A few of the blogging team were discussing what we do on Boxing Day when it was asked…How come it is called Boxing Day? Hhhmm good question. I was also wondering if there were artworks named Boxing Day... of course there are!
So first up we will discuss why it is called Boxing Day. A bit of research reveals a few possibilities of how the name came about, two popular references were as follows:-
A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families
Whilst you are reading the next possibility, hum the music of Good King Wenceslas, it might provide a cryptic clue….
The name could refer to the alms boxes that were placed in churches during the Advent season for the collection of monetary donations from parishioners. Clergy members distributed the contents of the boxes to the poor on December 26, which is also the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and a figure known for acts of charity. (Ireland celebrates December 26 as St. Stephen’s Day.) Credit: history.com.
I feel that you cannot mention Boxing Day without referring to the "Boxing Day Tsunami" of 2004, one of the largest natural disasters of our time where over 230,000 people died throughout Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Maldives, Somalia. Approximately 16 billion dollars was donated after the event.
On a lighter note, in Australia, there is literally something for everyone to do, in no particular order: -
Shopping - (Not for me but can’t say that for the other members of my family)
Cricket - In what year do you think the Boxing Day Test played at The Melbourne Cricket Ground became a regular annual event?
I was surprised to read in an by article Michael Coulett@ABCnews that apart from a couple of random games, the Boxing Day Test has only been an Aussie institution since the late 1980s.
The Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - This race has an interesting history, encapsulated by Greg Peart Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies who writes “The Sydney–Hobart Yacht Race, arguably the world's greatest ocean race, began when Jack Earl, a marine artist, planned a cruise from Sydney to Hobart on the family ketch, leaving on Boxing Day, 1945.
Friends decided to make a race of it, and eventually nine yachts took part. The winner of both handicap and line honours, John Illingworth's Rani, took 6 days, 14 hours, 22 minutes…he continues “Not all yachts make the finish, and rough weather can cause many withdrawals. In 1993, only 38 yachts finished out of 110 starters. A total of nine sailors have drowned, with the worst year by far 1998, when in exceptionally rough weather, six sailors died. But there are sailors for whom the Sydney-Hobart is an integral part of their life. Sixty yachtsmen have sailed in 25 or more races. Tasmanian John Bennetto holds the record of 43 races, finishing in eighteen consecutive races as owner/skipper of Mirrabooka.
Did I save the best till last, The Movies?
Generally the ‘blockbuster' movies are saved for release on Boxing Day which is arguably the busiest day of the year at the cinema. Movies like Avatar, Harry Potter derivatives and Lord of the Rings are often saved for release on this day.
I remember one of our family Boxing Day favourites was ‘Waking Ned Devine’ which was released in Australia in 1998. It was a very funny, quirky, movie set in Ireland, along the lines of "Local Hero" highlighting to me once again, the biggest budget blockbuster is not necessarily always the most entertaining….
We hope that you enjoy a relaxing Boxing Day and we leave you with some aptly named artwork.