Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa, once a colony of the British Empire and currently a member of the British Commonwealth, inherited the tradition of Boxing Day from its former association with England. For much of the 20th century, Boxing Day in South Africa was synonymous with relaxation, sports and beach parties. However, while South Africans did embrace the holiday, they did not care for its connection to their old colonial status. Therefore, in 1994, Boxing Day was rechristened the “Day of Goodwill”.
Boxing Day, which takes place every year on December 26th, originated as the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. Because of this feast’s importance in the British Isles, and because of its proximity to Christmas, it became an integral part of the holidays in England and Ireland, later spreading to all corners of the British Empire. In South Africa, one of the southernmost and warmest (at Christmastime) of the British dependencies, this meant lots of outdoor events and parties.
Today, long after the end of both Colonialism and Apartheid, South Africans from all over the country continue to celebrate the day. This is especially true in the coastal regions, where residents have turned the Day of Goodwill into a beach holiday. No where is this more true than in Cape Town, where locals and visitors flock to the beaches in the country’s unofficial day-after Christmas party. For long this has been little more than a mass gathering of sun-hungry celebrants, but it is becoming bigger every year. It has the makings of becoming a major, organized event sometime during the next decade.
There is little effort to enjoying the Day of Goodwill beach party. Just pick a beach and show up. For something more upscale, try one of the “Riviera” beaches on the Atlantic side. For family friendly, aim for one of the beaches on the Indian Ocean side. No additional visitor information was available as of this writing. Web: www.sa-venues.com/events/southafrica/day-of-goodwill (official tourism website of South Africa)
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