Christianity Sections

Introduction Beliefs Comparison Charts Denominations Facts History Holidays Overview Biographies Practices and Rituals Symbols Texts Timeline

New and Featured in Christianity Section

Ten Plagues of the Exodus

History of Christmas Trees

New and Featured On Religion Facts


Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism Comparison Chart

Religion Facts offers downloadable charts. Click for more information.

Related books

Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

Cross & Livingstone

Mere Christianity

C.S. Lewis

Introduction to Christianity

Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Christian Theology

Alister McGrath

Christian Beliefs

Wayne Grudem

Catechism of the Catholic Church

U.S. Catholic Church

A Summary of Christian History

Robert Andrew Baker

Jesus Among Other Gods

Ravi Zacharias

published: 1/4/05
updated: 5/14/13

Boxing Day

What is Boxing Day?

In Christianity, Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26 in Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. When December 26 falls on a weekend, the following Monday is observed as the public holiday.

Traditionally, Boxing Day was a holiday on which servants, apprentices and the poor were presented with gifts. The origin of the name is not known for certain, but it may derive from the opening of alms boxes that had been placed in churches over the holidays for distribution to the poor.

Unknown history

Another explanation is it is named for the gift boxes that service employees opened on the day after Christmas, since they had to work on Christmas Day to enable their employers to observe the holiday. The origin of the holiday is unknown, but was probably first observed in the Middle Ages.

Today, the tradition of giving bonuses to service employees at Christmas time continues, though it is now usually done before Christmas. As December 26 is also the feast day of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and patron saint of horses, Boxing Day has become a day for sporting events like horse racing, fox hunting and rugby.

Recommended for You

More on Christianity

More Christian Holidays

World Religions - Main pages

Christian beliefs

Christian denominations

Christian fast facts

Christian history

Christian holidays

Christian biographies

Christian practices

Christian symbols






Mardi Gras

Palm Sunday

Saint Patrick's Day

Valentine's Day






Jehovah's Witnesses




  1. "Boxing Day."  Encyclopædia Britannica. 2004.  Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 
More Information