What is Boxing Day? A Day Celebrating Uppercuts and Jabs? Nope.
December 21, 2012
It’s not for that kind of box. Boxing Day is celebrated December 26th in Great Britain, Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and a few other countries formerly colonized by England (except for the U.S.!). It’s considered a public holiday, as most banks, the post office, public services, and many stores are closed in these countries.
There are many stories as the origin of this unusually named holiday. All seem to agree that the tradition started many hundreds of years ago in England. One such story says it had to do with the "boxes" on sailing ships. Passengers would deposit money in it to ensure safe passage, to be opened upon arrival at the end of the voyage. Another story has the origin coming from the opening of "Alm" boxes in churches the day after Christmas for the less fortunate. Still another tale says it comes from the tradition of the nobility "boxing" up their leftover for the servants. The most likely beginnings, however, stem from wealthy employers who gave their workers, most of whom worked on Christmas Day, the day after off from work and little gifts "boxed" up.
The tradition lives on today, as many home-owners give a small gift to their trade workers (the plumber, milkman, mail carrier, paperboy, etc.). Whatever the origin, it still fits into the spirit of Christmas, doesn’t it?
Happy Christmas everyone!