Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

"Some boys are rich by birth beyond all wants,
Belov'd by uncles, and kind good old aunts;
When time comes round, a Christmas-box they bear,
And one day makes them rich for all the year." -- John Gay, Trivia (1716),
December 26, Boxing Day, is not about the pugilistic sport nor is it about tossing out empty gift boxes, returning gifts, or getting great bargains. Some historians say the holiday got started when servants, who were required to work on Christmas Day, got the following day off to visit their families. The day took its name from the tradition of presenting gifts of cash, food, clothing and other goods wrapped up in boxes to servants on Dec 26. Another theory is that church donation boxes were opened on the Feast of St. Stephen (Dec 26) and the money distributed to the poor. Wikipedia disagrees with both these theories and claims the day is named after clay boxes that served as a collective piggy bank for servants/workers in a shop or home. On Dec 26 the boxes were smashed open and the contents shared as a Christmas bonus.

Today Boxing Day is a British holiday for giving gifts to everyone who had rendered a service during the previous year: tradesmen, mail carriers, maids, butlers, doormen, porters, etc. It officially began during the reign of Queen Victoria during the middle 19th century.

Boxing Day is celebrated in Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, other Commonwealth of Nations, and Greece. It many of these countries it is a bank holiday (i.e. banks are closed). If Dec 26 falls on a weekend, the public holiday may be moved to Monday. So in a worst case, as a traveler in a British country, you could find yourself without access to a bank from Dec 24/25 thru Dec 27/28.

Bottom Line
Why an article about a holiday in a preparedness blog? As noted earlier in The Survival Encyclopedia and Protecting your Food Storage, few people can be 100% self-sufficient. We all rely on others, especially during times of crisis. It is always a good idea to build a social network and to say thank you to those that have helped you.

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