BOXING DAY- If You Didn’t Get A Gift, Come Let’s Dare The RING!
In a lay man's term, Boxing is a sport where two opponents square up against each other to throw punches at themselves with gloved fists with each individual's objective of trying to score the most points by the end of the bout through knockout or technical knockout. This is the literal meaning of boxing.
From the above, if once upon a time you ever took the meaning of "Boxing Day" literally and attempted some amateurish pugilistic manoeuvres, then you were not alone. Interestingly, i once thought today to be a day set aside (out of the 24 hours period), of which a particular hour was chosen for people to deal with their enemies by physical punching with gloved or bare fists. But thank God, i know better now that today is not the day to be filled with the spirit of Mohammed Ali.
So What is Boxing Day? For some, boxing day is a day to sleep off all the exhaustions & fatigue following Christmas day - The food preparations, hostings and outings e.t.c - all of which are pretty strenous. We all talk about Boxing day but most people know very little about it. However, here are a few facts which points to the origin of this December 26th day otherwise known as "Boxing Day"
- Boxing Day is so called because it was the day most families opened the box for the poor.
- The "Christmas Box" was often made of clay or wood and was where people placed gifts to be opened on this day.
- During the earliest times of exploration, a Christmas box would be placed on a ship for goodluck. A priest would place it there, and the crewmen would drop money in it to ensure a safe return. If the ship returned safely, the priest would take the box and distribute the contents to the poor.
- In days of old, every church in England had an alms box where folks placed money for the poor. The box would then be opened on the 26th of December and the contents given out to the poor of the parish.
- The tradition is still being practised today as many people take small tokens and give it out to local workers. The kids also collect things in boxes to be given to the local poor.
Boxing day is widely celebrated in many countries and amongst them are; Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
It is referred to by different names in some of these countries. For instance, in South Africa, Boxing Day is known as "Day of goodwill". In Ireland it is called "St Steven's Day". In other continental european countries, it is either known as "Christmas II" or " Second Christmas Day".
The Boxing day tradition depends on the location. But most often, it includes shopping, giving money and gifts to the less fortunate, a day of watching sporting events like horse racing and football.
In Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Uk, Boxing Day is the heaviest shopping day of the year. Boxing day has been recognized in the UK since the early 17th century and it is one the British Bank Holidays that is being celebrated. In the Uk, the most popular online searches for shopping on sale items occur on Boxing day. In the United States, the day is celebrated every year as the national candy cane day.
Remarkable events have been known to occur on this day but one of the most remarkable Boxing day event which took place as a colossal disaster in human history was the marine earthquake "tsunami" of 2004 which occured around the indian ocean resulting in the deaths of over 300,000 people (I would never forget that black day event).
With these few facts on Boxing day, do you think we observe the proper celebration here in Nigeria? If we do, Is the reason for celebrating it rightly placed? Well, one thing i know for certain is that the reason for Boxing day is directly tied to the need for people to be charitable, especially to the less privileged. As i earlier stated, it is a day for some to open up the gifts received at christmas, i.e the gifts are left untouched until this day. But for some too, it is a day of relaxation and it may be a time to go out "gaming". While others (i fall into this category) still prefer to use the day to visit those in the hospitals, orphanages e.tc. in order to bring them the Christmas experience.
In Nigeria, Boxing day has been abused and misused by those who pretend to be "Christians", because they hardly remember the poor on this day, rather they buy gifts for themselves and go on picnic to spend more on their selfish pleasures. Even more ridiculous Nigerians believe it is a day dedicated to boxers. But this shouldn't be the case, rather it should be a day for sharing of gifts and love and not a day to host conflicts and inflict bleeding nostrils/faces on either friends or enemies as the case may warrant.
Having shared the most of what Boxing day means to us. I hope some of us would rather give out than expect to receive gifts and try to make someone feel loved out there today? So who wants a gift.....? - Meet me in the ring if you want one.
Please Whatever you do and where ever you are, just stay out of trouble today. Happy Boxing Day to you all.