Monday Memo--What is "Boxing Day"?
December 26 is called “Boxing Day” in England, Wales, Ireland and Canada. There are several different theories about how “Boxing Day” developed, some you may believe, others you will find a little bit of a stretch but really nobody knows for sure.
According to the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas”, Wenceslas who was the Duke of Bohemia in the early 10th century, was surveying his land on St. Stephen’s Day when he saw a poor man gathering wood in the middle of a snowstorm. The King gathered up surplus food and wine and carried the treats in boxes, through the blizzard to the peasant’s door. The giving tradition has always been closely associated with the Christmas season when the English poor receive most of their charity.
It’s also been suggested that “Boxing Day” began during Advent when Anglican parishes displayed a box into which churchgoers put their monetary donations. On the day after Christmas, the boxes were broken open and their contents distributed among the poor.
But there is another possible story about the holiday’s origin. The day after Christmas was also the traditional day on which the aristocracy distributed presents (boxes) to servants and employees and gave them the day off.
Today, “Boxing Day” activities revolve less around charity work and more around food, football (soccer), visits from friends, shopping and drinking at the pub. It’s a way to stretch out the Christmas celebration one more day!
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