My family took a nice holiday trip to Montreal way back in 1988, for the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. It was a trip that allowed my family, which has French roots, to really fall in love with Canada, and particularly with Quebec province.
But there was one thing that I remember seemed a mystery to me. The day after Christmas, there was this strange holiday that I had never really heard of. It was called "Boxing Day".
It sounded so strange, so....foreign, to me. It felt like there was a measure of exoticism in the holiday.
What was this "Boxing Day", anyway? Did it really have something to do with the sport of boxing, which was the first image that came to my mind? Did it perhaps have more historical roots, perhaps some sort of association with the Boxing Rebellion in China?
I really did not know. And, truth be told, it seems like it is a mystery to many others around the world, including many Americans.
So, for this Boxing Day, I thought it would be appropriate to do some research on it, and explore it further, in order to slake my own thirst of knowledge on the subject. This is some research that I have been meaning to do for some time, and actually did a long while ago. But, with the renewed activism on "The Charbor Chronicles", it also seemed an appropriate subject for this day in particular.
Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated in Great Britain and the British Commonwealth nations, including Canada and Australia. The idea behind it is that those who are more fortunate and better off generally are to give gifts to those who are less well off. It seems more or less like an extension of the most idealistic notions of gift giving during the Christmas season, along the lines of Charles Dickens in his famous "A Christmas Story".
Boxing Day is not a national holiday in the United States, although it is recognized in some measure in northern parts of the nation, particularly areas neighboring or near Canada.
So, why is it called "Boxing Day"? That much remains unclear. There are theories, of course. The one that seems to make the most sense is the close association to "Christmas boxes" as presents, and this term would then be an extension of that.
Now, Boxing Day is known as a shopping day, not unlike "Black Friday" in the United States. It may seem odd to you, as it kind of does to me, that this shopping holiday falls on literally the day after Christmas, when most people's Christmas shopping is done, and many people are thinking of saving up. But, there you have it. It almost makes me wonder why Boxing Day has not become an American holiday yet, because any holiday associated with shopping seems capable of taking off in the most consumer obsessed culture on the planet.
Also, not unlike Thanksgiving in the United States, Boxing Day is apparently a huge day for sports in participating countries, sure to get an unusually large audience because of the holiday.
For now, however, Boxing Day remains relegated to Commonwealth nations.
Please take a look at my published article on the Guardian Liberty Voice that explore the history of Boxing Day in greater detail:
Boxing Day History and Traditions
Here is the video attached with my GLV article, which you can view here as well:
Here are some websites that helped me in writing this particular blog entry:
Wikiepedia page on Boxing Day:
"What is Boxing Day?" on About.com under British & Irish Food:
Here is a fascinating piece on the history of Boxing Day by Time magazine: "A Brief History Of Boxing Day" by Claire Suddath of Time magazine, Friday, Dec. 25, 2009:
"All you need to know about Boxing day matches – History and memories" bySakshi of Sportskeeda – Tue 24 Dec, 2013: