Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
According to one theory, today is so named for the annual collection of Christmas boxes on St Stephen's Day by the less wealthy members of English society. Gift giving was practised in the Saturnalia. The early Christian fathers denounced it but had little effect, and it became a Christian tradition, these days more commemorated on Christmas Day.

Tradesmen exacted contributions from their masters' customers. "Christmas-boxes are still regularly expected by the postman, the lamplighter (and) the dustman ..." says 19th-Century British folklorist, Robert Chambers, dryly. In Scotland these gifts are called handsels (usually collected in the New Year; see Handsel Monday).

Boxing Day is also celebrated in some places where the English have settled, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

There is much dispute over the true origins of Boxing Day, but one common story of the holiday's origins is that servants used to receive Christmas gifts from their employers on December 26, after the family celebrations. These were generally called their Christmas boxes. Another story is that this is the day that priests broke open the collection boxes and distributed the money to the poor ...

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