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Published on Dec 26, 2013 in Europe, Featured Articles, News

Boxing Day

Gift-Boxes-for-Christmas-1080x1920Boxing Day is celebrated in many countries the day after Christmas. It’s not, as the name might suggest, a holiday that involves pugilistic competition. In fact, the exact origin of term Boxing Day is unknown. However, it likely developed in in one of two ways, or even a combination of both.

The first involved English nobility. In Great Britain, during the Middle Ages, servants were required to work on Christmas Day, and therefore were allowed to take off the following day. It was a tradition at the time that employers would give their servants gift boxes (the box in Boxing Day) for the holiday season to take with them for their families.

Another theory on the origin of Boxing Day also dates back to the Middle Ages in Great Britain when an earthen alms box (the box in Boxing Day) was put in places of worship to collect donations for the poor. These donations were then distributed on December 26th, which is also the feast of St. Stephen. As time went on this tradition expanded to include not only he poor, but also those who had rendered services during the year, such as tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters, and so on.

Boxing Day likely expanded, because of British influence, to other parts of the world. Areas settled by the Britain, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand also celebrate Boxing Day.

Therefore, the next time you hear the term Boxing Day, you’ll know that the term, and the holiday, originated from either a servants gift box or alms box, rather than a pugilistic event.

 Alan Refkin

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