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Ayah & Ibu
When is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is the following day after Christmas Day. It is on the 26 December
Like Christmas Day, Boxing Day is a public holiday.
Why is 26 December called Boxing Day in England?
Traditionally, this was the day to open the Christmas Box to share the contents with the poor.
What is a Christmas Box?
The Christmas box was a wooden or clay container where people placed gifts.
Through our research for this page on the Woodlands Junior website, we have discovered that Christmas Boxes were used in different ways.
To protect ships
During the Age of Exploration, when great sailing ships were setting off to discover new land, A Christmas Box was used as a good luck device. It was a small container placed on each ship while it was still in port. It was put there by a priest, and those crewmen who wanted to ensure a safe return would drop money into the box. It was then sealed up and kept on board for the entire voyage.
If the ship came home safely, the box was handed over to the priest in the exchange for the saying of a Mass of thanks for the success of the voyage. The Priest would keep the box sealed until Christmas when he would open it to share the contents with the poor. www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/boxingday.html
To help the poor
An 'Alms Box' was placed in every church on Christmas Day, into which worshippers placed a gift for the poor of the parish. These boxes were always opened the day after Christmas, which is why that day became know as Boxing Day. copyright of projectbritain.com
A present for the workers
Many poorly paid workers were required to work on Christmas Day and took the following day off to visit their families. As they prepared to leave, their employers would present them with Christmas boxes. copyright of projectbritain.com
During the late 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the manor would "box up" their leftover food, or sometimes gifts and distribute them the day after Christmas to tenants who lived and worked on their lands. copyright of projectbritain.com
And the tradition still continues today ......
The tradition of giving money to workers still continues today. It is customary for householders to give small gifts or monetary tips to regular visiting trades people (the milkman, dustman, coalman, paper boy etc.) and, in some work places, for employers to give a Christmas bonus to employees.
Schools across the country gather together gifts to be put in Christmas Boxes that are sent to poorer countries.
The Christmas boxes were made from clay and were necessarily made in the shape of a box. They were often hollow clay balls with a slit in the top.
Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen's Day (when Good King Wenceslas looked out). copyright of projectbritain.com
'Good King Wenceslas looked out,
On the Feast of Stephen...........'
He lived in Rome and was the first man to be killed for believing in the teachings of Jesus.
Some people claim that he shares this day with another St Stephen, who came from Sweden. St Stephen of Sweden is the patron saint of horses. Boxing Day has long be associated with outdoor sports, especially horse racing and hunting. copyright of projectbritain.com
Boxing Day Hunts
Traditionally Boxing Day is a day for fox hunting. Horse riders dressed in red and white riding gear, accompanied by a number of dogs called foxhounds, chase the fox through the countryside in the hope of tiring it out.
Eventually the hunters hope the fox will be so tired that the dogs will be able to catch it and kill it.
Many animal welfare campaigners object to fox hunting saying it is cruel to kill a fox in this way, while many participants view it as a crucial part of rural history in England, vital for conservation, and a method of pest control.
In November 2004, MPs voted to ban hunting with dogs in England and Wales. As from 18 February 2005 hunting with dogs became a criminal offence (although it is still legal to exercise hounds, chase a scent and flush out foxes to be shot). copyright of projectbritain.com
Traditionally, Boxing Day is the day when families get together. It is a day of watching sports and playing board games with the family. Many families will go on walks in the countryside together on this day. copyright of projectbritain.com
In recent times, some shops have broken from tradition and started opening on Boxing Day to start the New Year sales. Hundreds of people now spend Boxing Day morning in queues outside shops, waiting to be the first to dive for the sales racks as the doors opened.
Hunting of the Wren
It is unlucky to kill a wren on any day apart from Boxing Day. Hunting of the Wren on Boxing Day was once a popular activity in England.
Groups of young boys know as 'Wren boys' would hunt a wren and then tie the dead bird to the top of a pole, decorated with holly sprigs and ribbons. With blackened faces, the group would sing at houses in hopes for coins, gifts or food.
Those that gave money to the boys would receive a feather from the wren as thanks. The collected money was then used to host a village dance. copyright of projectbritain.comThis odd ritual was not restricted to England. It was prevalent in some continental countries on Boxing Day as well as the Isle of Man, Wales and Ireland.