Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day!

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon. Went up town with some eggs this afternoon – 25 Doz.”

The Reg'lar Peace Dustmen call upon the Emperor of all the Russias for a Christmas Box - Punch, 5 January 1856, page 5
Coinciding with the Feast of St. Stephen, Boxing Day is a day when people present gifts, bonuses, donations or items to others, often those less fortunate. For centuries, a Christmas box was an earthenware box used to collect donations, either as tips at a business or as donations for the poor. The Romans introduced these clay boxes as a secure way to contain coins, as they were completely contained with just a slit at the top. The only way to get access to the contents was to smash the box. People would drop coins into the Christmas boxes all year, then the day after Christmas, the box would be broken open, thus the name ?Boxing Day.? The contents would be distributed among employees or given to charitable causes.
Boxing Day history is challenged by some, who have alternate explanations of the holiday. These other claims to the origin of Boxing Day, dating back to feudal times. Legends say that on the day after Christmas, the lords of the land would gather useful items and gifts together to distribute among the serfs to use the following year. As each family received a box of goods, such as grain, tools and clothing, the tradition of Boxing Day emerged. Yet another traditional origin tells that the day after Christmas was the day that servants received the day off, and wealthy employers packaged up some of the leftover food from the previous day?s feast in boxes for servants to take home.
Today, Boxing Day is a public holiday and a popular shopping day, as stores offer the stock not picked up for Christmas at deep discounts. Boxing Day is celebrated in Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, as well as many British commonwealths. In these countries, the Christmas season consists of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. If Christmas falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, Boxing Day is celebrated on the following Monday


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