Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing Day - the Day after Christmas!

A Traditional English Church from a Christmas Card SceneToday is Boxing day for me, it has been a quiet day here. Tim is at work and I went over to my parents place to pick up our car. We left it there yesterday and had Natasha drive us home as both Tim and I had a few drinks.  Now I will tell you a little about Boxing Day. 
Boxing Day takes place on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries. It was started in the UK about 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box, collection boxes for the poor often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches still open these boxes on Boxing Day.
It might have been the Romans that first brought this type of collecting box to the UK, but they used them to collect money for the betting games which they played during their winter celebrations!
In Holland, some collection boxes were made out of a rough pottery called 'earthenware' and were shaped like pigs. Perhaps this is where we get the term 'Piggy Bank'!
The Christmas Carol, Good King Wenceslas, is set on Boxing Day and is about a King in the Middle Ages who brings food to a poor family.

It was also traditional that servants got the day off to celebrate Christmas with their families on Boxing Day. Before World War II, it was common for working people (such as milkmen and butchers) to travel round their delivery places and collect their Christmas box or tip. This tradition has now mostly stopped and any Christmas tips, given to people such as postal workers and newspaper delivery children, are not normally given or collected on Boxing Day.
Boxing Day has now become another public holiday in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is also the traditional day that Pantomimes started to play. There are also often sports played on Boxing Day in the UK, especially horse racing and football matches!

The 26th December is also St. Stephen's Day. Just to confuse things, there are two St. Stephens in history! The first St. Stephen was a very early follower of Jesus and was the first Christian Martyr (a person who dies for their religious beliefs). He was stoned to death by Jews who didn't believe in Jesus.
The second St. Stephen was a Missionary, in Sweden, in the 800s. He loved all animals but particularly horses (perhaps why there is traditionally horse racing on boxing day). He was also a martyr and was killed by pagans in Sweden. In Germany there was a tradition that horses would be ridden around the inside of the church during the St. Stephen's Day service!


24 comments:

Huggybear said...

Good historical report - the horses in the church would be interesting - ha ha.
To me it is the Melbourne Boxing Day Test - so much for Melbournites not going this year - over 53,000 today!!
Plus the Sydney-Hobart Yachting Classic, a real sit in front of the TV day for me with some coldies! Bloody steamy here in Brisbane.
Cheers
Colin

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Jo-Anne,
In most European countries, except the UK, 26 December is just called 2nd Christmas Day and always has been a Holiday.
The British influence of Boxing Day has spread to several countries but the USA celebrates none of both. Here 26 December is just another work day...
Hugs,
Mariette

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Interesting about Boxing Day.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Yeah I think about the Sydney to Hobart when I think of Boxing Day

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I can't imagine the 26th being anything other then Boxing Day

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I knew none of this about Boxing Day

CWMartin said...

Al Penwasser says you guys have naked revels on Boxing day. What's going on here?

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I have never been naked on Boxing Day just saying

Rick Watson said...

I hope your Christmas was jolly and your New Year is the best one yet for you and your family Jo-Anne.

Marg said...

It sure is nice to know what boxing day is all about. I never understood the whole thing. Happy New Year.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Thanks Rick, I did have a bloody good Christmas and I am looking forward to 2016

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Hey to be honest I didn't know much of this either I just knew Boxing Day was the day after Christmas Day

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