Monday, December 26, 2011
Boxing Day is the day after Xmas on 26th December. The exact etymology of the term "boxing" is unclear and there are several competing theories, none of which is definitive. The tradition has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and 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; metal boxes placed outside churches were used to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen.
In the UK, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. This is mentioned in Samuel Pepys' diary entry for 19 December 1663; This custom is linked to an older English tradition: in exchange for ensuring that wealthy landowners' Christmases ran smoothly, their servants were allowed to take the 26th off to visit their families. The employers gave each servant a box containing gifts and bonuses (and sometimes leftover food).
This year we are spending Xmas at home having been away the last 2 years. Last year we were in Shanghai, China visiting friends and this photo was taken at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria Hotel on The Bund. The hotel is located in an old heritage building which has been wonderfully restored as you can see in this image.