Friday, December 26, 2003

Happy Boxing Day! 

Haven’t you always wondered what Boxing Day was? It always appeared on our calendars on December 26th, yet we never roasted a pig or cooked a goose in honor of it, let alone baked a cake or listened to Boxing Day music.

When I was a kid somebody told me it was the day you had to dispose of all the empty Christmas boxes. (The “somebody” was probably my clever mother who was more than a little ready to be able to see the carpet again.)

Thanks to the Internet, I now know more about this holiday. Boxing Day is celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. It falls on December 26th, which is also St. Stephen's Feast Day (St. Stephan was the first Christian matyr). The traditional celebration of Boxing Day includes giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, needy individuals, and people in service jobs (such as postmen).

The holiday dates from the Middle Ages (A.D. 400's-1500's), but the exact origin is unknown. It may have begun with the lords and ladies of England, who presented Christmas gifts in boxes to their servants on December 26th. Or it may have begun with priests, who opened the church's alms (charity) boxes on the day after Christmas and distributed the contents to the poor.

Now you know!
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