Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland. It’s a day to spend with family and friends and to eat up all the leftovers of Christmas Day.
History and tradition differ about the origins of the name Boxing Day. The most common reasons are:
· A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present.
· Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.
· A box to collect money for the poor traditionally and placed in Churches on Christmas day and opened the next day - Boxing Day.
· Great sailing ships when setting sail would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. Were the voyage a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the contents were given to the poor.
British activities on Boxing Day include bizarre traditions like swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, charity events and Fox hunting.
Irish activities on Boxing Day include the celebration of St Stephen who was killed, purportedly stoned to death, for believing in Jesus. It is known as "St Stephen's Day" and is famous for its "Wren Boys" would go out and stone Wrens to death with blackened. This barbaric act has now stopped, but the Wrens Boys will still dress up and parade around time, though, but collecting money for charity.