If you live in a Commonwealth country, you’re celebrating Boxing Day today (likely by shopping for discounted Christmas items). If you live in the USA, you probably have no idea what Boxing Day means.
In the most simplistic terms, Boxing Day is simply the day after Christmas, December 26th. The history of the term ‘Boxing Day’ is generally taken to refer to the British habit of gifting their servants and tradespeople with boxes of food and fruit on the day following Christmas (an early version of a Christmas bonus). It’s also been suggested that it refers to the habit of the Church of handing out alms to the poor on this day, taken from the tithes gathered in the Church poor boxes throughout the year.
There may also be a more decidedly pagan history behind the name. Tradition says that the Wren, or King of the Birds, was captured in a box during Solstice festivities. The boxed wren was then taken from house to house, where householders would ask him for the boon of a successful year and bountiful harvest. This tradition is mentioned in the classic book of English mythology and magic, the Golden Bough.
Wikipedia explains the common protocols for decided when Boxing Day will be celebrated:
In common usage, 26 December is continually referred to as Boxing Day whichever day of the week it occurs on. If it falls on a Sunday then in countries where it is a Bank Holiday the Statutory Holiday is moved to Monday December 27th to ensure a day without work. As Christmas Day would therefore be a Saturday, Tuesday 28 December is also declared as a holiday in lieu.
We’re celebrating Boxing Day by eating leftover Turkey for lunch, and Pho for dinner, from the Vietnamese restaurant around the corner from my daughter. After we drop her off, we’ll eat a big bowl of noodle and seafood soup. Then I’ll try to find someplace where I can buy an industrial sized box of puppy pads.
Here’s a photo of Mae’s puppy boy, taken last night. He’s almost completely better.