Boxing Day is a listed public holiday in the United Kingdom as well as in some Commonwealth nations like Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Boxing Day is observed on December 26, a day after Christmas Day celebrations.
Origin of Boxing Day
Historically Boxing Day traces its origin in the tradition of the medieval times when people would willingly contribute money in the open alms boxes placed in the church backyards on the Christmas Day. On the following day, all the collected money would then be distributed among the poor by the clergy.
With the passage of time, changes took place. Thus, in the 18th century, the feudal Lords and Ladies would reward their serfs and servants with boxed gifts � food, fruits, mostly leftovers from their lavish Christmas parties along with clothes and other practical stuff � to reward them for all their services.
With social changes, the concept came in for more changes and then Boxing Day became a day when people would give small gifts or monetary tips to those who worked for them throughout the year. Even today, it is customary in many households to give Christmas gift packs and boxes to people who serve them on a routine basis � right from the paperboy to the milkmaid, the dustman and even the postal worker. Now, however, gift-exchanges among family members have become pretty common.
James Frazer in his famous work Golden Bough has dealt with the mythical aspect of Boxing Day. Boxing Day, as per Frazer�s interpretation, was the day when the Wren (the king of birds) was captured and locked in a box. The bird was then taken to each house in the village so that the villagers could seek blessings for a good harvest.
Celebrations during Boxing Day
Boxing Day, as it is observed these days � with lots of food, fun and gifts � is a celebration of friendship and love. The day carries forward the spirit of the Christmas celebrations. Though government associations and small businesses keep their shutters down, malls remain open to give full indulgence to the shopaholics.
Well, this is not all about Boxing Day. Many business houses, independent associations and family-units work hard to realize the goal of unconditional love represented by the occasion, collecting food, clothing, money and other gifts so that they can bring back the smile in the faces of others who are less fortunate on Boxing Day.