Did you know that today, December 26 is Boxing Day? No, it isn’t the day we all celebrate the sport of boxing. However, in a few countries in the African Commonwealth and in Guyana and Italy prize fighting contests are held on Boxing Day.
And here in America, as we go back to the malls and department stores to return gifts, this day might seem to be one of pugilistic passion as we get rid of the unwanted and grab for the desired. But Boxing Day is not recognized as a national holiday in America as it is in other countries.
The origin of Boxing Day has its obscurity, but it is generally believed to have begun in England in the Middle Ages. Employers would have Christmas Day celebrations and their servants and tradesmen would work that day. The next day, December 26 would be the day these laborers would spend with their families. As they left, their employers would send them with a “Christmas Box” loaded with gifts for them and their families. Hence Boxing Day.
Another traditional story that Boxing Day is said to have its origins in is that great sailing ships would have on board a sealed box containing money for good luck. If their voyage was successful the box was delivered to a local priest, to be opened at Christmas and the contents given to the poor. I wonder how many of these boxes are laying on the ocean floor today.
It starts of course with our greed here in Britain and Ireland for a longer holiday; it’s not enough for us to have Christmas Day celebrations, we have added on another day called Boxing Day. The day is a national holiday and one to spend with family and friends and eating up the leftovers.
Boxing Day is a bank/public holiday, observed generally in the UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Trinidad and Tobago. In some countries it is known as St Stephen’s Day and many celebrate as the Second Christmas Day.
Many major sports events are held as this holiday is celebrated. In the UK rugby and soccer (football) matches are held among the prominent leagues. Some of the most prestigious horse races, or “chases” as they are called, are held this day as well as fox hunts.
Melbourne, Australia begins its Cricket matches at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race starts this day. Several ice hockey contests are held this day and boxing matches, as mentioned.
And, of course, a chance to attract shoppers cannot be overlooked! Yes, Boxing Day is a major shopping day. Retailers will open very early, offering “doorbuster” deals and serious discounts.In recent years retailers have observed “Boxing Week” as specials are run before and after Christmas, even through New Year’s Eve.
Well, just some interesting info today about how others extend their Christmas holiday. Americans seem to be Christmased out as we get to this day after the big day. For most it is back to our work-a-day life styles. We have a few days now to be on our jobs before New Year’s Day and all of the football (American style) we will absorb that day.
Ah, the Holiday Season! It comes and goes so fast. I trust that you all have had a wonderful time of celebration with family and friends. Now it’s time to catch your breath, get back to normal (whatever that is), start paying off those credit card bills and get ready for next year’s celebration. It will be here before we know it.