Boxing Day is celebrated in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a few other Commonwealth countries.
Boxing Day originated in Great Britain in the 19th century, and is celebrated on December 26, a day after Christmas and refers to the Christmas boxes.
As was the tradition at the time, tradesmen and servants would be given Christmas boxes on December 26, which would be cash or goods, as a token for their services. But, in the 21st century, the character of Boxing Day has undergone a change and it has come to be associated more with shopping and sports.
Though many people like to spend the day at home with family and friends, others indulge in shopping. In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day can more or less be compared to the Black Friday observed in the United States. One of the biggest shopping days in the United Kingdom, Boxing Day sees huge crowds of shoppers at departmental store sifting through the products being sold at huge discounts. But, a few residents in the rural part of the country still stick with the tradition of fox-hunting on this day.
It is a great day for sports as football and rugby union matches are held on this day in the United Kingdom. Test cricket matches are played on Boxing day in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. The Hobart Yacht Race, the biggest annual yacht race in the world, is also held on Boxing day in Australia.
In the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is a bank holiday, while in Australia it is a federal public holiday. Boxing Day is a statutory holiday in New Zealand and in Canada it is a federal statutory holiday.