Monday, 26 December 2011

The day after Christmas

The first time I spent my Christmas holidays at a place where most of the people actually celebrated Christmas, was in 1980 in the small town of Wrexham, in the northern part of Wales, in the United Kingdom. The bunch of us students from Malaysia didn't actually do very much during that term break. It was freezing cold outside so we just stayed at home, kept warm and watch TV. No snow though, so it wasn't a white Christmas.

It was the first time I heard the term Boxing Day, the day after the 25th of December. It is also a public holiday in the UK. If we in Malaysia can have 2 days off for Aidilfitri plus another 2 days off for Chinese New Year, then it is not difficult to understand why the Matsallehs cannot have 2 days off too.

I was puzzled why they called the 26th of December as Boxing Day, so I asked my British friends. None of them could give me a definitive answer. Even today, trying to search for the origin of the name via online sources does not give clear results. The name has nothing to do with the sport of boxing (you know, the game where one man punch another man, in a ring which is actually square in shape). The most accepted theory is that it has to do with boxes (the thing that we keep stuff in), whereby charity boxes containing donations from the public during the Christmas service the previous day are collected and then shared with the poor.

Well, what ever the origin of the name, I remember Boxing Day for another reason. It is a full day programme for English league football. So I'll be tied in front of the telly tonight.

Hoping my friends had a lovely day-off yesterday. Me and the missus had a quiet day resting at home. Our son with a number of his cousins, had a blast spending the whole day at Universal Studios in Singapore.

Once a lifetime experience...

16 comments:

bangkai said...

I, too, remain puzzled about the term Boxing Day. Come to the crunch, I subscribe, I subscribe to the boxes theory

JohorMali said...

Mr Oldstock,
Winters and Christmas three years in a row in Walthamstow in the early 70s made me decide that England is not the place for me to spend the rest of my life there.
The cold and dreary days really took a toll, not on the body but on the mind of this Melayu. Unlike Hari Raya or Chinese New Year , Christmas is everything but merry! Everything was so subdued and restrained that I began to miss all the boisterouses that we have here when celebrating festivities.
But as pepatah Melayu says , ..bila di Kandang kambing.. mengembek... or as the Mat Salleh's one's man meat is another man's poison..
But it never waivers in my mind till today that good old England would be the place for me to visit for at least a fortnight whenever the chance or affordibilty appears.
How I miss the b&b in the Cotswolds or the Somersets,

Cara said...

Dear Mr Oldstock,

Traditionally, Boxing Day is the day when the box holding the year's tips are opened and distributed among the employees.

These days, Boxing Day is the the day when all the High Street big name retailers have their boxing day sales - Harrods, Harvey Nicks, Selfridges etc.

Oldstock said...

MatB,

I guess that's the most logical explanation we hear to date. But my overly analytical mind still wants to argue - if so is the reason, shouldn't it be called Collecting Day instead? Haha..

Oldstock said...

Sdra JohorMali,

I've not been to that part of town - Walthamstow. Neither the Cotswolds or Somerset. Must've been very scenic places, I'm sure. In fact, I miss not visiting many places in England. Al-maklumlah, duit elaun seorang student banyak mana sangat masa tu... tapi alhmadulillah dapat jugak lah melihat beberapa tempat di sekitar North Wales.

Like you, I dream of being able to visit old England again some day.

Oldstock said...

Cara,

I take it that you are talking about the restaurant or service business... but still, just for argument's sake, why would they want to keep the tip box unopened for one whole year? Is that a bit too long? Pity those waitress or workers who work for only a few months.

Anyway, you're right about the Boxing Day sales. Trust the ladies to remember this. Earlier this morning, a female friend's FB status says she's missing Oxford Street... hehe...

Pat said...

'... a quiet day resting at home' sounds like a good thing to me ;)

Happy holidays, Oldstock!

Wan Sharif said...

A well remembered boxing day is in 2004.. the Tsunami..
lawatan ke London.. I went with members of my family in one October .. it was rather wet then and there was no request from anyone in my family of a repeat visit ;)

Mata Hari said...

As what Cara have said:
"Boxing Day : Sale!!!"

Teringat beratur kat depan kedai pukul 4 pagi for sale kat Oxford Street :)

Oldstock said...

Pat, it was sort of an enforced rest... but I'll take it in whatever way :-)

Oldstock said...

Ayoh Wang,

Now that you've mentioned it, Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami.... my family and I were spending the day at the upper reaches of Sg Bernam. No phone signals and no TV. We only knew of the event when we reached home.

Oldstock said...

Mata Hari,

Welcome back.

So you really queued at 4am huh? Must've been freezing! The things girls do to get a good bargain.. hehe...

doc said...

looking at the crowd, i won't be surprised if your son & his cousins spend most of the time queueing for the rides!

Al-Manar said...

Wrexham in 1980. JohorMali in Walthanstow in 70's. In mid 50's I spent three months in a hotel in Chester, not far from Wrexhan, and London was not an unfamiliar place.

Like you two, no matter what ill one talks of that part of the world, it bring lots and lots of very very pleasant memories of my past.

Oldstock said...

Doc, I'm pretty sure they had to wait in long queues... but none of them were complaining about it. All they talked about was how great the Transformer ride was!

Oldstock said...

Aah... I see that Pakcik Al-manar is also one of the Queen's subjects, hehe...