Boxing Day, 26 December 2012
Boxing Day – 26 December 2012 – Recognized Bank Holiday (The Day after Christmas Day)
According to historians, this day was developed due to servants having to work on Christmas Day, but were allowed to take the following day off. Servants were also given presents by their employers as they prepared to leave to go visit their families.
As time passed, boxing day gift giving were expanded to also include servants who rendered good service during the previous year. Up to this day the tradition survived and is recognized worldwide as a time to give presents to butlers, doormen, porters, tradesmen, and others who rendered much needed service. Most countries including Britain celebrate this day, except for the United States of America.
These days, most families use boxing day celebrations as an opportunity to spend time with their families by going for picnics, barbecues, etc.
Other Significant Facts About Boxing Day
As a traditional celebration, Boxing Day dates back to the Middle ages where the primary motive was the giving of gifts to the lower social class. In England, it is commonly referred to as Christmas box where according to an old English tradition, a clay box was used in various artisans shops for customers, visitors, masters, and apprentices to put their donations into this box. You could almost say it was like a piggy bank.
The Christmas box would be kept until Christmas Day was over after which the content of the box would be shared among all the workers of the shop. The habit of breaking the box led to this day being called Boxing Day. Interestingly, Boxing Day also coincides with the Feast of St. Stephen.
Another point to take note of is that in the olden days in England, the servants would carry boxes to their employers as they arrived to report for duty on the day after Christmas. This would be the cue for the employers to put coins in all the boxes as special year end gifts. This can be compared with our modern day concept where employees receive Christmas bonuses.
In Feudal times, after all the Christmas parties, on Boxing day, the lord of the manor would make it his duty to hand out practical gifts such as grains, cloth, and tools to the servants who lived on his land. Each family would receive a box full of goods. Therefore the term “Boxing Day” became popular among many people.
Boxing Day Observance By Country
Even though Boxing Day has its origin from the UK, many countries still celebrate this momentous day. It is best to take a closer look to see how they celebrate this joyous occasion.
In Australia, Boxing Day has become a major sporting day similar in nature to ANZAC Day celebrations. Just take Melbourne as an example. The Boxing Day Test Match involving cricket as sport is played at the Melbourne Cricket grounds.
Many retailers make use of what they call Boxing week sale instead of Boxing Day sale to get rid of excess merchandise at bargain prices, which often times have consumers queuing for hours from the night before to get their hands on discounted goods. It is also on Boxing Day when the IIHF begins their World Junior Hockey Championship in Canada.
Over in South Africa, Boxing Day is known as a Day of Goodwill where all concerned would box left over food from Christmas Day and set of to the beach or park to enjoy a day of relaxation with friends and family.
In our modern era, it is common to see the British population spend Boxing Day with family members and friends as if it is a second Christmas Day to enjoy left over meals and exchange presents.