25 December 2018

So, What Is Boxing Day, Anyway?

Intro Copy

What do these three things have in common? They are all activities occurring on Boxing Day. Though our country used to be part of Britain, many of us in the U.S. don't have a clue about the traditions and origins of this holiday, which is still celebrated in much of the former British Empire. Boxing Day is a secular holiday observed in most years on the day after Christmas in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong and elsewhere. It has been linked to, and falls on the same day as, the religious holiday of St. Stephen's Day, which honors the first martyr of Christianity. The name may come from boxes at Middle Ages churches collecting alms for the poor or from the boxes of gifts given to servants by their masters. While the origins of the holiday are murky, it became a day on which to give money to charity and service providers and to spend time with family. In modern times, it has become synonymous with shopping (much to the disappointment of some who want to return it from a focus on consumerism to a focus on charity) and sporting events, including fox hunting, cricket, rugby, horse racing and soccer ... er ... football. To learn more about the holiday's past and present, see our Research Topic page on Boxing Day. You can also access it and all Research Topics by searching common terms and phrases in eLibrary--often, the applicable Research Topic will be at the top of the results. Look for the drop-down list as you are typing and click if you see what you want, as those items Research Topics titles. Alternately, you can browse for Research Topics in our Subjects and Common Assignments areas, which can be accessed from the eLibrary landing page. While you are there, also check out or Trending Topics and Editors' Picks carousels for the hottest topics and maybe some you hadn't thought of. Happy Boxing Day!

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