Day of Goodwill is a public holiday observed on the day after Christmas, December 26 in South Africa. It is also known as Boxing Day; this public holiday is one of the many changes that were implemented after the South African government did away with apartheid in 1994.
Day of Goodwill is the day for giving, and especially to the less fortunate. This is of course the exact the definition of Boxing Day.
On Christmas, you give and share lots of food, drinks, love and even gifts with your loved ones. You go to the limit filling your heart, soul and your stomachs and now what about those who are not as fortunate as you? December 26 you should ‘box’ everything you don’t need and give it away.
South Africa merely renamed the day to define its purpose. The original intention for it was to box up the excess of the abundance of the holidays and give that to the poor. This makes the intention a lot clearer and puts emphasis on attitude.
Some History of the Day of Goodwill
Portuguese traders were the first Europeans to make contact with the indigenous people of South Africa. After the rest of Europe learned about the rich resources of South Africa, the Dutch government sent a military force and several trading companies to establish a colony. Once the British government learned that their Dutch rivals could benefit from South Africa’s resources, the British military was dispatched to South Africa. This resulted in a series of battles over the course of many years. Eventually, the British military emerged victorious. The British colony in South Africa emerged as one of the most influential powers on the entire African continent.
During the colonial power struggles between the British and the Dutch, property and labour were seized from South Africa’s indigenous people. Unfortunately, these extractive institutions carried over to the modern South African government’s policy of apartheid. When apartheid finally ended when Nelson Mandela’s government took over in 1994, many South Africans felt that they were finally free from British institutions. To celebrate this achievement, Britain’s Boxing Day was replaced with the new South Africa’s Day of Goodwill.
The True Spirit of the Day of Goodwill
When goodwill is an act of compassion, we conquer our selfish human nature – that instinctive, human nature that urges us to first take care of ourselves before considering the needs of others.
• Goodwill inspires us to give the things we still want away in order to fulfill the need of someone else.
•Goodwill is killing that greedy monster in us that makes us want more and more of what we have enough of.So what’s the difference between ‘want’ and ‘need’?
The purpose of the things we Need is to Survive, while the purpose of the things we Want is to Live in Style and Comfort.
On the Day of Goodwill, we distinguish between our needs and wants, and we fulfil the needs of others. We do this with an attitude of love and charity and NOT only because we want to create space for more of our wants.
The Day of Goodwill is there as a challenge for us to meet and not simply a day for cleaning up after Christmas.
Day of Goodwill: Things to Do
- Head to the beach with your friends and family. Day of Goodwill is known to locals as Beach Day and spending the day in the summer sunshine is the most popular activity to do on this holiday.
- Watch a movie about the spirit of giving that originally brought about the holiday. Some of our favourites are Pay it Forward, The Blind Side, It’s a Wonderful Life and Freedom Writers.
- Prepare a traditional box, bag or sack. Include non-perishable items and gifts for children in need. Drop your container off at a local organisation that delivers them to children around the country.
- Host a post-Christmas braai with friends and family. Include local meats such as antelope, boerewors, sosaties and kebabs.