In 2015, Boxing Day will be celebrated on Saturday 26th December, with a replacement holiday on Monday 28th December.
Boxing Day occurs the day after Christmas, on December 26. The date is also known as St Stephen’s Day, celebrating not the first St Stephen, a disciple of Jesus, but the second St Stephen who lived around 800 years later and who, apparently was a horse buff. Even so, Boxing Day is not celebrated as a religious holiday.
Some people think that because Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, it must be the day all the boxes that presents came in are thrown away. Actually, the origins of this holiday go back many centuries to where, traditionally, on the day after Christmas, churches would open their alms’ boxes and distribute the contents to the poor of their parish.
In the nineteenth century, Queen Victoria made Boxing Day a formal holiday for all countries of the Commonwealth. It was the day when the maids, drivers, cooks etc. were given the day off, with small gifts, often in boxes, given as a token of appreciation by their masters.
Most countries outside the Commonwealth do not celebrate Boxing Day, but in America, during the slave times, the masters would often give their slaves the day off after Christmas.