The Christmas dinner you just shared with your family hasn’t fully settled, but the excitement of what’s to come is already starting to set in. The Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade is but a few hours away and the adrenaline is already pumping. Having Christmas Day and Boxing Day back to back is an excellent way to break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend time doing the things you love with the people you love, but have you ever thought about the meaning behind the holiday? Boxing Day has often been an under-appreciated holiday, but it also carries a deep history that shouldn’t be overlooked.
How Did Boxing Day Become A Holiday?
Boxing Day originated as St. Stephen’s Day, named after the first Christian martyr, who was stoned to death in 34 AD (just after the time of Jesus’ life). During this holiday, charitable boxes filled with money and other donations, were given to the church in order to distribute to the poor and needy. However, by the late 18th century, Boxing Day had been converted from a holy, charitable holiday to one geared to outdoor activities.
How Is It Celebrated Across The World?
In the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth, Boxing Day is still celebrated as a public holiday, with regions still celebrating the tradition of putting together charitable donations in boxes to give to the poor. Specifically in England, however, it is recognized as a bank holiday as well. Meaning even if it falls on a day such as Sunday, the holiday will be observed on a working day of the week, most likely on a Monday. In the West, countries such as the United States have fully commercialized Boxing Day, with companies usually featuring big blowout sales to follow up on the hype of Christmas Day celebrations.
How Do We Celebrate In The Bahamas?
In The Bahamas, Boxing Day is observed as a public holiday (most businesses are closed down to observe Boxing Day). It was originally a holiday granted to the slaves by their masters after Christmas Day. They were allowed a time a rest and fellowship, and also received leftover gifts from their masters in finely-crafted, wooden boxes. Today, a yearly Junkanoo parade is held instead of this to commemorate the public holiday.
Whether you’re spending the day rooting for your favourite Junkanoo family in Rawson Square, or sprawled out on the couch still sluggish from the effects of the previous day’s festivities, it’s always good to take a moment to commemorate the day you’re celebrating. Maybe you can also observe the holiday’s true purpose with your family by giving away a yearly box of donations to your favourite charity! It might just become your favourite holiday tradition. Isn’t giving always better than receiving?