Monday, December 23, 2013

Why I Love The British Boxing Day

Michelle GarrettAs an American living in the UK one of my favourite days of the year is Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. The day off, after Christmas. Until I moved to the UK I had never heard of Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is a public holiday originating in England, which is now celebrated in many other countries in the commonwealth with a mainly Christian population.

As with many modern traditions, Boxing Day may have started as a pagan Anglo-Saxon offering of parcels of food and gifts to the poor, the day after the mid-winter feasting and celebrations. The tradition continued into Christian England. The current name is thought to have possibly originated when these gifts of food were given the day after the wealthy landowners celebrated Christmas and the generous leftovers were boxed up and distributed among the labourers, servants, and trades people who were employed by the landowners. As England became the United Kingdom and developed the commonwealth, the tradition was spread throughout much of the world.

Today Boxing Day is traditionally celebrated in the UK on 26 December, or St Stephens Day, the day after Christmas Day. Unlike St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day is a secular holiday. Although the day after Christmas is considered Boxing Day no matter what day of the week it falls on, if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the public holiday will be carried over until the following weekday, giving workers the benefit of the day off. Equally, if Christmas and Boxing Day fall on a Saturday and Sunday, they are celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, but Monday and Tuesday will be public holidays...

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