Christmas is almost here. In Britain we celebrate on two days; the first is Christmas Day on the 25th, and the second is Boxing Day on the 26th. On both days, most people have a large afternoon dinner with their families. Boxing Day allows us to meet more family members than is possible just on one day. As you can imagine, everyone eats too much food and pudding, and drinks too much wine, beer or spirits.
In Japan, many people have never heard about Boxing Day, so what is this mysterious second day of Christmas? Do people put on boxing gloves and fight each other? Where does the name come from?
Traditionally, people believed it was a day to give money or gifts to people who needed help. Churches had collection boxes called 'alms boxes'. People put money into these boxes. On Saint Stephens Day (26th) the boxes were opened and the money was given to poor people.
In the past rich people had servants and these servants had to work very hard on Christmas Day. However, on the 26th, the servants would have an easy day and the rich people would do some work themselves! Some rich people started the tradition of giving a bonus to their servants (and to other workers who delivered items to them such as postmen.) They would give them this present in a small box.
This tradition still continues. My dad was a postman and often people would give him some money or a present for delivering their letters all year.
So now you know all about Boxing Day - the second day of the Christmas holiday.