Happy Boxing Day!
Reblogged from Téa Cooper’s Blog
December 9, 2013
The origin of the term “Boxing Day” is uncertain, but the European tradition may have come from as far back as Roman times, when owners would present slaves and people of lesser status with gifts on Saturnalia. Or the term may have come later when it was the custom to place metal boxes outside churches to collect alms for the poor and needy on the Feast of St. Stephen, which falls on the same day.
In the English tradition, Boxing Day was a time to reward servants, tenants and tradesmen with gifts of money and/or food. Because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, it was tradition to give them the next day off to spend with their families.
Fox hunting was a popular sport on Boxing Day as well. The weather was usually not too much of a problem; contrary to popular thought, the winter weather in much of England tends to be quite mild. The winter of 1813, when A Twelfth Night Tale takes place, was a particularly cold one. But that didn’t stop Lucy and Andrew from braving the cold to collect greenery to embellish Livingston Hall with Christmas cheer on Christmas Day. Nor did it prevent them from taking the children and distributing boxes to the community on Boxing Day.
These activities had the effect of pulling Andrew out of his melancholy and opening his eyes to the desirability of the grown-up Lucy. Lucy dared to hope that Andrew’s attentiveness might be a sign that he was seeing her with new eyes. But he was still nursing a broken heart, and with an offer of marriage from a wealthy viscount expected at any moment, could she afford to gamble that Andrew would come up to scratch before it was too late?