Boxing Day is an annual celebration observed on the day after Christmas. It has nothing to do with the pugilistic competition other than its name. So it is not a day for the real boxing punch. There are lots of mentions about the origin of this Day.
It is most often mentioned that this Day is celebrated to provide a day off for the servants who worked on Christmas Day. The masters of those servants will present gift boxes called the Christmas Box to them.
The servants will take the Christmas Boxes on Boxing Day to give them to their families. In recent times, this celebration Day marks the start of the post-Christmas sales.
History of Boxing Day:
The exact year at which Boxing Day was first celebrated is not known precisely. It is a holiday usually celebrated on the day after Christmas Day. There are numerous stories associated with the origin of the term “Boxing Day.”
The historians say that the holiday has come into existence as the servants were asked to work on Christmas Day and took the following day off. As the servants planned to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with the gift boxes called Christmas Box.
The employers will give each of the servants a box to take home. The box contains gifts, bonuses, and leftover food prepared for Christmas Day.
Boxing Day falls on the first weekday after Christmas to show gratitude for the good service provided by the employees throughout the year. The term Christmas-box dates back to the 17th century.
It is customary for the employers to give the gift of money or food in a small box on this day to their employees or servants. It is still in practice for the people who deliver letters and newspapers.
During the feudal times, all those who worked under the lord of the manor would gather together. The lord of the manor would distribute boxes of practical goods as payments for those workers like agricultural tools, food, and cloth.
One another story related to this Day includes that the celebration was observed 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. On this Day, the alms box or the collection boxes often kept in churches for the poor were traditionally opened.
The contents present inside the box will then be distributed to poor people. Boxing Day is a bank holiday observed since 1871. If this Day falls on a Saturday, then the following Monday will be a bank holiday.
If Christmas Day falls on a Saturday, later the next Monday and Tuesday are the bank holidays.
Stores are kept open as the start of their post-Christmas sales on this celebration Day. This Day is also an important day for sporting events. Fox hunting was a popular sport among the upper class.
Images of the hunters on horseback outfitted in red coats surrounded by the hunting dogs are often recognized as symbolic of Boxing Day. Although fox hunting is banned at present, horse racing and football are the now favorite sports.
It is celebrated in the Commonwealth nations and the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa.
How to Celebrate Boxing Day:
Celebrating Boxing Day is quite simple. The Day is the perfect time to spend enough time with your family members once after the Festivus. You can present Christmas Boxes to your employees to make them and their family feel happy.
The gifts may be food, clothes, gifts, or anything useful to them. It is the best time to go shopping as most stores would have started the post-Christmas sale and things can be bought at the lowest price.
Get yourself involved in playing soccer, horse racing to make this celebration Day even more enjoyable. You can capture the happy faces of those who open the box.
Facts about Boxing Day:
- One of nine public holidays in Ireland.
Boxing Day is popularly known as ‘Saint Stephen’s Day’ or ‘Feast of Saint Stephen’ in Ireland.
- To Kill a Wren Bird.
The hunting of wren birds was considered unlucky on any day except Boxing Day. It used to be a popular event in England in the past.
In the United Kingdom, Premier League Football has a full day dedicated to games on Boxing Day.
- Good luck for Sailors.
During the Age of Exploration, sailors would collect money in a box for good luck, which would be then distributed to the poor on Boxing Day by a priest.
- Taking it literally
There are many countries around the world who, to this day, think that Boxing Day refers to the sport.