Boxing Day

December 26, 2007 is celebrated as Boxing Day in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada.

Boxing Day began in England, in the middle of the nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria. Boxing Day, also known as St. Stephen's Day, was a way for the upper class to give gifts of cash, or other goods, to those of the lower classes. There are a few etymologies that define origin of Boxing Day. Few of them compiled from various sources on NET are.

  • During the Age of Exploration, when great sailing ships were setting off to discover new land, A Christmas Box was used as a good luck device. It was a small container placed on each ship while it was still in port. It was put there by a priest, and those crewmen who wanted to ensure a safe return would drop money into the box. It was then sealed up and kept on board for the entire voyage. If the ship came home safely, the box was handed over to the priest in the exchange for Mass of thanks for the success of the voyage. The Priest would keep the box sealed until Christmas when he would open it to share the contents with the poor.
  • An 'Alms Box' was placed in every church on Christmas Day, into which worshippers placed a gift for the poor of the parish. These boxes were always opened the day after Christmas, which is why that day became to be known as Boxing Day.
  • Many poorly paid workers were required to work on Christmas Day and took the following day off to visit their families. As they prepared to leave, their employers would present them with Christmas boxes. During the late 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the manor would "box up" their leftover food, or sometimes gifts and distribute them the day after Christmas to tenants who lived and worked on their lands.

And the tradition still continues today...... The tradition of giving money to workers still continues today. It is customary for householders to give small gifts or monetary tips to regular visiting trades people (the milkman, dustman, coalman, paper boy etc.) and, in some work places, for employers to give a Christmas bonus to employees. Schools across the country gather together gifts to be put in Christmas Boxes that are sent to poorer countries.

Despite of being such a big occasion and public holiday in Christian Community (at least in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada), in America it is not that big a occasion and very few Americans are engaged in celebrating or following the rituals of Boxing Day.

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