It’s something you’ve probably seen on every paper calendar turned to the month of December. Most of us are familiar with Christmas Day on December 25, but we see December 26 marked as Boxing Day and always wonder what exactly that means. I remember asking that exact question to my family when I was younger and this was the explanation my grandmother gave me: “It’s the day when you put all the toys you got for Christmas back in their boxes after you’ve played with them.” Well upon further examination it seems that my late grandmother was more interested in giving me an explanation that kept her house clean than saying she had no idea what it was. In truth we don’t really know how the holiday originated.
Here’s what we do know: There are two possible explanations concerning how the holiday came about. During Advent in the weeks preceding Christmas, the Church of England would set up boxes that the congregation would put money into. The day after Christmas those boxes would be emptied and donated to the poor. The other possible explanation is that the aristocrats of Victorian England would give Christmas presents to their servants on the day after Christmas in boxes and the servants would then have the rest of the day off. In truth though we don’t know for sure if either of those explanations is correct or not.
Another thing we know is that it is a national holiday in the UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia and many other former British colonies. In Britain the holiday has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year, compatible to Black Friday here in America. They also have annual fox hunts and football matches (the kind of football where players actually use their feet) much like we have sporting events on Christmas and Thanksgiving. It is an interesting holiday and no one really knows why it exists. But if this is a holiday you celebrate and you have the day off, well happy Boxing Day!
Also Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. Sorry Mr. Ali.
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