Thursday, January 1, 2015

Blogmas Day 26: Boxing Day

Depending on where you live, December 26 is either an extension of the Christmas holidays or it is the official end of the Christmas season.  Many Americans unknowingly accept our nation's cultural hegemony as "everyone in the world's culture" and assume that the day after Christmas is just the day when all of the leftover Christmas schtuff goes on clearance.  However, if you have ever tried to grab a Coke and a bag of chips in Amsterdam on the 26th of December, you'll know that there is more to the day after Christmas than cheap candy.

Outside of the U.S., December 26th is known as "Boxing Day," "Second Christmas," and "Saint Stephan's Day" among other monikers.  In the British Commonwealth, Boxing Day used to be the day when employers would give their workers boxes of goods as a thank you for their loyal service.  This was also the day when churches would open their alms boxes and distribute donations to the poor.

In other parts of the western world, predominantly Catholic countries, "Boxing Day" is instead called "Second Christmas" or 'Saint Stephan's Day" and it is officially the Second Day of Christmas, the second of the famous "Twelve Days of Christmas."  Many people have the mistaken impression that the "Twelve Days of Christmas" end on Christmas Day.  Rather, the Twelve Days represent the period between Christmas and Epiphany and therefore begin on December 25th.

Boxing Day/Second Christmas/ Saint Stephan's Day has never gained traction in the U.S. primarily because of America isn't traditionally a Catholic nation nor has the Catholic faith had a major impact on our national history (save for the Kennedys).  Similarly, unlike our British parent nation, we balk at class distinctions, like those that underscore the traditional Boxing Day celebrations.

So.  There you go.  That is what Boxing Day is all about and why Americans have never celebrated it.  The more your know! *rainbow*

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