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Dec 26, 2012

Ways Done in the Past - Boxing Day

Children's boxing match in 1954.  Photo credit: National Archives of Singapore
December 26th is Boxing Day and is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. Boxing Day originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria.

Perhaps many young Singaporeans are not aware the significance of  "Boxing Day" to celebrate in Singapore in the past as a public holiday.

It is not the Sports Day for boxing demonstration or boxing competition matches in schools or public sports complexes in Singapore.

Boxing Day is so called because it was the custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.

It is spent with family and friends at open gatherings with lots of food, fun, friendship and love. Food on boxing day usually includes left over turkey from the day before.

In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December.

In Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a time where shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions.

Many retailers open very early (typically 5 am or even earlier) and offer doorbuster deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores.

It is not uncommon for long queues to form early in the morning of 26 December, hours before the opening of shops holding the big sales, especially at big-box consumer electronics retailers. Many stores have a limited quantity of big draw or deeply discounted items. Because of the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, many choose to stay home and avoid the hectic shopping experience.

In Singapore, we have the Great Singapore Sales for one whole month.  The local media often cover the event, mentioning how early the shoppers began queueing up, providing video of shoppers, Singaporeans and foreign visitors and tourists queueing their purchased items. 

Once a year, malls from Orchard Road to Chinatown deeply slash prices on all their goods. No product range is immune: fashion, jewelry, watches and consumer electronics are all covered, and neither budget nor luxury goods are spared!

Happy shopping in Singapore, not for boxing!



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