Every one of us is familiar with the Boxing Day shopping madness which takes place in the British and commonwealth countries. People flock to malls and shopping street and run from one corner to the other to buy whatever they can put their hands on as it’s the “shopping day” of the year.
Everything is dirt cheap and is available at throwaway prices, very similar to the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving in the United States of America.
The tradition and the idea, initially, wasn’t meant to be about shopping on this day. Also called the “Second Christmas Day”, the idea was to extend the holiday for one extra day after Christmas to extend leisure-time with family and friends.
It was day off awarded to members of the labouring class, employees and the servants who worked on Christmas Day to help their employers cook their Christmas dinner and put on festivities. Later the leftover boxes from Christmas and the food were handed over to the servants along with their bonuses and they were allowed to spend a day off with their families on December 26.
Mr. Lloyd Alter from Treehugger in his article about Boxing Day writes that it was "a holiday about equity- ensuring that everyone got a day off, even those who had to work on Christmas. It was a real buy-nothing day; you were supposed to use up what you had left over and give away what you didn't need. It was the exact opposite of the orgy of consumption that it has become."
The eponymous boxes here generally symbolised the charity boxes that were placed outside churches to collect money for the needy and the poor. Merchants were even restricted to open on the day after Christmas to ensure that tradition was followed but slowly the commercialisation of Christmas has morphed the true meaning of Boxing Day.