Boxing Day in Australia

When is Boxing Day in Australia?

Boxing Day in Australia is on December 26, 2022. It falls on Monday.

How many days until Boxing Day in Australia?

There are 83 Days left until Boxing Day in Australia.

Is Boxing Day a public holiday in Australia?

Boxing Day is a national holiday observed in Australia every 26th of December every year. If the holiday’s date falls during the weekend, the next working day will be considered as a public holiday. The holiday is celebrated throughout the country except for the state of South Australia. South Australia is celebrating a different holiday on this same date called the Proclamation Day (which marks the establishment of the state as a British province). As for the rest of the country’s states, Boxing Day is a holiday wherein major sporting events are held, shops and shopping centers offer big sales, and movie theaters are crowded with people. The day is treated as an extension day for the Christmas celebration.

Boxing Day Origin

Boxing Day is observed not just in Australia but to many other countries as well, especially countries that are closely connected with the United Kingdom. Countries belonging to the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly known as British Commonwealth of Nations) such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa, are examples of countries celebrating Boxing Day. Although the exact origin when this holiday started is unknown, according to the records, the holiday began in the United Kingdom during the Middle Ages (500 – 1500 CE). As to why the holiday is called ‘Boxing Day’, several theories are associated with its origin. One of the most popular is the theory that this holiday started when the wealthy people in England (during the Middle Ages) give Christmas boxes to their servants. The servants could not spend Christmas Day with their families since they need to serve their masters/employers during the occasion. Thus, the day after Christmas, the servants are usually given the day off for them to go home and spend Christmas with their families and friends. The 26th of December is the day when they then receive Christmas boxes from their employers/masters. These ‘Christmas boxes’ include monetary gifts (bonuses), clothing, leftover food from Christmas, and others. This practice is the reason why it is associated with the holiday’s origin.

Another famous theory is the one related with the churches. It was said that the churches (during the Middle Ages) would usually open the alms chests/boxes containing the donations received during Christmas season every 26th of December as well. These donations received are then being distributed to the less fortunate and poor people across the country. With this practice, Boxing Day was said to be established.


Boxing Day Traditions in Australia

The Australians have been known for their relaxed and laid-back attitude in life. They love to chill out and just enjoy what life has to offer. Some of their best enjoyed days are those that are designated as public holidays by the government. Boxing Day, the day following Christmas Day, is an example to this. The Australians treat this day as an extension of the Christmas celebration. Being a public holiday, government offices and schools are expected to be suspended on this day (although the students should currently be on their summer holiday break already). Majority of the businesses and company offices are also closed, and employees are given a day off. However, most of the country’s shops and shopping centers (especially the bigger ones) are open to cater thousands of shoppers visiting the establishment during the observance of this holiday.

Since Boxing Day takes place during the summer season of the country (Australia, being part of the Southern Hemisphere, observes its seasons opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere), most of the Aussies prefer to go outside to enjoy the holiday. Going to the movies, shopping, and watching sports-events are the primary choices to spend the day. Going to the movies is a great choice to begin with if one wanted to just chill out and doesn’t want to be literally soaked under the warm heat of the sun. Many of the country’s big and new movies are being released in cinemas during Boxing Day. Thus, crowds of people are expected to gather in the movie theaters during its occurrence, especially families with kids.

Boxing Day Sales

Along with the movies, going on shopping is also a very common activity on this day. One of the reasons why Boxing Day is popular in the country is the fact that shops and shopping centers offer deeply discounted rates on this day. The discounts offered could go as high as 50% - 80%, or even more. Hence, thousands of Aussies (slang word for Australians) go on shopping during the holiday’s celebration. To cater the large crowd who are excited to shop for the day, many shops and shopping centers also choose to open earlier than their usual schedules. Most of these shoppers would be in queue as early in the morning as possible to make sure they will be the first to get the best merchandise/product, with the best discounted rates. This holiday marks the beginning of the post-Christmas shopping in Australia and is the biggest sale season in the nation. And while there are thousands of Aussies who’d go out to join the general population to shop, several people would also rather do online shopping instead to avoid bumping with such large crowd. Amazon, eBay, David Jones, Asos, and Sephora are some of the examples of online retail shops famous in Australia for having many online shoppers during Boxing Day. During the holiday, these shops also offer deeply discounted prices on their products. Items/products that are typically purchased by many people (both in person and online) during Boxing Day include the ff.: clothing, beauty products, toys, video games, electronics, and items that are Christmas-related. The mentioned items are usually the ones which offer the biggest sales during the holiday.

Boxing Day Test Match

Watching sports-related events is another way of spending Boxing Day in Australia. The holiday also marks the beginning of the country’s two major sporting events which lasts for the next five days. These sports include the Boxing Day Test Match and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. The ‘Boxing Day Test Match’ is a Cricket Test Match held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players per side and is one of the most popular sports in Australia. Thus, it has become a tradition in the country to have a Boxing Day Cricket Test Match every time Boxing Day occurs. The game is traditionally held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with thousands of seats available for the spectators. This game involves the country’s National Cricket Team and the National Cricket Team of foreign countries touring Australia at the time. This event has become very popular that thousands of Aussies make sure they got tickets to see this game in person. For others who cannot see the game personally, watching it through the television is the best choice. Millions of Australians would be watching this match at the comfort of their homes during the holiday.

Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

The Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in addition, is another major sport activity also held on Boxing Day. Hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the race starts at the Sydney Harbour (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) and ends at the Derwent River in Hobart, Tasmania. The race is internationally well-known that many competitors around the globe visit the country to participate in the event. This race is even considered as one of the toughest yacht races worldwide. It covers approximately around 1,170 km. In the past, it would take several days before the race is finished, however in the recent years, the time to finish the race has gradually decreased. In fact, in 2017, the Comanche (yacht) has set the fastest time to finish the race in just 1 day, 9 hours, 15 minutes, and 24 seconds. At present, when this event takes place, the whole coverage of the race is broadcasted in Channel 7 throughout Australia. For the international viewers, the country’s official race website ‘rolexsydneyhobart.com’ features this sport so they can still watch the event as well.

Boxing Day Dishes

In terms of food, there are no traditional dishes serve during Boxing Day. Nevertheless, since the holiday occurs the day after Christmas, it is expected that whatever leftovers the Aussies have during the previous occasion, can be served the following day. Dishes typically seen on the table should include turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, ham, chicken, fruits, and some desserts like trifle or Christmas cake.

Dates of Observance for Boxing Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2022 December 26 Monday Boxing Day
2023 December 26 Tuesday Boxing Day
2024 December 26 Thursday Boxing Day
2025 December 26 Friday Boxing Day
2026 December 26 Saturday Boxing Day
2027 December 26 Sunday Boxing Day
Upcoming Australia Holidays
Holiday Date
Christmas Eve December 24, 2022
Christmas Day December 25, 2022
Boxing Day December 26, 2022