bustling Christmas celebrations.


In Australia, Boxing Day is a public holiday observed on December 26th. It is a time for Australians to recover from the Christmas festivities and enjoy a day off work. Traditionally, Boxing Day is associated with cricket, as the famous Boxing Day Test Match is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This sporting event attracts thousands of spectators and is considered a significant part of Australian culture. Apart from cricket, people also engage in other outdoor activities, such as beach outings or barbecues, taking advantage of the pleasant summer weather.

Boxing Day is celebrated in various other countries around the world, but the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia particularly embrace this holiday with unique customs and traditions. It is a day of relaxation, leisure, and enjoying time with loved ones after the joyous Christmas season.

Boxing Day customs and activities

Shopping and sales

Boxing Day is widely known for its extravagant shopping and sales. It has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year in several countries. Retailers offer significant discounts and promotions, attracting shoppers who are eager to take advantage of the post-Christmas deals. Whether it’s electronics, clothing, or household items, consumers flock to stores both physically and online to find the best bargains. Many people plan their shopping strategy in advance, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation for the big day.

Sporting events

In addition to shopping, sporting events play a significant role in Boxing Day traditions. Football (soccer) matches are particularly popular in countries like England, Scotland, and Australia. It has become a long-standing tradition for families and friends to gather around the television or head to the stadiums to watch their favorite teams compete. The atmosphere is electric, with passionate fans cheering for their teams and creating a vibrant sense of camaraderie. Boxing Day fixtures are eagerly anticipated by sports enthusiasts and provide a delightful way to continue the holiday celebrations.

Charitable activities

While Boxing Day is often associated with shopping and sports, it is also a day that encourages acts of kindness and giving back to the community. Many individuals and organizations engage in charitable activities on this day. It is common to see people volunteering their time at local shelters, soup kitchens, or participating in fundraising events for various causes. Donations to charities and non-profit organizations also surge during this time, as people embrace the spirit of generosity that the holiday season brings. Boxing Day serves as a reminder to extend a helping hand to those in need and make a positive impact in society.

Overall, Boxing Day customs and activities encompass a diverse range of experiences. From indulging in shopping extravaganzas to enjoying thrilling sporting events and participating in acts of charity, this holiday provides something for everyone to enjoy and embrace the joyous spirit of the season.

In conclusion, Boxing Day is primarily celebrated in countries that were once part of the British Empire, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several other Commonwealth nations. While the exact traditions and activities may vary from country to country, the essence of the holiday remains the same – a day to relax, spend time with loved ones, and give back to those in need. Whether it’s shopping sales, attending sporting events, or participating in charitable activities, Boxing Day is a cherished holiday that brings people together and fosters a sense of community and generosity.

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