Each year on the day after Christmas, swarms of media reports emerge of Boxing Day chaos. Canada—as well as other current and former Commonwealth nations—recognizes Dec. 26 as an additional day of rest following a busy holiday. Many Canadians use the day to splurge on after-Christmas sales, and while much of the day’s craziness deals with anxious shoppers, Boxing Day has become known worldwide for chaos of all kinds. Following are six of recent history’s craziest Boxing Day tales:
To most of the world, Boxing Day has little to do with gloves, rings and bells, but to many Jamaicans, the day’s name is taken quite literally. For generations, Kingston residents young and old have taken part in Boxing Day boxing matches. The fights—sans referees and ropes—are held in the streets. Boys, men and even girls battle it out for various treats before all enjoy an evening activity. Although everyone is required to wear gloves—for safety reasons—there is no bell. Instead, pot covers are used to announce the beginning and end of each round.
911… What’s Your Emergency
Last year, Boxing Day traffic became so congested in British Columbia that Vancouver residents began calling 911 for assistance. According to the Vancouver Sun, the emergency calls were so rampant that RCMP Staff Sgt. Steve Crawford sent out a plea via Twitter, asking residents to not dial 911 for traffic problems. Shoppers may certainly have felt trapped, however. One 911 caller told Mounties he had been stuck in a parking lot for more than an hour.
A Shot in the Crowd
Also last year, a 19-year-old from the UK survived being shot after being chased by an adversary through busy Boxing Day crowds. The Birmingham Mail reported the incident, in which former Kidderminster Harriers’ footballer Lamar Salmon, 20, shot Dishon Cassel in the leg and buttocks. The precise reason for the attack was never disclosed, but a witness claimed the pursuit began after Cassel approached a gang of young men that included the shooter.
Firecrackers Wreak Havoc
A three-story building in Nigeria burnt last Boxing Day, and with it burnt more than 40 people—one to death. The cause? Firecrackers stored in the building set off an explosion so large nearby residents initially feared a plane had crashed into the building. Even those who were home with their families when the explosion occurred lost their businesses to the flames.
Although vandalism and thievery are unfortunate parts of most holidays, it is more unusual to see sheep attacked. But in the UK, police were notified of a sheep attack last Boxing Day in a field in Doddington. It is still unknown what caused the injuries to the sheep in the area quite popular with area dog walkers—who police reached out to for clues in the investigation.
Washed Away… And Back Again
Who can forget the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004? As shoppers enjoyed sales around the world, a massive wave triggered by an earthquake took the lives of more than 200,000 people in 13 southern Asian nations. An 8.9 magnitude earthquake under the Indian Ocean created the tsunami, the largest in the world for the past 40 years. Bodies were discovered for months, but not that of 8-year-old Wati. The Indonesian girl was found alive and well seven years later when she—then 15 and presumed dead— wandered into a local coffee shop and mentioned her grandfather’s name.
Who says miracles are reserved for Christmas Day?
What is your favorite Boxing Day story? Tell us below!