Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Mystique of Boxing Day, Part 3

The Mystique of Boxing Day, Part 3


By Kate Hoshimiya
The Daily Magi
October 7, 2067



In the United Kingdom, it is traditional for the Premier League (England), Scottish Premiership (Scotland) and NIFL Premiership (Northern Ireland), as well as the lower divisions and rugby leagues, to hold a full programme of football and rugby league matches on Boxing Day. Traditionally, matches on Boxing Day are played against local rivals. This was originally to avoid teams and their fans having to travel a long distance to an away game on the day after Christmas Day. It also makes the day an important one in the sporting calendar. In Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, much anticipated Test matches are played on Boxing Day. Prior to the formation of leagues, a number of important rugby fixtures took place on Boxing Day notably Llanelli v London Welsh and Leicester v The Barbarians.


In horse racing, there is the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park Racecourse in Surrey. It is the second most prestigious chase in Britain, after the Cheltenham Gold Cup.


Boxing Day is one of the main days in the hunting calendar for hunts in the UK and US, with most hunts (both mounted foxhound or harrier packs and foot packs of beagles or bassets) holding meets, often in town or village centres.


Australia holds the first day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the start to the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.


Several ice hockey contests are associated with the day. The IIHF World U20 Championship typically begins on 26 December, while the Spengler Cup also begins on 26 December in Davos, Switzerland; the Spengler Cup competition includes HC Davos, Team Canada, and other top European Hockey teams. The National Hockey League tends to have close to a full slate of games (11 were played in 2010), following the league-wide days off given for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In some African Commonwealth nations, particularly Ghana, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania, prize fighting contests are held on Boxing Day. This practice has also been followed for decades in Guyana and Italy.


A notable tradition in Sweden is Annandagsbandy, bandy on Boxing Day, which formerly marked the start of the bandy season and always draw large crowds. Matches traditionally begin at 1:15 pm.

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