Boxing Day traditions

first_imgSince my last article focused on Christmas Traditions, I decided to use this one to speak about Boxing Day. For many of us, Boxing Day is the added bonus to Christmas, a day to recuperate from the stress of the holiday, to sleep in, or to make the terrible joke to our siblings that we will “box” them to celebrate the day.However, have you ever stopped to wonder from where the day originates? No one is incredibly sure, but there are a few prevailing theories. One is that in the Wealthy would often give servants a day off after Christmas, and the “box” in Boxing Day comes from a box each servant would be given that held food, a bonus and gifts. A similar theory claims the name comes from the fact that tradespeople would collect Christmas boxes of gifts or money on the first weekday after Christmas, to reward them for dedicated service. An outlying theory however says that the name comes from all the way in the Victorian Era, when churches displayed boxes for churchgoers to donate money.Regardless of how it came about, Boxing Day has become nearly as certain as Christmas. It is recognised worldwide, and with that recognition comes many, many peculiar Boxing Day traditions. In Aberdeen, Scotland, there is a similar event called “Nippy Dipper” where people dress in elaborate costumes and jump into the waters of the North Sea. Popular costumes include Santa Claus, Superheroes, Elves, and even characters from popular TV shows and movies. Organised by the Aberdeen’s Lion’s Club, funds raised can go to a charity of the dipper’s choice, or towards Lord Provost’s Charitable Trust. Dips have raised up to £13,000 in one day. There are several such events around the country, including one organised by the Rotary Club of Redcar, in Teesside and another in Norfalk. Some say it is a cure for a hangover, whilst other swear it helps them burn off some Christmas fat. Either way, every Boxing Day, hundreds plunge into the cold waters.Boxing Day is also said to be the feast day of Saint Stephen, who was stoned to death for believing in Jesus Christ. In Ireland, there was a tradition where ‘young men, known as ‘Wren Boys’, would go around the city stoning wrens as a reminder of what happened to St Stephen. Although these stonings no longer happen, young boys still dress up and parade through the streets, collecting money for charity. Saint Stephen is also known as the patron saint of horses, and consequently on Boxing Day, horse races are incredibly popular.There are many other Boxing Day traditions, and a whole host of history surrounding their creations. Nevertheless, the holiday brings some time for relaxation, which I think everyone is thankful for.last_img

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