Editorial

What Is Boxing Day, And Why Do Canadians Celebrate It?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

I would imagine that many of you look at the calendar and notice on December 26, canada celebrates Boxing Day. For years ads a youth, I assumed it had something to do with actual boxing, like boxing with gloves on and knocking out your best friend. Maybe that is why I am shy a few best friends!

What does Boxing Day actually stand for?

Observed annually on December 26 in Canada, the U.K. and Commonwealth countries around the world, Boxing Day was traditionally the day employers would give their staff Christmas presents, called "boxes," to celebrate the season.

That's one way of looking at this longtime tradition, which has been noted for centuries. There's no exact definition of Boxing Day, though some tie it to British servants who helped their lords and ladies with Christmas dinner and literally took home "Christmas Boxes", (and got a day off) the next day. Samuel Pepys noted the existence of such boxes in his diary in 1663.

The term "Christmas-box" dates back to the 17th century, and among other things meant:

A present or gratuity given at Christmas: in Great Britain, usually confined to gratuities given to those who are supposed to have a vague claim upon the donor for services rendered to him as one of the general public by whom they are employed and paid, or as a customer of their legal employer; the undefined theory being that as they have done offices for this person, for which he has not directly paid them, some direct acknowledgement is becoming at Christmas.[6]

The European tradition, which has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It is believed to be in reference to the Alms Box placed in areas of worship to collect donations to the poor. Also, it may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era, wherein metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[9] which in the Western Church falls on the same day as Boxing Day.

In Canada, as well as the U.K. and Australia, December 26 is now better known as a day for scooping up shopping deals, similar to Black Friday in the U.S. Most stores open their doors early and discount prices on items ranging from clothing to technology to appliances. In recent years, some shops have started their sales even before Christmas has begun, hoping for more spending from customers.

In other countries, December 26 has taken on a different name. In Germany, Poland, Scandinavia and the Netherlands, it's known as Second Christmas Day, simply extending the holiday for an extra day. In Ireland, they celebrate St. Stephen's Day, or the Day of the Wren, participating in parades in masks and suits.

Some sources claim it was originally (1600s) the first working day after Christmas, when a company's ceramic "Christmas Box" was broken open and the chiefly monetary contents distributed among a company's workers. But the box wasn't filled by the employers the workers themselves had previously taken the box around to the company's customers and clients, essentially soliciting tips!

Now you know just as much as I do.

Source of information, Wikipedia