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Why is Boxing Day Test called the Boxing Day Test?

Ever wondered why Test matches played from December 26 referred to as Boxing Day Test? Ever wondered what the sport of punches and jabs have to do with strokes and bouncers? The answer may be quite different what you assumed.

Why is Boxing Day Test called the Boxing Day Test?
Image Credits: Twitter/@cricketcomau

Boxing Day Tests generate quite a lot of enthusiasm among cricketers and fans alike the world over. Santa has come, the gifts have been opened and the festive spirit continues to linger. And a mouth-watering cricketing contest just adds to the flavour of the month for enthusiasts.

But why is it called the Boxing Day Test when cricket really has no link whatsoever with boxing? This is an assumption that many, mistakenly, have that boxing is the sport played in a ring and it has some relevance for Test cricket played from December 26. However, there is none whatsoever and has a much more traditional and historical relevance.

The day is believed to have derived its name from 'Christmas boxes' gifted to workers who agreed to work on Christmas by employers. Theses boxes comprised of food and other gifts which the workers - mainly in UK and Australia - would then share with their families.

Traditionally, Boxing Day has always been used to refer to the second day of Christmastide - December 26. In the UK and many of its past colonies, cricket was an important activity of the day. In Australia in particular, it became a tradition of sorts for the national team to face off against another international side at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in a match that was, therefore, aptly called Boxing Day Test.

Increasingly, Test matches played elsewhere but from December 26, are also being referred to as Boxing Day Tests. For example, the ongoing clash between New Zealand and Sri Lanka at Christchurch also began from Wednesday and has been referred to as a Boxing Day Test.

Little wonder then that Boxing Day Test was trending on social media since the wee hours of Wednesday even as teams battled it out after post-Christmas celebrations the world over.