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What Is Boxing Day And Why Is It Called Like That?

With all the cultures that exist, there are plenty of holiday celebrations that have been part of history for as long as people remember. Some of the “younger” holidays have origins that are quite easy to track. The origins of one holiday’s name are a bit harder to track, despite being relatively young.

In the United Kingdom and in the most countries of the Commonwealth realm, there is a holiday known as Boxing Day. It is a celebration that takes place the day after Christmas, allowing people another occasion to consume large amounts of holiday leftovers and argue about what you didn’t get the morning before.

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When you hear the name, a Sunday night boxing match on HBO might come to mind. But the holiday itself has nothing to do with the sport, despite the name. And no one really has an answer as to why it is called such.

One go-to explanation involves having placed collection boxes at churches that would be opened the day after Christmas. The money collected was meant to help the poor. The boxes were opened in the name of St Stephen, a man historically referred to as the “first Christian martyr.”

Another theory involves workers/servers and their relationships with employers. Workers and servants were given a large “Christmas Box” full of food to take back to their family to celebrate Boxing Day.

While workers celebrated on Christmas Day, servants worked on the holiday and celebrated Boxing Day on the 26th and gave ‘Christmas Boxes’ to family members.

Some say the day refers to a specific nautical custom. Large ships would set sail with a locked box full of money for good luck. If the voyage happened to be a success, the captain would give the box to a priest and would be opened on Christmas Day.

Have you ever heard of Boxing Day yourself? If you have, what name theories have you heard?

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