Boxing Day is quite possibly the most important Ghyllian holiday, at least in some cultures, and is certainly one of the most widespread. It traditionally falls on 7/23, and the clean up after traditionally continues for the next two weeks.
Its roots lie in the day the Exis of Whunn marched his grand and glorious army to Bute, only to find the gates closed, an unforeseen, and as argued by many great thinkers of his day, unforeseeable event. The army, completely at a loss of what to do, proceeded to sit down outside the gates and wait for them to open. The inhabitants of Bute, quite a savvy bunch, ignored the Exis of Whunn’s promise to “Not hurt them too badly,” and held the gates closed. For the rest of the day, the army sat outside the gates, waiting for them to open. The ordinary soldiers, bored, and finding their expectations of slaughter frustrated, did what anyone sensible at that point would do: they got raging drunk. The only casualty of the entire "siege", which was to last six months, was Azer Wallabin, one of the greatest Musicians of the age who, when hearing the inevitable singing of the drunken soldiers, was placed in such an excruciating position that he chose to jump from the walls of Bute. In the course of being drunk, a number of soldiers chose to go around dumping out their possessions on the ground, along with anyone else’s they could get their hands on. No one knows what prompted the drunks to do so, but an investigation by the Brothers of the Lantern, uncovered by one of the reporters of the True Tales of the World, indicate divine intervention. Despite the questionable nature of the source, this has entered popular belief. However, no matter how it was inspired, that was how a great holiday entered existence.
Now some may ask: how did all of this lead to a holiday? Unfortunately, this has been lost to the mists of time, and what knowledge we do have suggests that interested parties, namely breweries and wineries, had a great amount of influence in advancing the holiday to it’s current position.
Procedures for Celebrating
Boxing Day is celebrated different ways in different places, though there are a few things that always remain constant. One is that half of the Celebrants must have imbibed some alcohol, the amount ranging from a Cup of Ale in Stindersgrough to an entire keg in the immediete vicinity of The Cadaver. This tends to cause the whole proceeding to make more sense - at least half of the population knows what it is doing - and there is no prohibition against seeking more of the enlightenment given by the Cup.
The Second is that everyone gets at least 3 Possessions of some value, though not too much. Fragile items and consumables are discouraged for reasons that will be revealed shortly. Where the number comes from is a subject of debate by many scholars. Now, depending on the size of the gathering, which ranges from single families to whole towns, the procedure changes. With smaller groups, usually consisting of one or two families at most, everyone just dumps their things in a pile, and then turns around and walks away. With large ones, a box is used to designate the dumping zone, which is then shook vigorously in order to ensure an even distrubution of items. Most important is that a large circle is drawn around where ever the items are placed and all participants take positions on that circle. A referee, usually someone who has chosen not to participate due to his desire to watch the proceedings, will give a signal, varying from location to location, and all of the participants will race toward the pile as fast as they can go. They are then allowed to pick two items and walk with them from the pile. Fighting over items is allowed and even encouraged in some locations.
After everyone has taken their two items, the remaining whole items are donated to whatever charities will take them. Cheating is very deeply frowned upon, though punishments vary. Taking your own items back is also discouraged, as the entire point is supposedly to represent the idea that giving to the society and getting something entirely different back, and quite possibly holding no value to you or anyone you know, is perfectly all right.
A rather strange tradition that has sprung up in many areas is that certain items must always be in the pile, changing hands in the community. It is regarded as terrible luck for the entire community if the items are not placed in the pile, so they tend to always make a showing, whether the owners are willing to give them up or not. They range from small rings, some valuable, some not, to full sets of Freege Horns, a claim on these merely made by holding on to them.
An informal bartering session, where people trade items they accidentally grabbed, or were forced to take, for things they consider better is also traditional. The referee presides over the bartering session, though most of the time he delegates the job to the first person he sees and goes about wandering the Session looking for things he wants. He is also in charge of carting all the unclaimed items to Charity, and it isn't unheard of for the referee to donate anything he likes to the charity of himself. It is generally viewed that this is the referee's fee for not being able to participate in the festivities, and thus particuraly canny members of the community are known to hold the office of referee for years at a time. A referee's name is often mentioned as a candidate for any political offices that open up after a good Boxing Day.
The source of the name for the holiday is confusing, as different texts have it coming from different places. The one thought of as true by most Ghyllians is that it simply refers to the large box used in the celebration in some locations. A close second is the idea that the name comes from the fighting that occurs of the more treasured items. A popular theory among writers at True Tales of the World, Aliens Everywhere, and various other rags is that it is a veiled reference to the Avazian Box, though exactly how this holiday could be related to that dark technology is unknown.
Extent of the Holiday
The holiday is celebrated in almost every part of Ghyll our scholars have reached, in some form or another. The Dualian Empire outlawed the Holiday accidentally at one point, and news of the Rebellions reverberated throughout the known world. According to M'Kev D'wal, it is even celebrated on Kebro-shepenor by the Kev, though in an entirely different fashion, under an entirely different name, on an entirely different day. That it is celebrated by these isolationist savages makes it clear that this holiday transcends culture, and by some is held to be a gift of the Creator. These people also believe that the writers of Aliens Everywhere are his prophets.
--Kalen Firth 22:28, 24 May 2005 (EDT)