Boxing Day, the 26th of December, has become a traditional day of sports in the UK, with many events taking place all across the country.
The day got its name from a time when many upper-class families gave boxes of gifts to poor people who had to work at Christmas while everybody else was celebrating. Boxing Day is celebrated in many Commonwealth countries.
The first important sports event on Boxing Day took place back in 1860 when two of the oldest football clubs in England played against each other. Today the Englisch Premier League schedules a full round of matches on this Christmas holiday. In many cases, teams that are geographically close to each other play on Boxing Day so that fans do not have that far to travel.
While most European football leagues take a winter break, sometimes for several weeks, English football continues between Christmas and New Year.
The holiday schedule is welcomed by many football fans, but there are critics however who say that the Christmas season is a time when everybody should be at home with their families. Some managers point out that the season is very long and major teams need a break for players to recover from injuries.
Football is not the only popular sport that is played on Boxing Day. Horse racing and rugby have also seen regular sports events on the second day of Christmas. Traditional fox hunting is opposed by more and more Britons. In addition, Boxing Day has become one of the strongest betting days of the year.
- betting = when people risk money on the results of games or future events
- break = pause; a time during which you have no games
- celebrate = to have fun or do something special
- Commonwealth = group of about 50 countries that were once a part of the British Empire
- critics = people who think that certain things are not good
- everybody else = all the other people
- gift = present
- however = but
- in addition = also
- injury = when a part of your body gets hurt
- major = important
- manager = someone who is in charge of and coaches a football team
- oppose = to be against
- point out = to say something that is important for you
- Premier League = the 20 best football teams of England an Wales which play against each other
- recover = to get better
- schedule = to plan something for a certain time
- traditional = something that has existed for a long time
- UK = United Kingdom
- welcome = to be glad that something happens
- winter break = time during which teams do not play because it is too cold or there is too much snow on the ground