Boxing Day, is a holiday celebrated the 26th of December, since 1871, in many Anglophone countries. In the liturgical calendar, it marks the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Tradition requires charity and the distribution of gifts to the neediest on this holiday. But since the beginning of the 21st century, Boxing Day has mainly referred to a day when many customers rush to the shopping streets to buy discounted clothes, which is often compared to American Black Friday. This is referred to as a post-Christmas sale, Boxing Day sale or post-Christmas sale.
According to some studies, Boxing Day dates back to the 15th century, but the exact origins of this holiday are still uncertain. Many people celebrate this day without knowing its exact origin. The first history refers to the religious origin of this holiday. Stephen, known as the first Christian martyr, was chosen by the apostles to distribute alms to the poor. For a long time, this idea of charity and almsgiving has been associated with December 26 and is found in most theories.
Another hypothesis is that the origin of Boxing Day dates back to the 15th century, a period of great discoveries during which maritime explorations multiplied. During this period, many superstitious sailors bring a box on board in which they deposit money as a sign of protection for their adventures. This box is sealed until they return. If by chance, they return safe and sound from their travels, the box and its offerings are given to the priests of the village who distribute them to the neediest. At the same time, many English-speaking churches also provide an offering box in which pilgrims and other people may deposit money. This box remains sealed until December 26. Once reopened, the money is distributed to the needy of the Church. From a secular point of view, other sources contest the religious origins of December 26 and argue that this commemoration was born in the nineteenth century in high-bourgeois society. Traditionally, aristocrats allow their servants to take time off on Boxing Day to enjoy their family and friends. Before leaving, the host offers them a box full of presents and food, most of the time, the remains of the Christmas meal.
For most people, December 26th is a day for family reunions during which the remains of the Christmas feast are served. For others, this day is synonymous with shopping. Since over two decades, the first day of the winter sales in Great Britain has started on December 26. The shops then open their doors very early in the morning and welcome hundreds of customers until closing time. Many of them spend the night of December 25 in front of the store doors to be the first to benefit from the best promotions. These range from anywhere up to crazy 80% reduction. For those who are neither interested in family gatherings nor shopping, there is the famous fox hunt. Traditionally, the rider wears a red suit symbol of "Boxing Day" and chases the fox with his herd of dogs. Nowadays, this tradition is limited to hunting prey without harming it, given that the English government has formally prohibited fox hunting since 2005.