What Exactly I Boxing Day? And How Did It Start?..
The day after Christmas isn’t just a time for sitting around in your PJs and checking out all your presents. It’s a holiday of its own! But what is Boxing Day and what’s the history behind it?
What is the story behind Boxing Day?
There are numerous stories behind this holiday. During the feudal times, lords of manors would provide boxes of goods to their workers like food, tools and clothes. These would serve as payment for their work throughout the year.
Some believe that it has something to do with the church’s collection of money in boxes. Romans used to collect money for athletic games with boxes with slits. This idea was brought to Britain and priests and monks started collecting money for the poor on Christmas. The day after Christmas, the boxes will be opened and distributed to the indigents in the village. Thus, Boxing Day came to be.
Another version is about servants being permitted to take some leftover Christmas food in a box for their families. This had evolved to employers giving gifts in the form of money or food placed in boxes. This particular tradition has transformed into Christmas hampers with more goodies given to employees.
What is it? How is it Celebrated?
December 26th is known as Boxing Day for the countries that mark it.
Those countries are Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, South Africa and Nigeria, because the holiday started in England and these countries used to be British colonies.Some other places celebrate the day as St. Stephen’s Day, named for a Christian saint.
Whats with all the deals ?
In Canada, lots of people think of Boxing Day as a time for shopping — many stores have sales the day after Christmas. This year, that shopping will most likely be online as people social distance due to Covid. Anyone who goes to a store will have to wear a mask and stay two metres away from other shoppers.
In Britain, Australia and New Zealand it’s also a day for sports, with people watching and playing soccer, rugby and cricket. A lot of these sports are being played still but without any audience due to Covid, so people are watching them at home on television or online.
For Ireland, which celebrates St. Stephen’s Day, there’s an old tradition where people dress up in costumes, often made of straw, and parade a fake bird on top of a decorated pole.
In the Bahamas, Boxing Day is the start of Junkanoo, a weeklong festival that lasts until New Year’s Day. Just like Boxing Day, no one agrees on the origins of the name Junkanoo, but it’s believed that the holiday started in the 18th century when slavery was still practiced. After Christmas, people were given a few days break from their forced labour and used the time to celebrate African traditions.