Boxing Day
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BOXING DAY

Boxing Day, in Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, holiday (December 26) on which servants, tradespeople, and the poor traditionally were presented with gifts. By the 21st century it had become a day associated with shopping and sporting events. Boxing Day is celebrated on Sunday, December 26, 2021.
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Boxing Day, in Great Britain and some Commonwealth countries, particularly Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, holiday (December 26) on which servants, tradespeople, and the poor traditionally were presented with gifts. By the 21st century it had become a day associated with shopping and sporting events. Boxing Day is celebrated on Sunday, December 26, 2021.
One idea is that December 26 was the day centuries ago when lords of the manor and aristocrats typically distributed “Christmas boxes” often filled with small gifts, money and leftovers from Christmas dinner to their household servants and employees, who were required to work on December 25, in recognition of good service throughout the year. These boxes were, in essence, holiday bonuses. Another popular theory is that the Boxing Day moniker arose from the alms boxes that were placed in churches during the Advent season for the collection of monetary donations from parishioners. Clergy members distributed the contents of the boxes to the poor on December 26, which is also the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and a figure known for acts of charity. (Ireland celebrates December 26 as St. Stephen’s Day.)
The European tradition of giving money and other gifts to those in need, or in service positions, has been dated to the Middle Ages, but the exact origin is unknown. It is sometimes believed to be in reference to the Alms Box placed in the narthex of Christian churches to collect donations to the poor. The tradition may come from a custom in the late Roman/early Christian era wherein alms boxes placed in churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen,[7] which, in the Western Christian Churches, falls on the same day as Boxing Day, the second day of Christmastide. On this day, it is customary in some localities for the alms boxes to be opened and distributed to the poor.[1][8]
In some European countries - such as Hungary, Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands - Boxing Day is celebrated as a second Christmas Day.

Churches played a part in the creation of Boxing Day. Through the year they would take money from churchgoers in the form of a collection and hand it out at Christmas.

Many of them stored the collection money in a box, which they opened on Christmas Day. The money was then handed out to the poor the next day - on Boxing Day.

Today, those boxes aren't as popular. However some people leave out extra money for people like paper boys and girls in the weeks before Christmas, and call it a Christmas box.
Though historians disagree on the exact origin of Boxing Day, it is thought to have grown out of longstanding British traditions of charitable giving and goodwill—practices especially associated with the Christian festival of Saint Stephen’s Day, which is celebrated on December 26.

One of the first deacons of the Christian church, Saint Stephen was killed for his beliefs around A.D 36 and is considered Christianity’s first martyr. Known for serving the poor, Saint Stephen is traditionally celebrated with charity and the distribution of alms.

If you’ve ever heard the carol “Good King Wenceslas,” you may recall that the king tramps through deep snow in a bid to give alms to a poor peasant. The king was a real figure: Saint Wenceslas, a 10th-century Bohemian duke who, according to legend, did noble deeds “on the feast of Stephen”—December 26.
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