A Junkanoo costume.
Boxing Day - Fact Check

The Bahamas has *the* coolest Boxing Day tradition

Photo by Empress. Licensed under CC BY 3.0

Boxing Day - Fact Check The Bahamas has *the* coolest Boxing Day tradition

Nobody really knows why Boxing Day is called Boxing Day, which may be why the ever-practical Dutch just call it 'Second Christmas'. 

Chris Woolfrey
Chris Woolfrey

There are, of course, competing theories.

One is that the 'boxing' referred to in the name comes from a tradition of families giving their staff (their servants and the like) a boxed gift on the day after Christmas.

Then, there's the idea that it comes from the Church of England, whose churches would leave out donation boxes during December then 0pen up the box and give the money to the poor on - you guessed it - the day after Christmas.

Junkanoo is cooler than Boxing Day

Whatever the origin, the holiday has developed some diverse traditions over the years.

While families across Canada, the US, the UK and most of Europe cope with post-Christmas Day food comas, Bahamians will be out dancing.

Every 26 December people across the islands take part in Junkanoo, a fancy dress festival with music to match.

In Ireland, Boxing Day is Wren Day

In Ireland, the holiday is known by its Saint's name - St Stephen's Day - or as 'Wren Day'. On Wren Day, Irish kids take part in 'hunting the wren', where a fake bird is tied to a pole and paraded through the streets.

The kids even dress up in straw and form marching bands. As with Boxing Day, the supposed origin of Wren Day depends on who you ask, so don't get your hopes up.

And in Catalonia, they're eating pasta

The Catalans celebrate the 26th, too. St Stephen's Day is a traditional holiday in the region: Catalans eat canelons (better known to you and me as cannelloni) stuffed with the meat left over from Christmas Day.

Often, that meat comes from the stew escudella i carn d'olla, a super Catalonian dish the centerpiece of which is a very large, very delicious meatball.

I'm in. Are you in?

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