Boxing day celebrations
N J Ravi Chander
December is a time for carols, chocolates, cakes and Christmas cheer. But many are unaware that the day after Christmas – December 26- is celebrated as Boxing Day – also called Offering Day – when the rich boxed up gifts to give to the deprived.
Boxing Day was conventionally a day off for servants when their masters showered them with Christmas boxes. The servants would also go home to share the gifts with their families. Despite its peculiar name, it has nothing to do with fisticuffs, the trashing of empty containers leftover from Christmas or the return of unwanted gifts to department stores.
The day also marks St. Stephen’s feast, the first Christian martyr and a figure known for charity acts. The day is also a popular holiday in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries for watching sports such as soccer and cricket.
Our adolescent sons, J R Sachin Kumar (28) and J R Sunny (27) can’t but feel nostalgic about their maiden Christmas party when in kindergarten – celebrated on Boxing Day. A warm and friendly septuagenarian couple ran the school. Tucked away in a quiet by-lane of Fraser Town, Bengaluru, it went by the name, ‘Spring Buds Nursery’.
The school celebrated Christmas with gusto each year, and the fancy dress competition was an integral part of the event. My significant other, R Shobha decked up our kids in military fatigues complete with a toy AK-47 rifle, boot, belt, and cap on the D-day. The boys looked every inch a soldier in their new outfits and couldn’t wait to show them off.
On reaching the school, the principal’s wife received us at the gate without her better half by her side, which was unusual. The classroom embellished with a Christmas tree, colourful buntings, ribbons, silver stars, balloons and toy angels made for a beautiful spectacle and caught the little tots fancy. Adorable figurines of infant Jesus, his parents, Joseph and Mary, and the three wise men in a manger lay in a corner. A big white star shimmered from the roof and greeted the visitors, “Wish you a Merry Xmas”.
As the function kicked off, the teachers mellifluous rendering of Christmas carols rent the air. The principal was conspicuous by his absence, but suddenly the room came alive with Santa Claus making a dramatic entry and prancing around shaking hands with the kids. Decked up in a traditional Santa gear comprising red suit and cap with fur lining, Father Christmas’ appearance like a bolt from the blue came as a pleasant surprise and made the kids day. Little did the children realise that it was their beloved principal in the garb of Saint Nicholas.
The kids were over the moon when Santa sauntered around showering presents which he pulled out from his coat pocket as a magician would a rabbit from his hat. The Christmas goodies – neatly wrapped in attractive packets – were the icings on the cake. Our rifle-toting, trigger-happy younger son, Sunny, who looked quite menacing in his military uniform crowned himself with glory by running away with the top prize in the fancy dress contest.
It is nearly three decades since that lovely Christmas celebration on Boxing Day took place, but my two sons still recall those unforgettable moments spent at Spring Buds’ kindergarten. May this festive season sparkle and may the Lord shower his choicest blessings on a pandemic-ridden world.
Please find below a contribution to the Edit page for possible inclusion in your newspaper. Some of the papers that have published my work include the Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express, The Tribune, The Hitavada, The City Tab, Bangalore Mirror and The Hans India. I am a former banker who has taken up writing as a pastime.
(The author is a former banker who has taken up writing as a pastime. He writes for the Deccan Herald, The New Indian Express, The Tribune, The Hitavada, The City Tab, Bangalore Mirror, The Hans India and Kashmir Vision)