Readers outside of the UK may be perplexed by the British Boxing Day holiday, which follows on from Christmas. Today is a day off in the UK. However, the origins of this festival are widely misunderstood. One school of thought has it that the boxes in question were gifts traditionally given to the poor. Another theory is that sporting activities once dominated this day, and that therefore punching people in the face is a good festive activity. Generally speaking though we neither punch each other nor make charitable donation. Modern Boxing Day is an opportunity to head for the shops, or recover from the previous day’s excesses.
Boxing Day is, in reality an ancient Pagan festival celebrated right across Europe to honour the Great Mother. The box is a later misinterpretation of the womb, which the original containers can be seen to resemble. Or they would be seen to resemble if we had any, which we don’t, but as soon as one shows up it will of course be blindingly obvious.
Ancient Pagans would put things into their womb box as a sacrifice in the hopes of growing fertility in the coming year. A farmer might put grain in the box. A woman hoping to conceive would of course put beans in a box. Someone hoping to grow in wealth would put a coin in their womb-box and someone hoping to attract fairies into their life would insert fairy cakes.
The box would then be set fire to, which neatly explains why archaeologists have never found one.
It is frighteningly easy to create fakelore based loosely on names and tenuous connections. Paganism is full of these, and they breed online in disturbing ways. It is easy to imagine just about anything we fancy into the past, and there are always ways to explain the absence of physical evidence, from conspiracy theories through to supernatural interventions. There is, by way of an example, a school of thought that the creator god planted the dinosaur fossils in order to challenge the faith of believers. The ability of humans to make stuff up, justify it and believe it despite all evidence to the contrary, is truly astounding. All of our religions are peppered with this. Our politics and business practices, too. For some people, climate change is just another silly story that need not be bothered with. They’ll probably hold that thought even as the flood waters wash them away.
My Boxing Day story is of course total bollocks, thrown together in an idle moment for my amusement. Do have a go at your own. Fakelore, deployed for giggles, is endlessly amusing and a pleasant way to pass a chilly winter’s day. The trick is to avoid believing everything you imagine. It’s also worth noting that spending time making up total rubbish will give you a better eye for spotting when you’re reading the total rubbish some other person has cobbled together, and this is a useful skill to hone.