After the confinement and tiring etiquette of Christmas Day, the prospect of soccer on Wednesday offers something of a refuge for Britons. An opportunity to escape the family, the simmering tensions and the dinner table strife, and breathe a sigh of relief, Boxing Day games are a tradition that Britain holds dear.
A national holiday, the day after Christmas (also called St. Stephen’s Day) has come to be known as Boxing Day. The origin of its name is largely unknown. One theory suggests the date was a day off for servants who would receive a Christmas box from their employers to take home to their families. Another proposes that great ships setting sail would have a sealed box full of money onboard for good luck. If the voyage was a success, the box was given to the church and the contents donated to the poor on this day.
Whatever its roots, its quintessentially British traditions are steeped in history, of which soccer is the centerpiece for many.