Shar­ing the wealth

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Gre­gory Katz

lon­don» In Bri­tain, Aus­tralia, Canada and some other coun­tries, the day after Christ­mas is a sec­u­lar hol­i­day known as Boxing Day. Here’s a brief look:

No need for gloves

While no one seems to know for sure how it came to be called Boxing Day, it def­i­nitely has noth­ing to do with the sport of boxing. Per­haps the most widely held un­der­stand­ing of its ori­gins comes from the tra­di­tion of wealth­ier mem­bers of so­ci­ety giv­ing ser­vants and trades­men a so­called “Christ­mas Box” con­tain­ing money and gifts on the day after Christ­mas. It was seen as a re­ward for a year’s worth of ser­vice. Other be­lieve it comes from the post-Christ­mas cus­tom of churches plac­ing boxes out­side their doors to col­lect money for dis­tri­bu­tion to less-for­tu­nate mem­bers of so­ci­ety in need of Christ­mas cheer. Some trace it to Bri­tain’s proud naval tra­di­tion and the days when a sealed box of money was kept on board for lengthy voy­ages and given to a priest for dis­tri­bu­tion to the poor if the voy­age was suc­cess­ful.

No one knows for sure when Boxing Day started, but some be­lieve it was cen­turies ago, when ser­vants would be given the day after Christ­mas off as a day of rest after prepa­ra­tions for their mas­ters’ cel­e­bra­tions. Oth­ers trace it back even ear­lier, to the Ro­man prac­tice of col­lect­ing money in boxes — they say Ro­man in­vaders brought this prac­tice to Bri­tain, where it was taken up by the clergy to col­lect money in boxes for the dis­ad­van­taged. The tra­di­tion gained pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the Vic­to­rian era and has flour­ished to this day.

What do peo­ple do?

Boxing Day has evolved into a day of re­lax­ation and in­dul­gence and shop­ping. It is filled with sport­ing events, and it is of­ten a day when peo­ple open their homes to fam­ily and friends who drop by for turkey, ham and per­haps half-con­sumed bot­tles of wine left over from Christ­mas din­ner. In Bri­tain it used to be a day for fox hunt­ing in the frost­tinged coun­try­side. “Boxing Day Sales” have flour­ished, with many Bri­tons lifted from their postChrist­mas tor­por by the lure of low prices in depart­ment stores.

Stu­art Rad­bourn leads rid­ers in the tra­di­tional Boxing Day fox hunt Mon­day in La­cock, Eng­land.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.