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News / Weird & Wonderful

Ever wondered about the origins of Boxing Day?

Boxing day man

Boxing Day is more than just about recovering from a load of booze, devouring a chocolate orange for breakfast and being forced to stomach turkey curry. And no, there isn’t a need for boxing gloves, either.

Boxing Day is primarily observed in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Hong Kong and other Commonwealth nations but no-one really knows how the holiday originated. If we have to take a guess, a day’s break wasn’t enough for our ancestors and the kind of physical labour they were engaged in, so they got Christmas very kindly extended. But here are some other possibilities regarding how the holiday came about and how it’s celebrated...

Back in the Victorian era, the day after Christmas was traditionally a day off for servants and they were usually given a Christmas box by their masters. These boxes usually contained money, gifts and food. Others believe it comes from the custom of church boxes, placed to receive donations for the less-fortunate when people visit on Christmas. The box would be opened the next day and the contents distributed, hence the name.

Another potential origin can be traced back to Britain’s proud naval tradition of having a sealed box of money on board for extended voyages. If the voyage was successful and the crew returned to shore safe and sound, the box would be handed over to a priest for distribution to the needy.

In recent years, the day has become synonymous with sporting activities like horse racing, fox hunting and football matches – think Manchester United and Arsenal. Another sport has also emerged: SHOPPING. A day of relaxation and time spent with family is now replaced with sales shopping and acquiring good bargains as a way to make up for any crappy gifts we’ve received the day before. 

While no one seems to know for sure the origins of this day, we still appreciate the post-Christmas break to nurse our hangovers and enjoy great shopping discounts. By Priscilla Lee