Boxing Day Tuesday 26 December 2017 in the United Kingdom
History Of Boxing Day 26 Dec 2017:
According to the latest version of Oxford Dictionary, Boxing Day is the first weekday after the Christmas, that is, 26th of December every year. It is also known as St. Stephens Day and is celebrated in the UK, Ireland and many of those countries which were once British colonies. In some countries like Germany, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, the Boxing Day is known as Second Day of Christmas.
The history behind Boxing Day is that the term dates back to the 17th century and on this day servants, errand boys, post men and other such people who were on duties even on the Christmas day were given Christmas boxes or gift boxes by their masters or employers. It is because, on the Christmas day, their masters required them to work, for example, servants were needed to serve the guests coming over and do chores so on the next day they were given leftovers and a Christmas box when leaving to meet their families.
One theory also says that a box used to be installed in the Church on the Christmas day for donations and then opened the next day and the donations used to be distributed among the poor.
How is it celebrated (then and now)
Mostly on this day, people meet each other especially those who were unable to meet on the Christmas Day. People also participate in the sports and other games and activities, for example, horse racing, football, fox hunting etc. Fox hunting was banned in 2004 as chasing a fox with dogs was declared illegal. The change of government in the UK in 2015 has once again raised the debate of reinstating foxhunting.
In Ireland, a terrible and barbaric tradition used to be practiced by the ‘Wren Boys’ who used to stone to death the Wren birds and after showing their hunt to people door after door, they used to get money. They used to commit this act in the memory of St. Stephen (due to him this day is also called St, Stephen Day) who was stoned to death because of believing in Jesus. But now this tradition has been abolished but the Wren Boys still dress the same way and ask for donations which are then given to the poor.
Another activity getting popular year by year is shopping on this day. And in some countries, it has started to be called as ‘shopping holiday’. It is because after Christmas Day all the sales are on (more like Black Friday) and people like to take advantage of the sales by buying products on very low price compared to before, so they opt to go for shopping.
Food and Drinks on the Boxing Day:
People are generally relaxed on this day compared to the Christmas Day. Usually, the guests are served with the Christmas leftovers along with the Christmas cake or there is a buffet. Popular dishes made on this day include Baked Ham, Mince Pies, and Brandy Butter.