26th December 2010

So, it's Boxing Day. Some say it dates back to medieval times when the poor used earthenware boxes to save up all through the year. At Xmas they would break open the heavy boxes and share the money around to fund Xmas festivities. I'm all in favour of DIY saving, much preferring the old box under the mattress to being ripped off by today's financial institutions. At least then you know that the amount of notes and coins hasn't alarmingly reduced or the wicked taxman hasn't suddenly grabbed it all away after all your careful planning and patience.
It seems that the custom wasn't just English either. Back in the 17C, the French called those boxes tirelire, having a cleft on the lid or the side through which you put spare cash. Apparently in France it was used by begging friars. I don't like the sound of that, but I suppose it does give a link to the tradition of giving 'Xmas boxes' to tradespeople who had served you well all year.
But today, glancing at all the papers, Boxing Day has come to symbolise sport. Whether it's English football or French rugby, that's all that dominates today's news.
Him indoors, who's not interested in sport, says what happened to the ancient custom of rewarding long-suffering husbands......

No comments: