Boxing Day


Boxing Day is a public holiday observed in many Commonwealth countries on 26 December. In many European countries including Finland it is also a holiday, called St Stephen’s Day (Tapaninpäivä in Finnish) or the Second Day of Christmas.

According to one theory, the name originates from the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches during the Christmas period.  After Christmas, the donations collected in these boxes were distributed to poor people. Another theory mentions that it was a custom among members of the merchant class to give boxes of food stuffs to servants the day after Christmas, as an expression of gratitude for their work.

In most European countries today, shops are closed. A designated holiday in Canada as well, all stores used to be closed like on Christmas Day. As a child, I remember the big family dinners at a different home every night from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, and again New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. As new immigrants, we all lived in tiny homes, so we were crowded but very festive and warm.

But since the prevalence of Sunday shopping Boxing Day has become the biggest shopping SALE day of the year for most retailers. Many years ago we occasionally did do a bit of shopping on this day, but we have since had no desire to partake in this frenzy. Pity the people who have to work in the stores today instead of being home with their families. In the USA it is also a huge sale day though the term Boxing Day is unheard of.

Also today, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami of 2004 is being commemorated around the world.

Wishing everyone a good peaceful day!

December 26, 2005 in Culture, Finland, Estonia & Finno-Ugric by Marja-Leena