What is Box­ing Day and how did it get its name?

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

IN Bri­tain and other coun­tries like Aus­tralia and Canada, the day after Christ­mas is a sec­u­lar na­tional hol­i­day known as Box­ing Day. Here’s a brief look at some the­o­ries about how the hol­i­day got its name and how peo­ple cel­e­brate it:

No need for box­ing 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. Oth­ers be­lieve it comes from the postchrist­mas 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 then given to a priest for distri­bu­tion to the poor if the voy­age was suc­cess­ful.

There are other ex­pla­na­tions, but it’s clear the des­ig­na­tion has noth­ing to do with the mod­ern habit of us­ing the hol­i­day for shop­ping at “big box” stores sell­ing tele­vi­sions, com­put­ers and the like. Shar­ing the wealth, around the com­mon­wealth 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 fever­ish 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. The Bri­tish Em­pire may now be a thing of the past, but Box­ing Day is still cel­e­brated in some other parts of the Com­mon­wealth, in­clud­ing Canada, Aus­tralia and Kenya.

So if they’re not box­ing, what do peo­ple ac­tu­ally do on box­ing day? Box­ing Day has evolved into a day of re­lax­ation and in­dul­gence — and shop­ping. It is filled with sport­ing events (in­clud­ing a marathon soc­cer sched­ule tai­lor-made for TV view­ing from a com­fort­able couch) 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 frost-tinged coun­try­side, but that prac­tice has been mostly banned for more than a decade now. In its place, “Box­ing Day Sales” have flour­ished, with many Bri­tons lifted from their post-christ­mas tor­por by the lure of low prices in de­part­ment stores. – AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.