Boxing day in Jamaica

by June
(Charlotte, NC)

What does boxing day means in Jamaica?

I know many countries have different meaning to this holiday, but I never knew the meaning and why we celebrate it.

Answer: by Wellesley Gayle, November 23, 2008
Hi June,

Thanks for the question.
It looks like you are a Jamaican living in the US right? I recall how you said, 'why we celebrate it' but noticed you are from NC.

Anyway, I did a bit of research and found an interesting article by Tesi Johnson for the Gleaner, that may prove helpful.

Here in the excerpt.

"BOXING DAY, which falls on the first weekday after Christmas, has nothing to do with gory fist fights.

Though it remains unclear as to how it began or how it is traditionally celebrated, it is now a bonafide public holiday in Jamaica, and in many other Commonwealth countries and Europe.

The theories which herald the beginnings of the post-Christmas holiday are as varied as the ways it is celebrated.

One theory suggests the holiday's roots can be traced to Britain, where Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen's Day.

On that day, December 26, the alms boxes placed in churches where parishioners deposited coins for the poor were opened and the contents distributed.

Another theory explains that the servants who were required to work on Christmas Day were given the following day off, and as the servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

Even another story is that Boxing Day is the day to pack away all the Christmas decorations in their boxes to await next year's festivities.

Nowadays, Boxing Day is usually the day when persons meet with their extended family to have a 'second Christmas'.

Also, the day is used to remember those who have provided a service to you during the year. The postal delivery person, the newspaper delivery person, and employees of your household or business should be remembered with a tip, bonus or gift basket.

These gifts are still called 'Christmas Boxes.' It is also customary for sporting events like horse racing and football games to be held on Boxing Day."


I hope this helps.

Keep in touch June!


Comments for Boxing day in Jamaica

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Dec 26, 2017
A day to Box up your excess
by: Anonymous

I’ve always thought of Boxing Day as the day to box up & give away the old to make room for the new gifts just received ... as a day to box up our excess & share with the less fortunate. So if I receive a new sweater or blouse, I give away another (or two) in my closet. ... or pass on a piece of jewelry ... or for a child to make room for a new toy by giving away an old one so learn to share & consider others, etc. The ‘boxing’ can also reflect excess from what was received throughout the year or items unused & unworn & not just gifts received at Christmas.

Dec 26, 2013
boxing day
by: Anonymous

Thx u for the history lesson

Dec 26, 2012
boxing day -slave celebration
by: Anonymous

Obviously you know nothing about this day. It time to get the chip off your shoulder. It will just weigh you down for the rest of your life. This is a holiday celebrated in Europe and in the Commonwealth countries.

Dec 26, 2010
by: Anonymous


Dec 21, 2008
History of Boxing day in Jamaica
by: Anonymous

Although there are many theories into why we celebrate Boxing Day. There is one true fact. The reason why many Jamaicans celebrate this holiday and don?t know why is simple.

Boxing Day is when the slave owners would give our ancestors there left over after the huge Christmas party feast they had the day before. They would box up the left over and distribute it to the head slaves to be given to the rest of the slaves.

The kitchen wrench would be responsible for boxing up small portions of the meal and give it to the head slave who would in turn distribute it as gifts from the master. The other slaves who worked the night before and that day would get their gifts when they are leaving from work on Boxing Day.

This practice originated in England where the coin filled boxes that were returned by sailors of a safe voyage would give this to the parish priest for prayer. The parish Priest would in turn distribute coin to the poor after Christmas day.

The obvious reason why many Jamaicans don?t know what boxing day mean is we do not practice it, in its true sense we accept it as a holiday but the practice behind it ended once slavery did.

This, I say, is one holiday I don?t really want to celebrate with zeal.

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