In Other News: Boxing Day

A look at a current news item through the lens of different titles available on GVRL.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

As an American, I have zero knowledge of what Boxing Day is in practice. To be honest, I thought it had something to do with the sport of boxing. I know there are soccer matches held on Boxing Day, why couldn’t it have had something to do with boxing? But it turns out, no. It’s actually to do with packages. Two kinds of packages – and some of the best kinds — gifts and left-overs. Boxing Day is an extension of Christmas. Interestingly, modern Boxing Day is a bit of “Christmas [or Hanukkah, I’d presume] with the family you chose, eating all of the delicious food remaining from family holiday celebrations.

I love this, and believe America must adopt it at once!

Here are five titles that look at Boxing Day from different perspectives:

Holidays, Festivals & Celebrations Of World Dictionary, 4th Edition. Omnigraphics, Inc., 2013

Like many traditions, the origins of Boxing Day are not the same as what happens today. (No, still nothing to do with the sport of boxing.) In this title, readers learn that at its origins, Boxing Day was a time to provide a gift, typically money, to public and personal servants and tradespeople. Just as you may give an extra tip to the mailman today. Historically, these people would travel, with a small box or dish, to collect their gifts.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, 13th Edition. Gale, 2012.

Sometimes, 26 December is a very bad day. 2004 was not a typical, laid-back Boxing Day. On this day, the largest magnitude earthquake in 40 years hits the coast of 15 countries, including Thailand, India, Indonesia and as far west as Somalia. Nearly 228,000 people lost their life, though hours elapsed between the time of the earthquake and the resulting tsunami. Just the year before, more than 30,000 Iranians lost their life in a horrible earthquake in Bam. Learn more about these nations, or many other places which capture your interest, in this complete title.

Folklore: An Encyclopedia Of Beliefs, Customs, Tales, Music, And Art, 2nd Edition. ABC-CLIO, 2011.

While the United States does not celebrate Boxing Day, there are plenty of holidays celebrated here which are uncommon in the rest of the world. Sometimes this makes sense, President’s Day, for example. And sometimes we’re in on it, like April Fools Day, which is celebrated with a prank-filled celebration in a handful of countries around the globe including Iran and Poland. So what are the important dates, festivals, and celebrations in the U.S.? Take a look here to find out.

Daily Life in Victorian England, 2nd Edition.Greenwood Publishing Group, 2010.

(I now have the Downton Abbey theme song in my head…[yes, I know Downton Abbey takes place *after* the Victorian period.) In Victorian Britain, Boxing Day was a day of charity. Having received new clothing for the holiday, donations were boxed up and transported to where ever you brought such things at that time. During this time, Boxing Day also became “the staff’s holiday,” allowing staff a full day without obligation to the house to spend with their own family. Many families also began the tradition of going to a show, which is still very common today. Even in America.

Encyclopedia of World Poverty, 1st Edition. ABC-CLIO, 2006.

 At the very heart of Boxing Day is a day to give. For all of the “have” in the world, it seems that the list of the “have nots” never seems to decrease. Though a few years old, this title takes a look at the striking and varied levels of need around the world. Perhaps it will give you some ideas on how to spend your Boxing Day.


photoAbout the Author

Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.



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