Christmas and the New Year
Every year the people of Norway give the city of London a present. It's a big Christmas tree and it stands in Trafalgar Square.

Cards, trees and mistletoe
In 1846 the first Christmas cards were sent in Britain. That was five years after the first Christmas tree. Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert (who was German), brought this German tradition to Britain. He and the Queen had a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle in 1841.
Traditionally people decorate their trees on Christmas Eve - that's December 24th. They take down the decorations twelve days later, on Twelfth Night (January 5th).
An older tradition is Christmas mistletoe. People put a piece of this green plant with its white berries over a door. Mistletoe brings good luck, people say. Also, at Christmas British people kiss their friends and family under the mistletoe.

Christmas carols
Before Christmas, groups of singers go from house to house. They collect money and sind traditional Christmas songs or carols. There are a lot of very popular British Christmas carols (eg. 'Good King Wenceslas' or 'The Holly and the Ivy').

Christmas Eve
British children don't open their presents on December 24th. Father Christmas brings their presents in the night. Then they open them on the morning of the 25th.
There's another name for Father Christmas in Britain - Santa Claus (Saint Nichlas). In the traditional story he lives at the North Pole. On Christmas Eve he visits every house, climbs dowm the chimney and leaves lots of presents.

Christmas Day
In Britain the most important meal on December 25th is Christmas dinner. The typical Christmas dinner is roast turkey with carrots, potatoes, peas, Brussels sprouts and gravy. There are sausages and bacon, too. Then, after the turkey, there's Christmas pudding.

Crackers are also usual at Christmas dinner. These came to Britain from China in the 19th century. Two people pulls a cracker. Usually there's a small toy in the middle. Often there's a joke on a piece of paper, too.

Boxing Day
December 26th is Boxing day. Traditionally boys from the shops in each town asked for money at Christmas. They went from house to house on December 26th and took boxes made of wood with them. At each house people gave them money. This was a Christmas present. So the name of December 26th doesn't come from the sport of boxing - it comes from the boys' wooden boxes. Now, Boxing Day is an extra holiday after Christmas Day.

First Footing
In Scotland the name for New Year's Eve is Hogmanay. After midnight people visit their friends. And they take a present - a piece of coal. Why? Because the first visitor of the year must carry coal into the house. It brings good luck. It also helps to make a fire in the middle of winter.

As in Germany people in Britain make resolutions (gute Vorsätze). But here as well as there people have bad memories...

Source: Customs and Traditions in Britain, Longman

© 1997-2023 englischlehrer.de × Alle Rechte vorbehalten. × Ausgewiesene Marken gehören ihren jeweiligen Eigentümern.
englischlehrer.de übernimmt keine Haftung für den Inhalt verlinkter externer Internetseiten.
1.765 (+0)pi × search powered by uCHOOSE