By Myrriah Gossett

The holidays are full of family, friends, food and odd traditions.

Hailing from the Great White North, or Canada for all the people who don’t know who Bob and Doug are, we celebrate an extra holiday besides Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Boxing Day is something that eludes most people, or at least most of my friends.

During the holidays is usually when I get the most questions about this odd holiday. So here is the story, no confusion necessary.

Boxing Day is celebrated throughout what we call the Commonwealth countries: Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Greenland, even Germany and some people celebrate in Hong Kong.

It is a primarily Christian holiday, or at least its roots are. However, like most holidays, it too has gone commercial and usually just means awesome sales at the mall.

The day is normally celebrated on Dec. 26, however, there is a giant list of exceptions should Christmas fall on a certain day.

This day is also known at St. Stephen’s Day, which brings us to the etymology of Boxing Day.

It comes from the Anglo-Saxon tradition of wealthy merchants of higher classes who would give gifts to those of lower social status. Those gifts were kept in a Christmas box that could not be opened until St. Stephen’s Day.

Another reason for the name were the alms boxes that were left at churches on Christmas were then opened on the day after Christmas.

In modern tradition the holiday is now celebrated through sports and shopping. There are large Ruby tournaments are held throughout Scotland and Ireland, and stores celebrate through sales. Boxing Day in the Commonwealth is much like Black Friday in the United States.

Stores all advertise their Boxing Day sales, and it’s usually the highest revenue day for many vendors in the Commonwealth. If people are not out shopping however they are usually at home watching the sporting even of their choice: hockey, rugby or soccer (football for the rest of the world).

Bosses often also give their employees gifts on Boxing Day or bonuses are given out as well.

Overall it’s a day of spending, giving and sports watching, all things every Canadian loves to do, or at least this one does.

So I wish you all a Merry Christmas there, eh, and a Happy Boxing day too.