26 December 2019

Happy Boxing Day & Happy Kwanzaa!


Get it?
First off, Happy Boxing Day to all who practice it!

And speaking of the day originally set aside by our friends across The Pond in the U.K. for "The Help" to get to open their own presents (sort of a poor-person-in-service's bargain rate Christmas-the-day-after-the-actual-event), did anyone else grow up thinking it was weird to look at a calendar to see that Canada set aside a day to celebrate boxing?

Stay with me, here.

(Happy Kwanzaa too!)



When I was a kid, the calendar–and this was that thing we hung on a wall and consulted, not an app that came with our phone chock full of pop-up alarms/reminders and with plenty of room in it for personalization so we could add even more new reminders about stuff only we personally need to be reminded about–read "Boxing Day (Canada)." No mention of the United Kingdom, or any of the other dominions of the British Empire anywhere in evidence on said calendar entry. So I naturally assumed that the people who made the calendar knew something I didn't: that Canadians set aside a day to celebrate the Sweet Science.

This seems more like it.
Now, bear in mind that I was about six at the time. Which kind of explains my thinking, "Huh, I'd expect them to have 'Hockey Day' before 'Boxing Day.' I guess boxing is way more popular in Canada than I thought." I would revisit this notion several months later, during the Summer Olympics. I was truly perplexed that it seemed as if every good boxer was either Cuban, American, or Russian. Not a Canadian in the bunch.

And I was once again puzzled at the popularity of boxing in a country which didn't field very impressive athletes in that sport. This was in 1972, so it was several years before the likes such PR efforts as the "Jamaican Bob-Sledding Team" became a thing.

It was only years later that I came to understand that Boxing Day was a cultural remnant passed on to our cousins to the north by the British. The same British, of course, also settled the original thirteen American colonies. And yet for some reason the tradition of "Boxing Day," widely considered to date back well into the 17th century, just never caught on here, south of the 49th parallel.


And nowadays I'm given to understand that (in Canada, at least), Boxing Day is very much like our American tradition of Black Friday. Can't help but wonder whether internet commerce hasn't played Hell with that tradition up in Canada the way it has here in the States. Due to Black Friday deals shifting online, nowadays we have whole stores that go untrampled, with zero fights erupting over the last "This Year's Must-Have Item" at your local Nordstrom Rack, and any number national retail brands no longer bothering to dragoon all of their available sales forces to go in to work at around 10 P.M. on Thanksgiving Night, in preparation for the busiest shopping day of the year.

But regardless, Canada (and the rest of the dominions of the British Empire, for that matter), you do you.

And Happy Boxing Day!


While I'm at it, a quick shout out to those who celebrate Kwanzaa, which also starts today, and runs through New Years' Day. A relatively recent addition to the interfaith midwinter holiday tradition, Kwanzaa nevertheless has a lot to recommend it, and I am a fan of the intentions behind the holiday: to highlight the contributions of members of the "African Diaspora" to the societies throughout the Americas where they and their ancestors were brought as slaves, and to which they and their descendants will continue to contribute as citizens.


The seven principles Kwanzaa celebrates are Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity and Faith. For my money, these are all worth celebrating, and tying that celebration in to African traditions and their cultural echoes in our ever-diversifying culture? Also definitely worthwhile.



So Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Boxing Day!

See you in two weeks!

9 comments:

Eve Fisher said...

Ah, Boxing Day, when the servants finally got a tip. Or a present. Or a day off to visit their own families.
Now it's a Bank Holiday, which, in a lot of British sit-coms, is more dreaded than enjoyed. There's a lot of bitching and moaning on "Last of the Summer Wine" and others about a fortnight of Christmas, and all I think of, when I see that, is, hey we start the season right after Halloween in this country! 12 days sounds a lot more manageable to me.
But yes, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Boxing Day to all!

Robert Lopresti said...

Perfect piece for the day. And here is the musical accompaniment. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrCFSPydThI

Jacob Marley said...

Bob Cratchit: "You did say i could have Christmas Day off Mr. Scrooge ! ?".

Ebenezer Scrooge: "Oh, very well, but be in all the earlier the next morning ! ! !".

Bob Cratchit: "But Mr. Scrooge, the next day is Boxing Day and i want that
as well, you rotten old bastard ! ! !".

The Extra Greedy Christmas Elf said...

The only thing i don't like about Christmas is January, that bastard is always waiting in the wings to spoil everybody's fun, i want the Christmas magic to go on forever, can't somebody murder January, that month really has got nothing to offer.

DoolinDalton said...

Hey Eve - no idea. I had nothing to do with either its posting or with its removal.

Leigh Lundin said...

I'm with Extra Greedy. Remember Christmas fans, 25 December is but the FIRST day of Christmas. The season extends through the 12th day of Christmas, 5 January, followed on the 6th by the Feast of the Epiphany. They close your drapes and leave your treat up until Valentine's Day. Problem solved.

Happy New Year, Brian.

Lawrence Maddox said...

I too grew up thinking Boxing Day was all about punching people. I guess maybe it is like Black Friday that way...Anyway,Happy Holidays!

Robert Lopresti said...

Eve asked what happened to the gibberish placed in the comments by a porn aficianado. THe answer is: I deleted them. Eve's question seems to have vanished. If I did that, it was an accident, and I apologize.

Eve Fisher said...

No problem Rob - one of them was the troll, ghosting me. Delete what you must!