7 Days, 7 Ways : Let’s Get To Know Boxing Day
The day after Christmas is known by many people as Boxing Day. Naturally, the question is, what exactly is Boxing Day? While no one seems to know for sure how it came to be called Boxing Day, it definitely has nothing to do with the sport of boxing.
Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated on the day straight after Christmas Day. It takes place on December 26 and its antecedents are in traditions from the United Kingdom. Perhaps the most widely held understanding of its origins comes from the tradition of wealthier members of society giving servants and tradesmen a so-called Christmas box containing money and gifts on the day after Christmas. This tradition started around 800 years ago.
It was seen as a reward for a year’s worth of service.
Others believe it comes from the post-Christmas custom of churches placing boxes outside their doors to collect money for distribution to less-fortunate members of society in need of Christmas cheer. The Servants were then allowed to go home and spend the day with their loved ones. They would then bring their Christmas Boxes with them to give to their families. Some trace it to Britain’s proud naval tradition and the days when a sealed box of money was kept on board for lengthy voyages and then given to a priest for distribution to the poor if the voyage was successful. It could also stem from church donation boxes. Often times on the day after Christmas, collection boxes for the poor were kept in churches, where people would donate money during Christmas mass, or throughout the season. They were then ‘unboxed’ on the 26 and money was distributed to the poor.
There are other explanations, but it’s clear the designation has nothing to do with the modern habit of using the holiday for shopping at “big box” stores selling televisions, computers and the like.
How is Boxing Day celebrated?
Meanwhile, in Malaysia, Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal announced a two-day public holiday (Dec 24 and 25) for Christmas this year. Sabah has been observing only Dec 25 as the Christmas public holiday all this while. Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia with the most Christians, after Sarawak. Around a quarter of its 3.9 million population is Christian. Hurrah for Sabah!
Boxing Day “Ring Of Fire”?
Fancy watching the “Ring of Fire” to round-off Boxing Day? It will be spectacular if you can see it. This “ring of fire” eclipse will only appear over Saudi Arabia, India, and Southeast Asia, and it will appear as a partial eclipse over other parts of Asia and Australia. During this eclipse, the moon will cross directly in front of the sun for viewers along the centerline of its path. Because the eclipse occurs just a few days after the moon reaches apogee — its farthest distance from Earth — its apparent size in the sky will be smaller than the sun.
This means that it won’t block the sun entirely, but it will instead turn the sun into a blazing ‘ring of fire’ from Earth’s perspective. This is the third and final solar eclipse of the year and happens only once every 44 years.
Here are some facts about Solar Eclipses;
- Each year there are between 2 and 5 solar eclipses.
- The total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely obscures the Sun and leaves only the faint solar corona, is known as a Totality.
- Total solar eclipses are rare, happening only once every 18 months.
- There is another type of solar eclipse, known as a hybrid eclipse, which shifts between a total and annular eclipse depending on where you view it from on Earth. These are comparatively rare.
- The speed of the Moon as it moves across the Sun is approximately 2,250 km (1,398 miles) per hour.
- From either the North or the South Pole, only a partial solar eclipse is able to be viewed.
- A total solar eclipse can last a maximum of 7 minutes and 30 seconds.
- 269 km is the maximum width of the path of totality.
- Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days – known as the Saros Cycle.