December 26 is observed in the UK and many Commonwealth nations, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada as Boxing Day.
The day is marked in many of these countries by post-Christmas sales and is also the date on which Boxing Day Test matches are played.
It is a public holiday in the UK, Australia (except Southern Australia state), New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa (as Day of Goodwill).
There is more than one explanation for the origin of Boxing Day.
According to one version, it refers to the alms boxes or poor boxes in churches that used to be opened the day after Christmas.
Others believe that the name is derived from the boxes of gifts that were given to servants who had to work on Christmas Day. They were given presents the next day.
December 26 is also the feast day of St Stephen, the patron saint of horses. For this reason, many sporting events are also held on this day. In England and Wales, fox hunting used to be a part of the Boxing tradition, but a law in 2004 banned the activity.
In recent times, Boxing Day has come to be associated with discounts and sales offers, with many stores offloading stocks.
Test matches are held in Commonwealth countries in the Southern Hemisphere on this day, where December, January, and February are summer months.
In Australia, the Boxing Day Test match is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) every year from December 26 to 30 between the Australian side and an opposing national team that is on tour of the country. The first Boxing Day Test was played between Australia and England in 1950. India has played Boxing Day Test matches in Australia in 1985, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2014, and 2018. It will play next in 2020.
Boxing Day Test matches are also organised by New Zealand and South Africa. This year, New Zealand will not hold its own match, and will play the Boxing Day match in Australia. In South Africa, England is playing this year.