The Christmas celebrations in United Kingdom start even before the commencement of the season. People indulge in preparations which include gathering Christmas decorative items, cleaning houses, organizing the gifts and gifting Christmas cards and gifts to relatives and friends. The origin of Christmas celebrations in Great Britain is traced back to 596 A.D when St. Augustine landed on its soil to spread the messages of Christianity. Since then, British people celebrate the holiday by making holly wreaths and decorating the Christmas tree. You can also see plenty of interesting traditions like small children writing letters to Father Christmas who is believed to bring gifts to them. It's not only about gifts and cards as Christmas also has a religious undertone to it with churches observing Christingle services. There are Christmas ample traditions and customs in Great Britain. Below mentioned are some of them. Read on to get familiarised with them.
Customs, Traditions & Celebrations
In England, Christmas was first started in AD 596 when St. Augustine landed on its land with some monks and wanted to bring the religion of Christianity. There, the Christmas season begins at Advent. During this season, people make holly wreaths made of three pink, one white and a purple candle each. Here, Christmas decorations are being sold from the middle of November. The Christmas celebrations start even before the Christmas season which continues till the twelfth night. The preparations include the sending of Christmas cards, decorating churches and houses and exchanging gifts.
The Christmas tree is the centre point in England's Christmas celebrations though it became popular in England during Queen Victoria's reign. It was her husband, Prince Albert who brought the tradition to the royal family in the middle of nineteenth century. Each family has one or two Christmas trees in their houses and decorating it is often family occasion with contribution from everyone. People gift Poinsettia plants each other as the reddish and white petals of this flower signify the purity of Christ's blood.
Writing Letters To Father Christmas
There is another tradition in Great Britain in which children write letters to Father Christmas, listing their gifting suggestions. Sometimes, instead of posting it, they are tossed onto the fireside and it is believed that floats to the North pole. If it burns, they have to rewrite the letter.
Father Christmas's Visit
On Christmas Eve, children hang up their stockings at the end of beds or near the chimneys for the Christmas father to leave the gifts. They are not opened till the Christmas morning after which they prepare a feast and are served after midday. The day also witnesses a traditional Christmas speech by the British monarch. People also decorate the Christmas trees and hang evergreen branches. Things such as Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are used to decorate the houses. The houses are visited by the gift giver during Christmas who is known by the name 'Father Christmas' who wears a reddish or greenish robe and leaves the presents the stockings on Christmas Eve. However, the gifts are opened only at the following afternoon in family gatherings so that everyone can watch each person opening the presents.
The Churches in Britain conduct a Christingle service on the fourth day of advent. This is a carol of which the origin can be traced back to Scandinavian. During this ceremony, a child in Britain would receive an orange along with a candle wrapped in reddish ribbon. The candle represents Jesus Christ and the ribbon signifies the blood of Christ and the love of the almighty who embraces the world. Churches also have carol services and nativity scenes and candlelight services when the church is lit by candles.
For Christmas dinner, plum pudding is served with some treasures hidden inside so that the finders get hidden treasures which are believed to bring good luck. The traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with sauce and vegetables. The popular Christmas dessert in Britain is fruity Christmas pudding with brand sauce. The meal constitutes a toast which is followed by the popping of crackers. Minced and pies and pastry cases are filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. In Great Britain, the Christmas dinner is taken at mid daylight on 25 December. In Scotland, people have haggis in place of turkey.
There are plenty of Christmas traditions and customs in Great Britain. Hope this article familiarises with these interesting customs and traditions.
There are plenty of customs, traditions and celebrations associated with Christmas. Read on to more about the Christmas in Great Britain.