Last year, I explained, for readers who do not live in the “old Commonwealth,” our custom of Boxing Day ~ it has nothing to do with Joe Louis, Rockey Marciano or any of the more recent and infamous pugilists. It’s origins go way back to a Yuletide custom of giving gifts to servants and the poor on St Stephen’s Day ~ you remember that “Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen, When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even,” don’t you? Well, Queen Victoria took an old custom a step further and gave royal gifts to both servants (who had worked Christmas Day to serve the royal family) and to Londoners. This probably happened in the 1840s or ’50s, after her husband, Prince Albert brought many German Christmas customs ~ including the Christmas Tree ~ to England. In 1871 Boxing Day became a “bank holiday” ~ a public holiday. For many Canadians, it’s a huge shopping day as stores try to get rid of their unsold Christmas goods at fire-sale prices ~ sort of our equivalent to America’s Balck Friday.
Enjoy our holiday, everyone!