Originally known as St. Stephen’s Day, what exactly is all the excitement about Boxing Day? Traditionally, it is December 26th, and is celebrated in England, Canada, Australia, and most other countries in the Commonwealth. No one is sure where the name comes from. It could be because the upper class used to give its lower class servants and serfs gifts on this day. These gifts were most likely placed in boxes. Christmas was reserved for sharing gifts among equals, and Boxing Day could have been started with the rich giving thank you presents on the day after Christmas. Or it could be called Boxing Day, because so many people have empty boxes the day after Christmas. Either way, it sounds like a day where people gather with friends, leftovers, football (soccer), and go to the pub. If it falls on a weekend day, it is pushed back to the following business day.
Today is, also, when the nobility and the rich conduct their infamous fox hunts. They saddle up their horses, release the hounds, and start the hunt. In 2005, the practice of the dogs taking down the foxes was outlawed. Now, they just hold the foxes until the hunters can finish the job. Wait, there’s more! Stores usually conduct steep sales on this day, as shoppers are already in the stores for returns. As the economy has weakened in the past years, stores have extended these sales past Boxing Day. Sound familiar? It is a parallel to the day after Thanksgiving or “Black Friday.” It’s a time for shopping, eating leftovers, watching a sport, and gathering with friends (as you’ve spent time with the family already). So grab your leftovers, friends, and watch some sports on T.V. (after all it is Winter Break), and have a happy Boxing Day!
References: Suddath, C. (2009). A Brief History of Boxing Day. Time Magazine. Retrieved from: http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1868711,00.html
Image Credit: Erica Basnicki. Retrieved from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Boxing_Day_madness_2010.jpg