ALL BOXED UP
Sir, - In reply to the query as to why the day after Christmas pay is known as St Stephen's Day in Ireland and Boxing Day in England, I hope that I will be able to throw some light on the subject.
In Ireland we celebrate the feast of Stephen - who is regarded as the first martyr - on December 26th. This, in a way, is appropriate as Stephen is believed to have been stoned to death, a tradition which we honour annually by getting stoned on Christmas Day and St. Stephen's Day. As a matter of interest, Saul, later to become Paul, and later still St Paul is reputed to have held the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen (shades of the tradition in this country of "Hould (sic) me coat while I hit him!").
As regards the term "Boxing Day" it developed from the custom in England of opening Christmas presents on the day following Christmas day: Christmas boxes - boxing day. - Yours, etc.,
67 Beladd, Portlaoise.