Is Boxing Day In Canada A Public Holiday?
Boxing Day in Canada is a public holiday in the country. Apart from this, three territories and four provinces, have declared the day a public holiday as per the Holidays 2025 calendar. Most businesses, as well as all schools, universities, and government offices, remain closed in these regions. Public Transportations also do not follow their usual route. However, many stores may open for the Boxing Day Sale.
In Canadian provinces where Boxing Day could also be a statutory holiday, and it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given within the subsequent week. Employees are entitled to a paid leave on a working day immediately preceding or following this holiday.
Boxing Day in Canada History
The history of the celebration of Boxing Day in Canada begins from the British Empire. There are several theories associated with the origin of this holiday’s name. But something that is widely accepted is the reason why this day is a holiday.
In feudal times, the lord of a manor would ’pay’ folks who worked for him (or had in the past year) via boxes of practical goods. These often included items like agricultural tools, food, and clothes, and were distributed on the day after Christmas. Moreover, on 26 December, all the servants were given the day off. They would then go home to visit their families, with the gift box. Thus, their visit on the second day of Christmastide became associated with the Christmas boxes and soon the day came to be called Boxing Day in Canada.
More recently, employers traditionally gave their employees a present of cash or food packed in a small box on the day after Christmas. The tradition of offering gifts to people that provide services is still continued by some on Boxing Day in Canada. Other stories relay servants being allowed to take some of the leftovers from the Christmas celebrations, in a box, to their families.
There were also theories about the distribution of alms from the church. Donations were handed out to poor parishioners, from the collection boxes. These traditions evolved with time into Christmas baskets or boxes. Many employers distribute these among their employees during the vacation season at the top of the year.
Theories Behind the Name Boxing Day in Canada
It has been said that the name Boxing Day comes from people throwing away the empty boxes of their Christmas presents on the next day. This tradition can be traced back to England in the middle ages, though the precise origin is disputable.
Another popular theory is that the day is called Boxing Day because servants would receive their presents in boxes on this day. One reason behind this offering was that the 26th was the first working day after Christmas day. Another was that the servants worked on Christmas to help their employers host the Christmas Dinner or party. Thus, they were given the next day off with a gift and leftovers. This gift-giving tradition extended beyond servants to include various tradesmen as well.
As per another theory, the name comes from the custom of priests opening donation boxes after Christmas to distribute alms. This money came from the donations that people made for the poor and needy in the days leading to Christmas.
Public Life on Boxing Day in Canada
Boxing Day in Canada is a federal holiday as recorded within the Canadian Labour Code; however, it is not celebrated so in all provinces and territories. Quebec does not list the commemoration as an official holiday, and similarly, it is not a statutory holiday in Alberta and British Columbia either. Then again, Saskatchewan observes Boxing Day as a public holiday for government and public services. Despite that, public life on Boxing Day in Canada is almost similar throughout the country. People gather together for sales, sporting competitions, but majorly nurse their Christmas Dinner hangovers.
Boxing Day Sales
Since Boxing Day in Canada allows a day off for many people, many visit stores and shops that commence their annual sales on this day. Some would even begin waiting outside these stores within the hour of the morning. Consequently, lots of stores open earlier than usual, some even before 5:00 am. Initially ’Boxing Day Sales’, these now often last for a whole week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. They are thus known as the "Boxing Week Sales" instead.
However, some areas do not allow the stores to open on Boxing Day due to provincial or municipal laws. These include the territories New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. Therefore, the post-Christmas sales start on 27 December here. These Boxing Day Sales are often compared to the shopping experience of Black Friday in the USA.
Sports on Boxing Day in Canada
Some sporting events are also an integral part of Boxing Day in Canada and watching them on television is a popular activity for the public. The IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship generally commences on Boxing Day. Ten countries participate in this International Ice Hockey Federation tournament, and Canada is one of them. Thus, the fans of this sport are often glued to their TV screens throughout Boxing Day (till the first week of January). The performance of the Canadian National Team is usually noteworthy. They have even won the Cup five times in a row, twice, from 1993-1997 and 2005-2009.
Another sporting event that garners attention on Boxing Day in Canada is the Spengler Cup Invitational Ice Hockey Tournament, played in Davos, Switzerland. It is usually covered prominently by influential sports TV channels. Team Canada has done well in this league in recent years. They have won the Cup a considerable amount of times and even held the winning title four times in a row from 1995-1998.
Boxing Day Observances
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|2020||Sat||26 December||Boxing Day||National Holiday|
|2021||Sun||26 December||Boxing Day||National Holiday|
|2022||Mon||26 December||Boxing Day||National Holiday|
|2023||Tue||26 December||Boxing Day||National Holiday|
|2024||Thu||26 December||Boxing Day||National Holiday|
|2025||Fri||26 December||Boxing Day||National Holiday|
1. What is the purpose of Boxing Day in Canada?
Boxing Day in Canada, the day after Christmas, 26 December is a public (or statutory) holiday. Thus, it is essentially a day-off for everyone. So, if one has to work on Boxing Day, they deserve 1.5 times their usual wages.
2. Which countries celebrate Boxing Day?
Boxing Day in Canada falls on 26 December and is celebrated in a few other countries: UK, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and some European nations.
Boxing Day Celebrations In Other Countries
Tl;dr For those who only wish to know When is Boxing Day in 2025? The date is 26 December, Friday.
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