Contrary to what the name suggests, Boxing Day is not in any way related to the celebration of a certain violent sport. In fact, it is not even related to the celebration of any sports. The celebration of Boxing Day is very humble indeed. It has more to do with the gift box, rather than anything else. Though, there is an ambiguity on the origin of Boxing Day celebration, it is now accepted that the day is celebrated to remember and help the less fortunate, through the act of giving gifts. Boxing Day is most commonly celebrated in all those countries, which belong to the Commonwealth of Nations, with a large Christian population. It takes place on December 26, the day after Christmas. If the Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then the following Monday is celebrated as Boxing Day. Read the article below for more information on the origin and history of Boxing Day.
Interesting And Amazing Information On The Origin And Background Of Boxing Day
The earliest known evidence of the celebration of Boxing Day was during the middle ages, in England. It is believed that, during those times, the servants were required to work during Christmas, so, as a special gesture; the masters would grant them leave the next day. The masters would also send them gift boxes for the servant’s family.
Another prevalent thought is that Boxing Day is the time when higher classes exchanged gifts with the lower classes. During Christmas, the higher classes will exchange gifts among themselves and the next day, they would give gifts to the lower classes. This has led to the belief that, during Boxing Day, the rich would send gift boxes to the poor, only to dispose off excess gifts, which is probably untrue.
December 26, Boxing Day, is also celebrated as the Feast of St. Stephen, who was ordained as the saint for widows and the poor. However, both these celebrations are separate and are not clubbed together.
Another theory for the origin of Boxing Day is that of the church alms boxes. Churches in Britain, during the 18th and 19th Century, had alms boxes in which people contributed money. These boxes were opened on the day after Christmas, and the contents distributed among the poor. Gradually, people began to give gifts to those who helped them in their daily life, the previous year. Like the postman, maids, footman and others. This is very convenient as the day of Christmas can be spent exchanging gifts with family and friends while the next day the people who helped them can be gifted.
Since 1871, Boxing Day is celebrated as a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Scotland also observes a bank holiday coinciding with Boxing Day. In South Africa, it is known as the “day of good will”.
England and Scotland traditionally host football and rugby matches on Boxing Day. In the sporting calendar, it is considered as a very significant event. On Boxing Day, the second most prestigious horse-racing event is held. In Australia, the Boxing Day test starts on the day after Christmas. It also hosts the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on this day. Canada hosts an ice hockey tournament starting on Boxing Day. Sporting events are held because, traditionally, Boxing Day was also spent as a day for hunting.
Nowadays, Boxing Day is a very popular shopping holiday. Shops offer heavy discounts to attract customers and as a result, there would be a heavy rush.
In England, many people gather along the coast and take part in a ritual called ‘boxing day dip’. They wear colorful and weird costumes and dance in the shallow waters to collect money for charity.