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Countries that Celebrate Boxing Day 2024

Boxing Day, observed annually on December 26th, is a holiday with origins in Great Britain and is celebrated in many countries that were once part of the UK. Traditionally associated with gift-giving, its modern iteration often involves tipping service workers like postal workers and door attendants as appreciation for their work throughout the year. It's also known as a major shopping day due to sales and discounts.

The holiday is marked by various traditions worldwide. In the UK, employers often give gifts to employees, and it's customary for offices to close, giving servants and workers the day off. In Australia, the day is observed nationwide, except in South Australia where it's referred to as Proclamation Day. New Zealand celebrates with beach outings, BBQs, and sports events like cricket and the Ellerslie Boxing Day Races.

In Canada, Boxing Day is a federal statutory holiday in ten provinces and a provincial statutory holiday in Ontario and others. South Africa celebrates the Day of Goodwill instead, focusing on family and friends. Scotland, which began observing Boxing Day only since 1871, formerly called it Sweetie Scone Day, a day for giving sweets to servants.

In Nigeria, a traditional celebration includes employers presenting boxes of goodies to their employees. The Caribbean Islands treat it as a national holiday, historically the only day off for enslaved people annually. Greenlanders use the day to honor service providers, help the less fortunate, and enjoy Christmas leftovers.

Some countries like Denmark and Belize celebrate Saint Stephen's Day instead of Boxing Day. Meanwhile, in Uganda, Fiji, and Hong Kong, Boxing Day remains a national holiday dedicated to helping the less fortunate and spending time with loved ones.

  • Boxing Day is celebrated on Dec. 26 in the UK and many British Commonwealth countries, such as Canada and Australia.
  • Boxing Day is often conflated with St. Stephen's Day, which also traditionally takes place on Dec. 26. However, the two holidays are clearly distinct from one another, with different origins and traditions.
  • The most popular theory on the origin of Boxing Day postulates that it descends from a centuries-old tradition in which household servants, who had to work on Christmas Day, were given boxes of gifts and a day off to celebrate with their families on the day after Christmas.

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