The Big Match heat

When you see school parades taking to the streets, flags draped around leading boys’ schools in the country and they start selling merchandise outside their schools – they are signs of the Big Match season. As much as it is an annual event, Big Matches have become a lifestyle among most present and past old boys of these respective schools. While all of them include a carnival atmosphere, they usually end up as draw matches.

Here are a few tell-tale signs of Big Matches :

  1. Fluttering flags : This is one of the first signs which indicate that the Big Matches are around the corner. Schools vans and old boys will carry flags around or would drape flags around their vehicles, announcing the dawn of the season.
  2. Cycle parades : Official cycle parades can take up a couple of KMs of road, as trucks, cars, and bicycles bearing schoolboys bring the traffic to a stalemate, as they callout their school name in unison at every junction and turn in the road. Unofficial cycle parades include boys dressed as girls in leading girls’ schools in the country in a bid to have some innocent fun.
  3. Headbands, armbands and other merchandise: It’s the only time of the year that a schoolchild could attend school with a number of bracelets, headbands, or armbands on their body in their school colour.
  4. Flags draped around school buildings: During this time mundane school buildings transform themselves to vibrant versions as school flags are draped right around them.
  5. The papare: What’s in a local cricket match without the sound of papare? You simply cannot escape this unique sound that goes hand in hand with Sri Lanka’s brand of cricket as radio commercials, TV ads, and even ringtones sound out with papare beats. This infectious melody truly is a hallmark of the Big Match spirit.


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