Boxing Day was yesterday. here's Time Magazine reflecting on its possible origin.
King Wencelas didn't start Boxing Day, but the Church of England might have. During Advent, Anglican parishes displayed a box into which churchgoers donated money. On the day after Christmas, the boxes were broken open and their contents distributed among the poor, thus giving rise to the term "Boxing Day." Maybe.
But wait: there's another possible story about the holiday's origin. The day after Christmas was also the traditional day on which the aristocracy distributed presents (boxes) to servants and employees — a sort of institutionalized Christmas bonus party. The servents returned home, opened their boxes, and had a second Christmas on what became known as Boxing Day.
So which version is correct? Well, both. Or neither. No one, it seems, is really sure. Both the church boxes and the servant presents definitely existed, although historians disagree on which practice inspired the holiday. But Boxing Day's origins aren't especially important to modern day Brits — Britain isn't known for its religious fervor and few people can afford to have servants anymore, anyway. Today's Boxing Day festivities have very little to do with charity — instead, they revolve around food, football (soccer), visits from friends, food and drinking at the pub.
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