Snurched from www.pauldenton.co.uk
Boxing Day originated in England in the middle of the nineteenth century under Queen Victoria. December 26th, or Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and other Commonwealth countries. It is spent with family and friends at open gatherings with lots of food, fun, friendship and love. Boxing Day is so called because it was the custom on that day for tradesmen to collect their Christmas boxes or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.
Boxing Day is also St. Stephen's Day. St Stephen was a little known saint who achieved eternal fame by being the first Christian to be martyred for his faith by being stoned to death shortly after Christ's crucifixion.
The traditional celebration of Boxing Day included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, needy individuals, and people in service jobs.
The holiday may date from the Middle Ages (A.D. 400's--1500's), but the exact origin is unknown. It may have begun with the lords and ladies of England, who presented Christmas gifts in boxes to their servants on December 26. Or it may have begun with priests, who opened the church's alms (charity) boxes on the day after Christmas and distributed the contents to the poor.
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