MCG hosting Boxing Day Test between Australia and Pakistan© ‘X’ (Twitter)

As ‘Boxing Day’ arrives, so does cricketing action, with Australia scheduled to take on Pakistan in the 2nd Test of the series while India are set to square off with South Africa in the opening match of the 2-Test assignment. Every single year, cricketing bodies attempt to schedule important matches of global significance on this day, and the case this year is no different, with two big events scheduled. But what makes ‘Boxing Day’ so special in sports?

Boxing Day in sports marks the return of action to the pitch on the first day after Christmas. Every year, December 26 is referred to as ‘Boxing Day’ all across the world. But, the term ‘Boxing’ has little to do with its sporting interpretation.

What Is Boxing Day?

While the origin of the day is not known, a widely accepted theory suggests that the name stems from the tradition where wealthier people give a so-called “Christmas Box” containing money and gifts to servants and tradesmen the day after Christmas. The box used to be seen as a reward for a year of service.

Some also believe that Boxing Day comes from the post-Christmas practice of Churches placing boxes out their doors to collect money for the underprivileged members of society and light up their Christmas. Another theory states that it comes from Britain’s proud naval tradition and the days when a sealed box of money would be kept on board for lengthy voyages. The box would be then given to a priest to be distributed to the poor if the voyage was successful.

What is Boxing Day in Cricket?

Cricket on Boxing Day isn’t something new. The tradition dates back to the 19th century.

A Sheffield Shield match between Victoria and New South Wales at the Melbourne Cricket Ground back in 1865 is widely considered as the origin of Boxing Day matches in Australia. Event on Boxing Day, 2023, Australia are playing cricket against Pakistan at the MCG.

Over the years, Boxing Day Tests have become central to cricket boards’ schedules across the world. More often than not, families and friends turn up to watch cricket matches in the stadiums.

Primarily, Australia and South Africa are the two nations where Boxing Day Test matches are religiously scheduled.

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