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December 26, 2014 AT 8:06 am

Happy Boxing day! #BoxingDay

Boxing Day is todayback story @ NYTimes & more

Happy holiday!

No, that’s not a late greeting: Dec. 26 really is an official holiday of one kind or another in many countries.

In Britain, Canada and other Commonwealth nations, today is Boxing Day, a name that was inspired by boxes, not fighting.

Traditionally, it was a day to give a box of money or gifts to servants and the needy; now, it’s usually a day for shopping or sports events.

Germany, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries are among those that celebrate Dec. 26 as the Second Day of Christmas — all that’s left of the original Twelve Days, once widely observed.

Italy and other countries with large Catholic populations observe today as the day of St. Stephen’s feast (when “Good King Wenceslas” looked out, as in the carol).

Today is also Slovenia’s Independence Day, South Africa calls it the Day of Goodwill, and parts of Ireland mark it as Wren’s Day.


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