Published: 28th December 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Why are Boxing Day games trending? What is their significance?
The Boxing Day games are a significant part of post-Christmas celebrations. The matches will continue well into January 2023
'Tis the season for Premier League and cricket test matches! Yesterday, on December 27, Chelsea and Manchester City displayed stunning wins in England, David Warner hit a record-breaking double century at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia — with these cricket, football and other Boxing Day games, boredom is sure to be at bay. And the icing on the cake? The holiday season celebrations and Boxing Day sales! Do you know what Boxing Day is, though? Just read on.
What is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is celebrated after Christmas Day, occurring on the second day of Christmastide. In simple words, it falls on December 26. It originated in Great Britain and is also celebrated in countries which formed a part of the British empire back in the day. Boxing Day is attached with a bank holiday and a public holiday, which can be shifted till December 28, to ensure that it falls on a weekday. However, the day was established as a holiday only in 1871.
What's with the name?
The European tradition of giving gifts and money to the poor and working-class dates back to the middle ages. Though the exact etymology is unknown, the word 'box' is associated with the alms box placed in churches and also with the Christmas box which was meant for giving presents and gratuity during Christmas. In England, there was a custom for tradesmen to collect the Christmas boxes on the first weekday after Christmas, which is how Boxing Day traditions are said to have developed.
How is the day celebrated now?
Boxing Day is not celebrated in India. But for many other European and Commonwealth countries, it is a joyful time of the year. Boxing Day celebrations begin just after Christmas and last till the end of New Year festivities. The day is also concurrent with the Christian holiday of St Stephen's Day. The period is marked with attractive sales, which are compared to the Black Friday sales, gift-giving and most popularly the Boxing Day games.
What are the Boxing Day games?
The Premier League matches (which take place between top-tier football clubs in England) and the Australian Test Cricket match (played between Australia and one other Commonwealth nation at the MCG) are the two most significant Boxing Day games. However, other Boxing Day games include rugby leagues, yacht races, horse races, ice hockey and professional boxing matches, which are held across various parts of the globe.
How did these games originate?
In England, there has always been a tradition of playing games since the Victorian era, especially football on Christmas Day, since it was a day off. There was also the tradition of holding public working-class events. Thus, for England, the history of the Boxing Day games is rooted in traditions and hard-fought workers' rights. However, football is no longer played on December 25 in the country.