Boxing Day - December 26

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What is Boxing Day ?

Ever wondered what Boxing Day is? Well, for starters, Boxing Day is a real holiday in the United Kingdom and other European countries that dates back to the days of Queen Victoria. It is annually observed on December 26th and is only celebrated in a few countries; mainly ones historically connected to the UK (such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand) and in some European countries. However, in Germany, the holiday is known as "Zweite Feiertag” (which means 'second celebration'). But what does it mean, and where does this unusual holiday came from?

History of Boxing Day

Firstly, it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. It started in the United Kingdom about 800 years ago, during the Middle Ages. It was the day when the alms box or the collection boxes for the poor that is often kept in churches, were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. However, it might have been the Romans that first brought the collecting box to the UK, but instead of collecting money for the poor, they used them to collect money for the betting games which they played during their winter celebrations.

Moreover, the term “Boxing Day” is a reference to holiday gifts. It was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ (another term for ‘Christmas Present’ in Britain) from the master. The servants would then go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families. Apart from that, the term also refers to a nautical tradition. Back then, great sailing ships would carry a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. If the voyage was a success, the box would then be given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents was then given to the poor.

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