Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day

Growing up in a British Commonwealth Country, we always celebrated boxing day. It was a federal holiday in Canada, although the exact etymology of the term "boxing day" is unclear. A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain was a common name for a Christmas present. In older English tradition, employers expected their servants to “serve” on Christmas day. The servants were allowed to take off December 26th however, to visit their own families. The employers would give each servant a Christmas box containing, bonuses and gifts, and often leftover food items. It may also be connected to the “Feast of Stephen.” Donation boxes were placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor. These boxes were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen. During the late 18th century, lords and ladies of the manor would “box up” food and gift items and deliver then to tenants who worked and lived on their lands. When I moved to the United States it seemed that few if any had heard of Boxing Day. I still give some gifts on Boxing Day in remembrance of a cultural difference from my native land. 

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