Boxing Day is today, but what is it?
This public holiday that has become synonymous with shopping and sporting events, but its origins are a mystery even to many British expatriates.
Boxing Day typically falls the day after Christmas, on December 26. Celebrated across Britain and much of the Commonwealth, including Canada and New Zealand - Boxing Day is a public holiday that is commonly associated with shopping and sporting events. Beyond that, its origins – even for Brits – are a bit fuzzy.
The story goes that Queen Victoria declared Boxing Day an official holiday in the mid-19th century. It functioned as the servants' day off, and it was custom among landholders to give presents and food - enclosed in boxes. But when it first was observed is unknown, reports Philly.com.
“The common thread, we were always told, was it began in the Middle Ages,” Howard Silverstone, 52, a forensic accountant who moved to the United States from North London almost three decades ago was quoted in Philly.com. Something to do with “the way the land was owned, with the master and all the servants [who] worked on Christmas.”
Other expats have different childhood memories. Former North Londoner, Chef Ben McNamara of The Dark Horse in Philadelphia, recalls Boxing Day as a chance for groups of family and friends to get together and finish off what they hadn't eaten or drunk the day before. It gave them an extra day to revel in the holiday spirit and one another's company, he told Philly.com.
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Nick Perry, an engineer who grew up near Manchester, sees the holiday a tad differently.
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“It's just another day off to watch sporting events and get drunk, when the women go out and go shopping," the South Philadelphia resident was quoted in Philly.com.
Do you celebrate Boxing Day, and if so, how?
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