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Boxing Day

Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries, mainly ones historically connected to the UK (such as Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) and in some European countries.

The dating of Boxing Day can get rather complicated. Besides December 26th, you might also see it described as 'the first weekday after Christmas'. However, this describes the 'Public (or Bank) Holiday' for Boxing Day in the UK. They're normally on the same date but don't have to be. The same is true for Christmas and its bank holiday. In 2021, Christmas Day and Boxing Day (the 25th and 26th) are on a Saturday and Sunday. So their bank holidays are on the 27th and 28th of December - a Monday and Tuesday. But that doesn't mean that 'Christmas' 2021 will be on Monday the 27th!

The 26th December is also St. Stephen's Day (or 'the feast of Stephen’). St. Stephen is believed to have been a very early follower of Jesus and he is said to have been the first Christian Martyr.

St. Stephen has been associated with charity and giving for a very long time; and historically that's what St. Stephen's Day/Boxing Day was about.

In the Middle Ages, it was the day when the alms (Almosen) box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to the people in need. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day. It was also the day when rich land owners would give 'gifts' (often some leftover food from the main Christmas feast) to those who worked and lived on their land; and later on it became traditional that servants got the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families on Boxing Day.

Often sports are played on Boxing Day in the UK, especially horse racing and football matches. In Australia there is the cricket Boxing Day Test Match, where Australia play another country. Boxing Day is also when shops traditionally have big sales after Christmas in the UK (like Black Friday in the USA).

Are the following sentences True or False?

People in the UK like going shopping on Boxing Day.
The donations in Church on Boxing Day are distributed to the rich
The name Boxing Day originated from box fights on that day.
Another name for Boxing Day is St. Stephen’s Day
Boxing Day is a bank holiday.