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A look into the origins of Boxing Day


December 26th is traditionally known as "Boxing Day" in several countries around the world.  It's a bank holiday and one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  But the name doesn't always sound familiar here in the United States.

So, have you ever heard of boxing day?

"No, I've never heard of it here."
"Not a clue."
"Years ago after Christmas everyone would take their boxes and have a bonfire and burn 'em all."
"It's the day they box up everything in boxes and store it for the next year.  Is that correct?"

Not exactly.

"Is it about the hustle and bustle after Christmas, the fighting and all?"
"Umm, I think you celebrate the sport of boxing? Yeah."

Despite its sporty name, it has nothing to do with a pugilistic competition.

"I know it's in Canada."

Actually, it can be traced back to Great Britain, and is still celebrated in most areas settled by the British, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

Perry Hunter has worked at McGuire's Irish Pub for over 26 years.  He knows a little something about Scottish history.
"The Hunter Clan actually goes back to the 12th century of Scotland.  We were the hunters for the kings of Scotland and put the meat on the table."

His family is very familiar with boxing day.

"No one really knows the origins, but it dates back to about the middle ages when the alms box at the churches were filled up for the poor.  And they would open them up on December 26th."

Another version of the story comes from the British upper class and their servants.  Paul L'Orange of Pensacola says, "The business owners would give thier employees gifts and the day off, generally."

Hunter adds, "I guess it's just our little touch of the olde world.  Sort of remembering that this is the season to give and not to receive."

But is it a holiday that would work in the U.S.?

"We celebrate a lot of stuff.  It would probably fit right in."
"The British can keep it.  I think we're already long on holidays."

Whatever the true origins of Boxing Day, we hope that you're able to celebrate with your family and loved ones.