Monday, December 26, 2005

It's Boxing Day!

And here in the Tannerball household, we are getting ready to go out to the country and do some shootin'. Busting up clays is a great way to blow off a little holiday steam. I will be using my new Remington 870:The Daytimer will be using her sweet Beretta Silver Pigeon "S" over/under 20 gauge:Just so you know, here are the potential origins of Boxing Day, as reported in Wikipedia:
There is much dispute over the true origins of Boxing Day. The more common stories include:

Centuries ago, merchants would present their servants food and fruits as a form of Yuletide tip. Naturally, the gifts of food and fruit were packed in boxes, hence the name "Boxing Day".

In feudal times, Christmas was a reason for a gathering of extended families. All the serfs would gather their families in the manor of their lord, which makes it easier for the lord of the estate to hand out annual stipends to the serfs. After all the Christmas parties on December 25, the lord of the estate would give practical goods such as cloth, grains, and tools to the serfs who lived on his land, and one family would get a box full of such goods the day after Christmas. Under this explanation, there was nothing voluntary about this transaction; the lord of the manor was obligated to supply these goods. Because the boxes being given out, the day was called Boxing Day.

In Britain many years ago, it was common practice for the servants to carry boxes to their employers when they arrive for their day's work on the day after Christmas (26 December). Their employers would then put coins in the boxes as special end-of-year gifts. This can be compared with the modern day concept of Christmas bonuses. The servants carried boxes for the coins, hence the name Boxing Day.

In churches, it was tradition to open the church's donation box on Christmas day, and the money in the donation box were to be distributed to the poorer or lower class citizens on the next day. In this case, the "box" in "Boxing Day" comes from that one gigantic lockbox in which the donations were left.

In slave labour camps, many of the negros were forced to enter a festive tournament of hand to hand combat, the prize for the winner being their freedom and a large hamper of bananas, the punishment for the losers death. This has now led to the day being called Boxing Day.

In Britain because many servants had to work for their employers on Christmas day they would instead open their presents (ie. boxes) the next day, which therefore became known as boxing day.

The theories above, irrespective of the specifics, all seem to indicate that the original tradition that lead to what we know now as Boxing Day may have been to maintain society's class structure. It was a one-way gift-giving practice, where gifts flowed from a higher class of society to the lower classes (the serfs, the poorer people, etc). An exchange of gifts would indicate equality between the giver and the receiver, which is what Boxing Day may originally have been intended to fight against.

Alternatively, some have proposed that "Boxing Day" may have been when all the Christmas decorations went back in their boxes to await next year's festivities. This seems less likely, however, when we consider the known age of the term "Boxing Day", which predates the modern decorating obsession by several centuries.
Have a good one!