Boxing Day!

Monday 26 December 2011

Today is the Feast of Saint Stephen (as in the one sung about in Good King Wenceslas), also known as Wren Day (once upon a time), more commonly known as Boxing Day. But why?

Well, it has nothing to do with putting out the boxes that all the presents came in on Christmas Day. It is instead to do with alms boxes. The day after Christmas, the priest would open the collection boxes that had been left in church over the festive period and then distribute the money to the poor and needy of the parish.

Boxing Day has a whole host of traditions associated with it, everything from horse racing and fox hunting to wren hunting and mummers' plays. As a child I visited the village of Marshfield in Gloucestershire once to watch the famous mummer's play there.

Boxing Day is also when the sales start, of course, although this year they seemed to start some time before Christmas. To find out more about Boxing Day and it's traditions why not turn to the chapter 'Why is 26 December called Boxing Day?' in your copy of What is Myrrh Anyway? or Christmas Miscellany?

26 December is also the first of the Twelve Days of Christmas...


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