Being Christmas around the corner we thought it could be interesting for you to know a bit more about common words you hear at this time of the year: Ever wondered why we call the day after Christmas 'Boxing day'? What is the meaning of the German word 'Weihnachten'? ...And why do Belgians call Christmas Eve 'Réveillon'?
Boxing Day. As some of you probably know, the public holiday celebrated the day after Christmas Day is known as 'Boxing day'. A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Many are the explanations behind that: Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. It was also the day when servants would go home to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their loved ones. Others say that a box to collect money for the poor was traditionally placed in Churches on Christmas day and opened the next day - Boxing Day. Another interesting explanation is that great sailing ships, when setting sail, would have a sealed box containing money on board for good luck. When the voyage was a success, the box was given to a priest, opened at Christmas and the content was given to the poor the day after.
'Weihnachten' (Christmas) is the word that combines two different German traditions: before Christianity, tribes living in the area, used to celebrate the winter solstice with a ceremony called 'Die Weihnacht', 'Sacred Night', where people used to sacrifice animals to Wotan, the war God. In the 14th century, after the Christian invasion within that area, the same word was then accepted and used by the Curch to refer to the 'Die Christnacht', 'Night of Christ' (25th December).
Did you also know that Réveillon comes from the old French word 'réveil', 'interrupted sleep'? It is the name given to the day before Christmas (Christmas Eve) when, by tradition, everybody would stay up all night to cook a big meal for the following day.
We hope you enjoyed the reading and we take this opportunity to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018! See you next year! Let's Talk Lingo Team.