I can’t believe I have to work on Boxing Day! Despite its name, the criminally overlooked secular holiday has nothing to do with pugilists, punches, or parries. Rather, it’s the day in which servants and manual workers would be given gifts by their superiors.
Where the term “boxing” came from in the holiday’s name isn’t known, but there are some theories. Its origins have been traced back to the 5th century, when individuals in service positions would be given money and other gifts. Other historians have noted a tradition during the late Roman/early Christian era wherein metal boxes where placed outside of churches. These boxes were used to collect offerings to the Feast of St. Stephen – which fell on the same day as Boxing Day.
Another tradition in English society can be linked to Boxing Day. Since servants were not allowed in the house on Christmas, they would be given gifts on the next workday by the aristocracy. Typically these gifts were packaged in boxes, duh.
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