Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day. Like Christmas Day it is also a national holiday in Canada. The name goes back to medieval times, more than 800 years ago, when alms boxes were placed at the back of every church to collect money for the poor. Traditionally, it is on this day that the alms box at every Canada church is opened and the contents are distributed to the poor.
Historians say the holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with Christmas boxes
Did you know?
The Christmas boxes were made from clay and were not made in the shape of a box. They were hollow clay balls with a slit in the top.
During the late 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the manor would "box up" their leftover food, or sometimes gifts and distribute them the day after Christmas to tenants who lived and worked on their lands.
The tradition of giving money still continues today. It is customary for householders to give small gifts or monetary tips to regular visiting trades people (the milkman, dustman, coalman, paper boy etc.) and, in some work places, for employers to give a Christmas bonus to employees.
Boxing Day is also know as
St. Stephen’s Day
(when Good King Wenceslas looked out).
‘Good King Wenceslas looked out,
On the Feast of Stephen………..’
He lived in Rome and was the first man to be killed for believing in the teachings of Jesus. His story is told in the Acts of the
Apostles 6: 1 to 8: 2.
Some people claim that he shares this day with another St Stephen, who came from Sweden. St Stephen of Sweden is the patron saint of horses. Boxing Day has long be associated with outdoor sports, especially horse racing and hunting.
Boxing Day Hunts
Traditionally Boxing Day is a day for fox hunting, but the tradition of the December 26th hunt is changing. The ‘sport’ is slowly dying out due to the growing support for the fox.
Boxing Day is usually the day when families travel to meet together if they spent Christmas Day at their own home. It is a day of watching sports and playing board games.