Boxing Day: Pugilistic or Humanistic?”

I found out recently every Premier League soccer team will be playing on Boxing Day in England. It happens to be the day after Christmas and apparently, this is a tradition in England. It seems every sport will play that day.

So Sandy asks me, “Do you know what Boxing Day is and what the tradition is?”

I naturally say, “Of course I do. It’s not hard to figure out. It’s the day when a big boxing match is held, huge wagers are made, and they all eat chips and dip (well, I suppose our type of chips). Just like our Super Bowl.”

Wrong.

I start to research Boxing Day and find out that it is a secular holiday in England (and other countries but primarily the former British empire countries). It is a bank holiday and every sport under the sun has matches that day.

There are several ideas as to its origins. Everyone seems to agree it had its origins back in the Middle Ages. A box was put at the front door (I know – there must be a more historically correct name) of the castles and as guests left, they would throw coins into the box. The day after Christmas, the box would be opened and the money distributed to the servants.

Another theory was a box would be given to each servant the day after Christmas and it would contain their gifts and bonuses for the year. They would be given the day off after Christmas in recognition for having served the family on Christmas day.

It likely began as a religious tradition within the churches when Alms Boxes would be placed inside the church. Special offerings were made in honor of the Feast of Saint Stephen. It just happens this day would always fall on the day after Christmas.

Today, Boxing Day in Britain is also known as one of the biggest shopping days. I guess it’s kind of like our Black Friday (do you know how the term Black Friday came about?). The stores have big discounts – probably the biggest discounts are on boxing gloves, right?

Our son and daughter-in-law are in New Zealand for Christmas this year. New Zealand celebrates Boxing Day and I’ll be interested to hear from them what types of celebrations or activities took place.

So while this blog post won’t reach you until after Boxing Day 2013, I hope you all had a great Boxing Day. Perhaps now you will be better prepared to celebrate Boxing Day 2014. Don’t we need another holiday, especially the bankers?

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