The “Boxing Day”, a tradition which is distant to the uncertain origins

Le «Boxing Day», une tradition lointaine aux origines incertaines

Photo: Marie-France Coallier The Duty
The celebration of “Boxing Day” goes back much further than the outstanding balances in the big-box stores, which remain very popular.

More than a hunt for deals the day after Christmas is a public holiday listed in the canada labour Code. Here is an overview of the theories on the origin of ” Boxing Day “, which is also recognized as a feast day in the United Kingdom, and Australia.

We can read on Wikipedia that the Boxing Day, also called The day of boxes or After-Christmas, is a holiday celebrated on the 26 December, since 1871, in many English-speaking countries. In the liturgical calendar, it marks the feast of saint Stephen, the first christian martyr. The tradition seeks to show charity and to distribute gifts to the needy during this holiday. But since the beginning of the Twentieth century, the “Boxing Day” refers especially to a day during which many customers flock to the shops to buy clothes on sale, which is often compared to the Black Friday american Friday crazy). So we are talking of the balances of the After-Christmas.

Nobody seems to be able to explain with certainty how this day came to be designated as the ” Boxing Day “. The most common theory is that the name comes from the tradition of the ” Christmas box “, this box in which the richest members of the british society placed once the money and present for servants and merchants. This box was seen as a reward for their good services throughout the year.

Some believe rather that the designation “Boxing Day” finds its source in a religious custom of the Post-Christmas, when the churches placed boxes in front of their doors in order to raise money for the poor. Others see it as a legacy of the tradition of british naval that a silver box and sealed it should be kept on board during long trips to then be given to a priest and distributed to the poor if the boat was coming to port.

There are other possible explanations, but one thing is for sure : the feast of the “Boxing Day” goes back much further than the outstanding balances in the big-box stores, which remain very popular.

A day of sharing

Although a blur lingers around its origins, some believe that this holiday has seen the light of day several centuries ago, to a time when servants had a right to a day of well deserved rest after the preparations are frantic Christmas celebrations. Others believe that the “Boxing Day” is even more ancient, deriving from the roman practice of collecting money in boxes — a practice that would have been brought to Britain by invaders, and then adopted by the clergy to collect donations.

This tradition has gained popularity in the victorian era, and although the british Empire is now gone, the day after Christmas is still celebrated in some parts of the Commonwealth, including Canada, Australia, and Kenya.

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