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christmas in Britain ⑦

Boxing Day
In Britain, Boxing Day is usually celebrated on the 26th of December. However, strictly speaking, Boxing Day is the first weekday after Christmas.

Like Christmas Day, Boxing Day is a public holiday. When Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday the following Monday is the public holiday.

Why is 26th December called ‘Boxing Day’?
Traditionally on the 26th was the day to open Christmas box to share the contents with the poor.

History of Boxing Day
To protect ships
During the Age of Exploration, when great sailing ships were setting off to discover new land, A Christmas Box was used as a good luck device. It was a small container placed on each ship while it was still in port. It was put there by a priest, and those crewmen who wanted to ensure a safe return would drop money into the box. It was then sealed up and kept on board for the entire voyage.
If the ship came home safely, the box was handed over to the priest in the exchange for the saying of a Mass of thanks for the success of the voyage.
The Priest would keep the box sealed until Christmas when he would open it to share the contents with the poor.

To help the poor
An ‘Alms Box’**was placed in every church on Christmas Day into which worshipper placed a gift for the poor of the parish***. These boxes were always opened the day after Christmas, which is why that day became known as Boxing Day.

A present for the workers
Many poorly paid workers were required to work on Christmas Day and took the following day off to visit their families. As they prepared to leave, their employers would present them with Christmas Boxes.
During the late 18th century, Lords and Ladies of the manor would ‘box up’**** their left over food, or sometimes gifts and distribute them the day after Christmas to tenants who lived and worked on their lands.
The tradition of giving money to workers still continues today. It is customary for householders to give small gifts or monetary tips to regular visiting trades people (the milkman, dustman, coalman, paper boy etc.) and in some workplaces, for employers to give a Christmas bonus to employees.

Schools across the country gather together gifts to be put in Christmas Boxes that are sent to poorer countries.


Twelfth Night (5th January) – Decorations
Why is it bad luck to leave the decorations up after twelfth Night?
Long ago it was thought that leaving the decorations up would cause a disaster. People believed that tree-spirits lived in the greenery (holly, ivy etc.) they decorated their houses with. The greenery was brought into the house to provide a safe haven for the tree-spirits during the harsh midwinter days. Once this period was over it was necessary to return the greenery back outside to release the tree-spirits into the countryside once again. Failure to do this would mean that vegetation would not be able to start growing again (spring would not return), leading to an agricultural disaster.
Today people still feel uneasy about leaving the Christmas decorations up after Twelfth Night. Despite decorations now being made of foil or paper, and even though the tree-spirits are long forgotten, the superstition still survives.

Did you know?
Until the 19th century, people would keep decorations of holly, ivy, box, yew, and mistletoe up until February 2nd, Candlemas Day*****, the end of the Christmas season, 40 days after the birth of Jesus.

The Tree Wise Men are not included in the nativity scene until January 6th, three King’s day. The nativity scene is traditionally not taken down until 2nd February, Candlemas.
In the reign of Victoria decorations came down on Twelfth Night and generally were burnt.

The Twelfth Day of Christmas
Twelfth Day is the last day of Christmas season. In the Church of England, the Christmas season begins at evening Prayer on Christmas Eve.
Twelfth Day, as its name tells us, is the 6th of January. This day is the feast of Epiphany. The term means ‘to show’ or ‘to make known’ or ‘to reveal’. In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing ‘reveal’ Jesus to the world as Lord and King.
In some Orthodox churches, Epiphany commemorates Jesus baptism, with the visit of the Magi linked to Christmas.

The Season of Epiphany
For many Protestant church traditions, the season of Epiphany extends from 6th January until Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent leading to Easter.
In some western traditions, the last Sunday of Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.

The Roman Catholic tradition observes Epiphany as a single day.














多くのプロテスタント教会の慣習として公現祭は1月6日から復活祭につながる四句節が始まる季節の聖灰の水曜日(Ash Wednesday)まで延ばしています。西キリスト教の慣習では公現祭の最後の日曜日がキリスト教の変容の日曜日として祝います。


7回にわたってChristmas in Britainを掲載しました。 楽しんでいただけたでしょうか?

Merry Christmas!



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by connection-eigo | 2012-12-25 09:37