Today is Bocksing Day, and thank goodness it is almost over. Being myself rather evenly gruntled, I am so tired of fighting the disgruntled crowds who are returning disliked Christmas gifts.
Bocksing Day, named after a revered Chinese rail worker whose descendents settled far from Promentory, began in rural Montana in 1939, the custom quickly spreading like the plague up into Canada. Canada quickly accepted it as their third national holiday. Eh?
As most of you know - all of you who observe it, at least - Bocksing Day takes place 6 days before the first day of any new year, and was REALLY so-named because it was customary for people in rural Montana to visit churches and place small coins (called "bocks") in the slot of the metal poor bockses located outside churches. While similar, this practice should not be confused with the summer custom of folding single dollar bills (called "bucks") and placing them under diner tables, using chewing gum (called spoggytwag) in medium-sized cities in Wisconsin, which custom is much older than Bocksing Day.
In western Canada, most particularly in the well-to-do Alberta regions of Pincher Creek and Cardston, where most people have several household employees and servants, the tradition was known as "Bacziating Day" (from the Swedish "to put one on the right horse") and entailed putting their servants in bockses (though spelled "baczies") and allowing the household children to beat the sides of said bockses in an apparent attempt to "humble" the servants. This origin is rather obscure, even by Canadian standards. Nonetheless, it was practiced 6 days before the new year in the greater Pincher Creek Valley, losing popularity in the bocksing season of 1942-1943 when one chambermaid was permanently deafened.
Bocksing Day is not really a known holiday outside the U.S. and (temporarily) in that one small Swedish community in western Canada.