Boxing Day is on the 26th of December, the days after Christmas. We all talk about it, but despite its name ‘Boxing Day’ which makes most of us think it’s a day we get to be Floyd Mayweather and Anthony Joshua, it has nothing to do with the pugilistic competition.
Some historians say the holiday developed because workers were required to work on Christmas day but took the following day off. As the workers prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.
Well, here are some interesting and fun facts about 26th of December also known as Boxing Day.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Boxing Day is a “holiday, on which post-men, errand-boys, and servants of various kinds expect to receive a Christmas-box”.
Boxing Day is called ‘boxing day’ because it was the day the family opened the box for the poor.
The Christmas Box was often made of clay or wood and was where people placed gifts.
The boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St Stephen. Stephen was one of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor.
During the age of exploration, a Christmas Box would be placed on a ship for good luck. A priest would often place it there, and crewmen would drop money in it to ensure a safe return. If the ship returned safely, the priest would take the box and distribute the contents to the poor.
Every church in England had an alms box which was where folks placed money for the poor. The box was opened on Dec. 26 and the contents were distributed to the poor of the parish.
The earliest known use of the term Boxing Day dates back only to 1833 when the above practices were already dying away.
Boxing Day is also one of the British bank holidays recognized since 1871 that are observed by banks, government offices, and the post office.
In 1994 South Africa changed its name from Boxing Day to ‘Day of Goodwill’.
In Ireland, they call Boxing Day ‘St Stephens Day’.
In other continental European countries, it is known as ‘Christmas II’ or ‘Second Christmas’.
Boxing Day traditions depend on the location, however, it includes shopping, giving money and gifts to the less privileged, and a day of watching sporting events like football and horse racing.