Christmas is the most long-awaited holiday of the British. They celebrate it on December 25, but preparations for the celebration begin in November. Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas, starts 4 weeks before the significant day.
The English wish each other a happy Christmas season and always send greeting cards. This tradition was born in England, the first such postcard was printed in 1843 in London.
Decoration of a house and Christmas tree
The main tree of Christmas is a spruce, a symbol of eternal nature. Traditionally, the British decorate it in three colors: green, red and gold. The tradition to hang sweets on a Christmas tree derived from Britain.
The tradition of decorating spruce came to England in 1840 from Germany thanks to Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, a German by birth.
The house for Christmas is decorated with ivy twigs, mistletoe of white and holly. According to an ancient tradition, a man can kiss any girl standing under a branch of mistletoe or an adornment made of it.
On Christmas people put candles on window sills. This tradition symbolizes the victory of light over the darkness. That’s why the night before the celebration is called «The Night of Candles.»
An indispensable attribute of the decor is the Christmas socks. Hang them on the fireplace, so that the Father Christmas, going down the pipe, will fill them up with sweets and gifts. Always put such treats as milk and a cookie nearby.
Every year children write letters to Santa. The letters must be burned in the fireplace, so that the Father of Christmas will know about your desires and fulfill them.
Christmas menu of the British
The main dish of the Christmas dinner is a stuffed turkey. On the table should also be baked potatoes and Christmas bread, decorated with greens. According to the tradition, bread is divided in half and the second half is always given to those in needs.
Christmas pudding is the main dessert. The filling of fruits, spices and alcohol for this spicy meal is prepared a month before the celebration, so as to be properly brewed. Before serving, pudding is poured with rum and ignited. Before you break off a piece you need to make a wish — it is believed that it will necessarily come true as soon as you taste the dish.
In addition to pudding, the English bake sweet pies with a filling and Christmas cake.
Christmas calendars for children
The Advent calendar was invented specially for British kids. This is a calendar with 24 windows, which counts down to Christmas. Every morning a child opens one window and discovers a small sweet, a postcard with a poem and wishes, etc.
Shopping and gifts for Christmas
Christmas Eve is the time of shopping and New Year’s gifts. In this regard, large cities open fairs, sales begin. In all shopping centers Christmas music plays, Christmas Carols sound. You can ride a carousel, try traditional food or drink mulled wine.
A big Christmas tree is placed on Trafalgar Square in London. It is brought from Norway as gratitude for the help and support at the times of the Second World War.
Interesting facts about the British Christmas
– Every year, the British spend about 800 million pounds sterling for Christmas products: postcards, gifts, decor, etc.
– The English celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Every day you need to eat one Christmas pie to attract good luck.
– Every year on Christmas, the British bake about 10 million turkeys.
– About 16 gifts per year are received on average by every British kid.
– Decorate the house with a holly since ancient times — it is believed that this plant scares away sorcerers and witches. Mistletoe, which is also used for decorating the house, is considered a symbol of peace and eternal life.