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  Weekly Feature: (December 24, 2005)
 

 

About Boxing Day
Paul's Weekly Feature

 

 

Falling on the first weekday after Christmas, Boxing Day is a public holiday observed typically on December 26th.   Should December 26th fall on a Saturday or Sunday, then Boxing Day would take place the following Monday, December 27th or 28th.

Boxing Day is celebrated in many Commonwealth countries including Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.   In Europe, this day is often referred to as either the Second Day of Christmas, or the Feast of St. Stephen (the first Christian martyred for his faith), and is celebrated in Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria, the Netherlands, and other parts of Europe.

The exact root of the term “Boxing Day” and its tradition are not known, yet it is believed that the origin lies in England, starting in the middle of the nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria.  One school of thought is that the holiday date began with the Lords and Ladies of England, who gave Christmas gifts, in boxes, to their servants on December 26th.  Another thought is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of clergy opening the church’s charity boxes over the Christmas season, and then distributing the contents the day after Christmas to the poor and needy.

Nowadays, on Boxing Day, we give gifts (“Christmas Boxes”) to those who provide us with service and assistance throughout the year.  It is also a special day to reunite with family and friends.  Government buildings, schools, and small businesses are typically closed, while shops and malls are open as many retailers sell their products at reduced prices.  In some countries, this day is also cherished for its national and international sporting events.  For example, horseracing and soccer in the UK; yacht racing and cricket in Australia.

To maintain the Boxing Day tradition and spirit of kindness, it is important that each of us does on that Day what many others already do -- donate their time, generosity, and resources -- in preparing and giving Christmas gift boxes to those we appreciate, and to those in need and less fortunate than us.

Test your vocabulary and comprehension with a Boxing Day Crossword

 

For reference and further details, check these sites:

Boxing Day (from Canadian Heritage)

Happy Boxing Day

Boxing Day (from Wikipedia)

Boxing Day (from Kaboose)

Boxing Day (from Youth Online)

 

 

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Holiday Studies

 

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