Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

Happy Boxing Day ... "Boxing Day is December 26, the day after Christmas, and is celebrated in Great Britain and in most areas settled by the English (the U.S. is the major exception), including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand." (source factmonster.com).


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I had almost forgotten about this holiday ... but a news story caught my eye today and reminded me of this holiday celebrated in Great Britian since mid 1800's:  Boxing Day.  It is one of the few 'Bank Holidays' recognized by "recognized since 1871 that are observed by banks, government offices, and the post office." (source factmonster.com), but the origins and meaning of this holiday run deeper.

Despite the name, 'Boxing Day' has absolutely nothing to do with a boxing match, gloves, and two individuals going at one another ... sorry to disappoint.  : )  [Don't feel bad, when I lived over in England, for a time, and first heard of this holiday:  my first image was of a boxing match as well. ]




'Boxing Day' is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages.  Servants were required to work on Christmas Day, but were subsequently given the day after Christmas off.  Supposedly, as the servants would line up to depart, their masters or employers would present the servants with boxes of gifts.  Today, the this tradition has evolved to where common people (you and me : ) often present those who provide services (i.e., mail carriers, tradesmen, porters, doormen and others) with gifts the day after Christmas.

Another possible association of this holiday tradition includes the fact the church would open its collection boxes (placed throughout churches to collect donations for the poor) and distribute the contents to the poor the day after Christmas, December 26th, which also the feast day of St. Stephen ... a decon and martyr dedicated to caring for widows and the poor. (source factmonster.com).



For more info on St. Stephen see:
Life and images of St. Stephen painted by Rubens and other masters
Catholic Encyclopedia, for St. Stephen
St. Stephen suffered martyrdom in Jerusalem about the year 34. He is reckoned as both the first Christian martyr (the protomartyr) and as one of the first deacons.



So ... now you know what 'Boxing Day' actually is and IS NOT. Feel enlightened in some small way, perhaps?  : )



Well ... most everyone I know is out shopping and exchanging gifts today.  I sent my people (i.e., Ken ... he actually likes to shop and get deals ... NOT me?!)   out to do the after Christmas shopping and gift exchanging.  : )  And  me?  I am still in my comfy PJs, with a nice cup of tea, enjoying the crystal clear view of the snow capped mountains (in the distance) from my balcony.  [Kids wish some of that snow would make its way over here to where we are ... but that may yet happen ... predicted a chance of snow this upcoming Tuesday.]

Ah (take a nice long sip of soothing warm liquid) ... this is the life!  : )  Joyful, joyful day to you!  Enjoy the 'Second day of Christmas', leading up to the Feast of the Epiphany.  God Bless!


M

P.S.  Here are some of our Christmas Day photos (and making Christmas cookies) 2009.  Today was 'clean up all the boxes' day for us  : )


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Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts. I'll read them and post them soon! God Bless! M