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  1. ITV Report

What are the origins of Boxing Day?

From Britain and other parts of the Commonwealth, the day after Christmas is a secular holiday known as Boxing Day.

With millions of shoppers hitting the stores today for discounts on post-Christmas 'big box' items like televisions, you might think the day was named for the shopping.

Boxing Day has become a holiday associated with shopping Credit: PA

In fact the origins of the word are unclear, although it is more closely associated with giving than with getting.

Here are some of the possibilities:

The most popular belief is that it comes from a tradition of the wealthy giving so-called "Christmas boxes" containing money and gifts to servants and tradesmen as a reward for their service.

Servants would get the day after Christmas off, having worked hard to ensure their masters' Christmas went smoothly.

Alternatively, it might be named after the tradition of churches leaving boxes to collect donations for distribution to the poor.

The tradition may have been brought to Britain by the Romans and taken up by the clergy.

Hunting is another Boxing Day tradition Credit: PA

Or possibly its origins are in a naval custom of keeping a sealed box of money on board the ship during lengthy voyages.

If the voyage was successful, the box would be given to a priest to distribute to the poor.

Today Boxing Day is more about relaxation or shopping, and seeing friends and family.

There is plenty of sport on television.

And for some it used to be a day for fox hunting, but the practice has been mostly banned in Britain for more than a decade.

Instead artifically laid trails are used

About a quarter of a million people turned out to watch Boxing Day hunts take place around the UK this year, according to the Countryside Alliance.