Boxing Day

Boxing Day Quick Facts - DE

AKA Name2. Weihnachtsfeiertag
HashtagsCompiled on#Boxingday
Related Hashtags#AusvSA, #Christmas, #MerryChristmas, #AUSvsSA, #Premierleague, #Boxing
2023 Date26 December 2023
2024 Date26 December 2024

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a public holiday and its purpose includes giving gifts to service providers and charitable organizations. Nowadays, it is also closely associated with shopping as well as sporting events, with prominent activities including horse and motor racing, rugby, and football matches.

Historically, Boxing Day derives its name from the custom of giving Christmas boxes - small cash or gift tokens to employees, servants, and apprentices in Great Britain. While the origins of Boxing Day date back to the Middle Ages, it became an official public holiday in the United Kingdom in the 19th century. For people in Germany, the concept of Boxing Day is less familiar due to historical and cultural differences.

In Germany, the day after Christmas is similarly observed as a public holiday, called Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag, or second Christmas Day, and in Austria, it is known as Stefanitag. While the German-speaking countries do not specifically celebrate Boxing Day in its traditional sense, they share an emphasis on familial gatherings, relaxation, and providing for the less fortunate. Germans typically spend the second Christmas Day with their family or go to church, reflecting on the importance of love, unity, and charity during the festive season.

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Top facts about Boxing Day

  • 26 December is also St Stephen’s Day; commemorating the first Christian martyr Saint Stephen. According to the Acts of the Apostles Stephen was a deacon accused of blasphemy for his teachings. He was stoned to death and is now venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Orthodox churches.
  • Boxing Day is one of the 6 bank holidays in the UK. The others are Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter, Whit Monday and the August Bank Holiday.
  • In some rural communities, horses are blessed on St. Stephen's Day in a tradition called Stephaniritt or Stephansritt. Riders, often dressed in traditional attire, participate in a horseback procession to receive the blessings at the church.
  • St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is considered the patron saint of horses in Germany. St. Stephen's day coincides with Boxing Day in Germany.

Boxing Day Top Things to Do

  • Watch some sport! There is top-tier football and rugby throughout the weekend and in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa cricket Test matches begin. The King George VI Chase, a horse race at Kempton Park also runs; it is known as the 2nd most prestigious race in the calendar.
  • In the UK, it is tradition to take a walk in the crisp winter air and enjoy the outdoors. If you happen to be in the UK try the Snowdonia range (Wales), the Lake District (northern England), the Peak District (the English Midlands) or just round the local streets. You’ve probably eaten a lot over the last few days, so maybe go easy.
  • Go for ice-skating or winter hiking if the weather permits. The Black Forest and Harz Mountains are popular winter hiking spots.
  • Many museums in Germany remain open during Boxing Day, including Deutsches Museum in Munich, Pergamon Museum in Berlin and Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

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