Christmas and New Year in England are the biggest family holidays. They are usually celebrated in the circle of relatives and loved ones, remembering this day about traditions that are deeply in the past.
history of the holiday
New Year in England is very closely connected with the past English people. The celebration of the departure of the old year and the beginning of the new year is a tradition that appeared a long time ago. But this day is not for the British the main winter holiday.
In the old days, the Celtic people began to celebrate the beginning of the New Year at midnight on October 31, and ended November 1, when the end of the harvest was completed. This holiday is called Samine. At night, it was customary to burn fires, because according to legends, life began his origin from the dark.
It is worth noting that Celts were firing fir, considered it a symbol of a new year and a very strong magical tree. It was customary to become around her and bring any sacrifice to the forest God or spirit so that he favorably belonged to people throughout the year. As a sacrifice chose any animal. His insides, as a sign of appreciation, was hung in branches, which became a prototype of various modern decorations.
However, when Christianity was taken, all this was banned. Instead of the insides on the Christmas tree, multicolored balls began to hang, as well as garlands.
As for Scotland, in this part of the British Islands New Year was called Hogmanay. During this period, noisy parties were taken. All around drank a lot and fir, went to visit each other, and also burned huge bonfires. However, in the XVII century, English Protestants were banned from celebrating Christmas in all parts of the UK, but the Scottish people were still able to maintain this tradition. Many believe that, due to banning, the celebration of Christmas has become quite popular New Year parties. Only in 1958, Christmas began to consider the public holiday again.
How and when celebrating?
The main holiday of the winter season in England is still christmas, and the new year is only a continuation of the celebration. Officially in the UK New Year and Christmas meet January 1 and December 25, respectively. Since these are public holidays, most of the stores are closed in this period. If we talk about weekends, then the days are very calm, public transport at this time almost does not go.
As for the celebrations, people prevent each other gifts, launch fireworks. Many British arrange interesting parties.
For children, this time is especially interesting, because they also start the weekend. Vacations last about 2 weeks, begin on December 22 and end on January 3-4.
The central place of all New Year’s celebrations in England is the Trafalgar Square. There are a large number of people here to relax, as well as admire the Christmas tree. For the first time, it was established in 1841 by order of the British Queen Victoria. Since 1947, the Christmas tree is delivered here from Oslo. This is done as a sign of gratitude for the fact that British soldiers helped free Norway from the Nazis.
In addition to the usual celebrations, New Year’s parade begins on the square in London. More than a tent of thousands of English, as well as people from different countries take part in this unusual procession. The main participants are acrobats, clowns and dancers, most often they open such celebrations.
For the first time such a procession was arranged in 1987. The parade from Piccadilly Street begins and passes in almost all large squares of the city. Those who cannot participate in march can calmly see him on television.
Before Merry Christmas, British people are starting to decorate their homes. So, To decorate windows, they use juniper wreaths with candles. Many christmas eve called “night candles”. Such a holiday is necessarily met with a Christmas tree that are decorated with multi-colored toys, as well as garlands.
The rooms hang fresh fir branches and various vegetation, for example, ostolist, mistletoe and ivy. All decorations are not removed until the new year.
What is cooking on the table?
Most often, Christmas and New Year’s dishes are prepared by traditional recipes. Despite this, the menu is quite diverse. Each house serves a large turkey, baked with potatoes and chestnuts. All this is seasoned with white sauce. In addition, the main dish of the table can also be a goose. Many bake fragrant pies with meat, and also stew cabbage + most often Brussels.
Another important dish that is present on the festive table is the round oatpill with a huge hole in the middle. If it fows or worry, it will be considered a bad sign. As for the desserts, the British are most often prepared pudding or apple pie. In some regions, bake delicious almond pie, which is decorated with various sweets or fruits. If we talk about drinks, then preference is given to Punch.
Customs and traditions
Christmas and New Year holidays are almost always associated with interesting facts, as well as traditions. So, One of these traditions is the fight of chimes on London Big Ben, because it is he who announces the beginning of the new year. The first battle of the chimes is barely heard, because, despite their huge weight, which is equal to 13 tons, the clock is burning into a large blanket. Exactly at 12 o’clock the blanket is removed, and the chimes are hit in full force, which gives the start of the new year.
It is worth noting that getting to the clock tower at this time is simply impossible. Therefore, citizens and tourists can only admire the clock below. Together with the battle of the chimes, fireworks begin, which makes such a spectacle just unforgettable.
People start hugging and kissing each other, pouring champagne glasses. Since the beginning of the new year, even unfamiliar people congratulate.
In England there is another interesting New Year tradition. Couple that kisses under the mistlette of the mistletoe on New Year’s Eve under the battle of the Kurats, the entire subsequent year will not quarrel, and will not separate. Therefore, all couples in love come under Big Ben with a sprig of mistletoe.
All the British are very love to give each other gifts. However, they should not be expensive. Most often these are unusual mugs or fridge magnets, interesting books, key rings and many other cute baubles. All gifts in the family give the lot.
Kids at this time with a special trepidation are waiting for the appearance of Santa Claus. For this, they near the fireplace hang socks cooked for gifts. In one of the legends it is said that one day Santa Claus was climbing through the chimney, and gold coins were sprinkled from his pockets. They got not in coal, but in socks that were dried by the fireplace. This was the tradition to hang socks for gifts.
All kids write Santa Claus letters in which they tell about their most cherished desires. To all of them come true, letters must be burned before the holiday. This is done in order for smoke from the pipe to the kindest old man, and he was able to fulfill all the cherished desires. In addition, it is believed that Santa Claus delivers gifts on deer. Therefore, the kids are trying to leave various goodies for them.
There is another interesting tradition that you just can not be bypass. On the eve of the new year it is necessary to open the door of the black stroke in the house and release the old year. He must carry everything bad what happened. In addition, you need to open the front door to let the new year.
Quite interesting and unusual tradition of the “First Guest”. When they give off the chimes, everyone is waiting for the guest’s appearance, because he must bring not only good luck, but also wealth to the house.
It is customary to be a dark-haired young man with bread, salt and coal. Coal he must throw in the fireplace, and only then can you start congratulating each other.
It is also important before the onset of New Year holidays to complete all the cases started and throw away all old and unnecessary things. In some regions, it is customary to burn a barrel with tar. This tradition allows you to get rid of everything bad, which has accumulated for the whole year.
All celebrations in England pass with a big sweeping and fun. This is especially true of shop owners. At this time, sales occur, which sometimes reach 95 percent. So merchants are peculiarly congratulated citizens with New Year’s holidays. All this attracts not only local residents, but also tourists.
In some regions of Great Britain, it is customary to accomplish the old year with such words as “Black Rabbits”. And in the first few minutes of the New Year, you must call on a white rabbit and say “White Rabbits”. It is believed that the rabbit should bring good luck.
In Scotland a few minutes before the new year, it is customary to sing a song called “AULD LANG SYNE”. At the beginning of the song, everyone must hold hands. After the china, it is necessary to cross hands right in front of yourself, and then give the left hand to a person on the right side, and the right hand is a man who stands on the left side. Do it need it in a circle of friends.
Summing up, we can say that Christmas and New Year in England are rather original and unusual. Therefore, many people from other countries want to get there on the eve of New Year holidays and see everything with their own eyes.
How celebrated New Year in England, look in the following video.