Despite its name, Boxing Day, has nothing to do with pugilistic competition. Nor is it a day for people to return unwanted Christmas presents or clear the house of empty boxes.
It is normally held on December 26th, or the following Monday if December 26 falls on a Saturday or Sunday. It became a celebrated holiday in the middle of the nineteenth century, under Queen Victoria.
There are several claims to the origin of Boxing Day all of which might be correct in some form or other.
Some historians say on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday its name, "Boxing Day".
Another theory is that the boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed on December 26, which is also the Feast of St. Stephen. One of the seven original deacons of the Christian Church, who were ordained by the Apostles to care for widows and the poor.
This is remarked about in the Christmas Carol, “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen”.
Where “gifts of flesh (meat), wine and wood” are made to a poor man struggling through the snow.
Today, Boxing Day is spent with family and friends with lots of fun and food, more relaxed than Christmas day with all the rush to cook Christmas dinner etc. It is also a major sporting day, with numerous horse race meeting, soccer games etc taking place.
OTHER BLOGS ABOUT GREAT BRITAIN:
THE GRAND NATIONAL
WHY UK DRIVES ON THE LEFT
MOTHERS DAY ACROSS THE POND
ABOUT THE UNION JACK
ENGLISHMANS VIEW ON BASEBALL