Saturday, 26 December 2009

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a bank holiday or a public holiday in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Greenland, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau and countries in the Commonwealth of Nations with a mainly Christian population. In South Africa this public holiday is now known as the Day ofGoodwill. Though it is not an official holiday in the United States, the name "Boxing Day" for the day after Christmas has some currency among Americans, particularly those that live near the Canada - United States border. The name derives from the tradition of giving seasonal gifts, on the day after Christmas, to less wealthy people and social inferiors, which was later extended to various workpeople such as labourers and servants.
The traditional recorded celebration of Boxing Day has long included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, the needy and people in service positions. The European tradition has been dated to the Middle Ages , but the exact origin is unknown and there are some claims that it goes back to the late Roman/early christian era.
In the United Kingdom it certainly became a custom of the
nineteenth century Victorians for tradesmen to collect their 'Christmas boxes' or gifts in return for good and reliable service throughout the year on the day after Christmas.
The establishment of Boxing Day as a defined public Holiday under the legislation that created the UK's Bank Holidays started the separation of 'Boxing Day' from the 'Feast of St Stephen' and today it is almost entirely a secular holiday with a tradition of shopping and post Christmas sales starting.

Public holiday
Boxing Day is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, St Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas Day. Unlike St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day is a secular holiday but is always on 26 December: the public holiday is generally moved to the following Monday if 26 December is a Saturday. If 25 December is a Saturday or Sunday then both the Monday and Tuesday may be public holidays. However the date of observance of Boxing Day varies between countries.
In Ireland—when it was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland—the UK's Bank Holiday Act 1871 established the feast day of St Stephen as a non-moveable public holiday on 26 December. Since Partition, the name "Boxing Day" is used only by the authorities in Northern Ireland (which remained part of the United Kingdom). Their Boxing Day is a moveable public holiday in line with the rest of the United Kingdom.
The Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971 established "Boxing Day" as a public holiday in Scotland. In the Australian state of South Australia, 26 December is a public holiday known as Proclamation Day.

In both Scotland and England, it is traditional for the Scottish premier League and Premier
League respectively, as well as the lower divisions and Rugby Football leagues, to hold a full program of football and Rugby matches on Boxing Day. Traditionally matches on Boxing Day are played against local rivals. This was originally to avoid teams and their fans having to travel a long distance to an away game on the day after Christmas Day. It also makes the day an important one in the sporting calendar.
In horse racing, there is the King George VI Chase at Kempton racecourse in Surrey. It's the second most prestigious chase in England, after the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The association of Boxing Day with sport in early village celebrations has led to the folk etymology that Boxing Day is traditionally associated with boxing.
Australia holds the first day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the start to the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race.
IIF World Under20 Championship (Ice Hockey) begins on 26 December. It is most often hosted in Canada.
The Spengler Cup (Ice Hockey) also begins on 26 December in Davos, Switzerland and includes HC Davos, Team Canada and European hockey teams. IFA Premiership sides Linfield and Glentoran contest the Belfast Derby on Boxing day each year.
because of a riot at Windsor Park during the game on Boxing Day 2008 the IFA suspended the game from taking place on the traditional Boxing Day the next year. Challengers overturned this ruling in February 2009, and fans expect the fixture to be held on 26 December 2009.

Today's Smile

Brainteaser - Friday's Answer

In Friday's brainteaser you were given six news headlines, all events that happened on Christmas day, and asked to state in which year each event occurred. Here are the answers.

01 Queen makes first Christmas speech (1952)

02 Mars space probe disappears (2003)

03 Romania#'s 'First Couple' executed (1989)

04 Gorbachev resigns as Soviet Union breaks up (1991)

05 Silent film legend Chaplin dies (1977)

06 Cyclone Tracey leaves Darwin devastated (1974)

Very well done if you answered any of the questions correctly!

Subtle Approach

Why Do We Say That?

In Siam (modern day Thailand) white or pale elephants were very valuable. The king sometimes gave a white elephant to a person he disliked. It might seem a wonderful gift but it was actually a punishment because it cost too much to keep.

The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, refused to be involved in the death of an innocent person (Jesus). So he washed his hands in front of the crowd, symbolically disassociating himself from the execution.

When Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658 had his portrait painted he ordered the artist not to flatter him. He insisted on being painted 'warts and all'.

You can tell a horse's age by examining his teeth. A horse dealer may lie to you but you can always find out the truth 'from the horses mouth'.