Today the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Martyr. St. Stephen was stoned to death (something my hippie friends tried without success back in the 70's) on this day in Jerusalem in 35 A.D.
St. Stephen became the patron saint of casket makers, headaches (no doubt he suffered a huge migraine that day), and the city of Owensboro, Ky, home of Lady Suzanne of Greenbriar. The angry Jewish mobs are reminiscent of trying to shop at WalMart on the day after Christmas.
Which brings us to the tradition of the Common Wealth nations to celebrate Boxing Day on this day. It has become a huge after Christmas shopping day, but it's origins where based in more ancient times and on a better reason than pure capitalism run amok.
Boxing Day was traditionally a time when the wealthier class gave gifts to the lower class after Christmas. It has its origins in ancient Rome, as do so many of our holidays. The ancient Romans celebrated during this time a Feast called Saturnalia, which expanded into a week long celebration, much like the 12 Days of Christmas.
Saturnalia's main feature among the tomfoolery and drinking was the exchanging of several small gifts and the reversal of social roles. Slaves were not punished during this time and were allowed to make fun of their masters. Masters even served their slaves during one of the main banquets.
There you have it, a brief history of this day after Christmas. So, if you don't feel like getting stoned, shopping or switching roles you might want to hide away for the day. Or in my case, I'm driving to Florida to start a week long Feast a la "Saturnalia"!
Sir Hook the Always Looking for a Reason to Feast of Warrick