Why is Boxing Day significant in sports?
We all remember 'Boxing Day' as the day when sporting action takes place all over the globe. It is celebrated on December 26th each year across countries that previously formed a part of the British Empire established by Queen Victoria in 19th century. But do you know why it is called Boxing Day, and what the celebration is really about? Here's all about it.
How did the name originate?
Boxing Day has nothing to do with boxing. The name 'Boxing Day' originated in an era where Christmas gifts, usually given in a box, were received by the servants from their masters. The servants would take the boxes home on the next day, which came to be known as Boxing Day. Its origins have also been linked to donation boxes kept on Christmas.
Why is it significant?
In the United Kingdom, South Africa and Australia, Boxing Day sees several sporting fixtures being kicked off. Rugby and football matches are played by clubs against their local rivals. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, Test cricket matches are played on Boxing Day. In some African nations, particularly Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, prize fighting contests are held on Boxing Day.
When was the first Boxing day game played?
The first 'Boxing Day' match was played between two of the oldest football clubs in the world Sheffield FC and Hallam FC on 26th December 1860. The tradition was made popular during the Football League's inaugural 22-game season in 1888-89. Preston North End defeated Derby County 5-0 on and since then on Boxing Day fixture has been a regular on the calendar.
Boxing Day and Test Cricket
Since 1980, the Boxing Day test match is a regular in Australia's cricket calendar. The fixture is held in Melbourne involving Australia and a team touring the nation. This year Australia will take on England in the Boxing Day Test, while South Africa are scheduled to play a four-day Test match against Zimbabwe.