The Surprising History Behind Boxing Day: Why is it Called That?
Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, on the day after Christmas. Despite its widespread observance, many people are unfamiliar with the history of Boxing Day and why it’s called that. In this article, we’ll explore the origin of Boxing Day and the meaning behind its name.
The History of Boxing Day
The origins of Boxing Day can be traced back to feudal England in the Middle Ages. On the day after Christmas, wealthy landowners would give their servants and tenants boxes filled with gifts, money, and leftover food as a reward for their year’s work. This practice became known as “boxing up” or “boxing day.”
As time went on, Boxing Day evolved into a day of giving to those less fortunate. Churches would collect donations in boxes to distribute to the poor, and people would visit their neighbors to share Christmas cheer and gifts.
Why is it Called Boxing Day?
The exact origin of the name “Boxing Day” is unclear, but there are several theories. One suggests that the term “boxing” refers to the boxes of gifts given to servants and tradespeople by their employers. Another theory is that the name comes from the practice of opening the church’s collection box on the day after Christmas and distributing its contents to the poor.
In some countries, such as the United States, December 26th is not recognized as a holiday. However, in countries that observe Boxing Day, it is an important part of the Christmas season and a time for giving to others.
Boxing Day Around the World
While Boxing Day is primarily associated with the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, it is also observed in other countries around the world. In Ireland, it is known as St. Stephen’s Day, and in many European countries, it is a day for sporting events such as horse racing and football matches.
In recent years, Boxing Day has also become synonymous with post-Christmas sales and shopping in many countries. It is a busy day for retailers, and many people take advantage of the sales to purchase gifts for the following year or to treat themselves to a bargain.
Boxing Day may have originated as a way to reward servants and tradespeople, but it has evolved into a day of giving and generosity. Its name may be shrouded in mystery, but its message is clear: to remember those less fortunate and to spread joy and kindness during the holiday season.