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Today is the feast of St Stephen, as mentioned in the much sung carol, Good King Wenceslas.

He was the first deacon and the first Christian Martyr. He was also one of the first to be ordained by the Apostles to care for the poor in the community.

This day is usually known as Boxing Day, after the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in Churches over the Christmas season which were then distributed amongst the poorest parishioners.

Some historians say that Boxing Day was a holiday developed because servants who were required to work on Christmas Day had the following day off to visit their own families. Their employers would often give them gift boxes to take home.

As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

So make today a day of sharing your gifts with others. Happy Feast.

Mary J C L Chowen, Stratford Upon Avon
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Dec 26, 2006
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