BOXING DAY is a bank holiday in UK and Canada. And today we tell you why this is not just an extension of one more holiday in the Christmas season and also tell you some of the most interesting facts about the boxing day.
And No, it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing!! In fact, boxing is nowhere a part of the celebration.
Why it is Called Boxing Day?
So why is it called a boxing day?! Well Just to remind you a Christmas present is also known as a CHIRTSMAS BOX and from here comes the term ‘BOX-ING’ History says that this was the days when the servants and workers could get their Christmas holiday after serving at the exclusive Christmas parties at the high classes of Britain. Since Christmas was a hectic day for these servants, their masters used to grant them a holiday on the next day of Christmas and gift them Christmas boxes that they took to their families, and thus the boxing day.
In another theory, it is about the charity and churches. As It was the next day of Christmas that the churches used to open the boxes that could have charity for the poor as a part of Christmas service.
Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that takes place on 26 December.
The term Christmas-box, meanwhile, dates back to the seventeenth century.
Boxing Day is primarily known as a shopping holiday In UK, Canada and parts of Australia Boxing Day sales are common in Canada. It is a time when shops have sales, often with dramatic price reductions. For many merchants, Boxing Day has become the day of the year with the greatest number of returns.
In recent years, retailers have expanded deals to “Boxing Week”. While Boxing Day is 26 December, many retailers will run the sales for several days before or after 26 December, often up to New Year’s Eve. Notably, in the recession of late 2008, a record number of retailers were holding early promotions due to a weak economy. Canada’s Boxing Day has often been compared with the America Super Saturday, the Saturday before Christmas.
In the United Kingdom, it is traditional for the Premier League (England), Scottish Premiership (Scotland) and NIFL Premiership (Northern Ireland), as well as the lower divisions and rugby leagues, to hold a full programme of football and rugby union matches on Boxing Day. Traditionally, matches on Boxing Day are played against local rivals.
This was original to avoid teams and their fans having to travel a long distance to an away game on the day after Christmas Day. It also makes the day an important one in the sporting calendar. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, much-anticipated cricket Test matches are played on Boxing Day. Before the formation of leagues, some famous rugby fixtures took place on Boxing Day notably Llanelli v London Welsh and Leicester v The Barbarians. But again IT has nothing to do with the sports of boxing
Apart from the sporting and financial importance, the day also has a religious background.
The 26th December is also St. Stephen’s Day. The second St. Stephen was a Missionary, in Sweden, in the 800s. He loved all animals but particularly horses (perhaps why there is traditionally horse racing on Boxing day). He was also a martyr and was killed by pagans in Sweden. In Germany, there was a tradition that horses would be ridden around the inside of the church during the St. Stephen’s Day service
The Feast of St. Stephen also takes place on December 26. St. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church, who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor. For the success of his preaching and his devotion to Christ, St. Stephen was stoned to death by a mob. As he died, he begged God not to punish his killers.
So boxing day comes from the collection in the Christmas box the origin of this tradition is, however, unknown.
Some historians also believe that it might have been the Romans that first brought this collecting box to the UK, but they used them to collect money for the betting games that they played during their winter celebrations!
In Holland, some collection boxes were made out of a rough pottery called ‘earthenware’ and were shaped like pigs. Perhaps this is where we get the term ‘Piggy Bank’!
Interestingly, the Christmas Carol, Good King Wenceslas, is set on Boxing Day and is about a King in the Middle Ages who brings food to a poor family.
So now you know what is boxing day and why is it a unique and thoughtful day of the year!! So enjoy your knowledge and holidays!! CHEERS