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Boxing Day History And Customs
Boxing Day is celebrated on the 26th December each Christmas in most Commonwealth Countries such as the UK, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and is usually taken as a bank or public holiday.
The Feast of Saint Stephen
Boxing Day is also known as The Feast of Saint Stephen. He was the first Christian martyr and was stoned to death for his Christian beliefs and faith. He lived in Rome. St Stephen is in the Bible in Apostles chapter 6 verses 1 to 8. St Stephen was one of the seven original Deacons of the Christian Church who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor.
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The origins of Boxing Day
There are many reasons that the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day and they originate from the Middle Ages:
A Christmas church poor box, made from earthenware clay and with a slit at the top, would be opened the day after the Christmas church service and the money donated would be distributed amongst the parish poor and needy.
Servants would have to work on Christmas Day, but were rewarded by having the following day off. Their masters and mistresses would reward them with a Christmas Box full of gifts for them and food to take to their families. Some would give them the leftovers from their Christmas meal.
Common Myths and Urban Legends Surrounding Boxing Day
The following are often given as the reason we celebrate Boxing Day, but are not based on historical fact but have become myths and legends:
People would box up unwanted gifts and presents and return them to shops for a refund.
It was the day to get rid of unwanted boxes and packaging from presents.
Boxing Day has nothing to do with the sport of boxing or families fighting. Though another Saint Stephen, from Sweden, is the patron saint of horses and horse racing. Many sporting events are held on Boxing Day such as races, football and rugby matches and hunting with hounds until the ban of the hunt in the 21st Century.
Some have thought that it is when Christmas decorations go back into their boxes for the following year.
What is true though is that there is a modern tradition where many shops hold Boxing Day sales and many bargains can be bought by early shoppers.
More Xmas trivia questions.
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