Difference between revisions of "Holiday Traditions in the British Isles"

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==== Before Christmas & Christmas Day ====
 
==== Before Christmas & Christmas Day ====
  
·         The ‘greening’ of Christmas – holly and ivy, mistletoe, and the Christmas tree.
+
* The ‘greening’ of Christmas – holly and ivy, mistletoe, and the Christmas tree.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Father Christmas/St. Nicholas – the popular patron saint of little children.&nbsp; St. Nicholas’ Day is December 6<sup>th</sup>.
+
* Father Christmas/St. Nicholas – the popular patron saint of little children. St. Nicholas’ Day is December 6<sup>th</sup>.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; St. Thomas’ Day, December 21<sup>st</sup> – poor widows went door to door begging for food and money.
+
* St. Thomas’ Day, December 21<sup>st</sup> – poor widows went door to door begging for food and money.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Caroling – the Welsh are particularly fond of and noted for their singing.
+
* Caroling – the Welsh are particularly fond of and noted for their singing.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Wassailling – to drink from the wassail bowl – a traditional drink made with apples and spices.
+
* Wassailling – to drink from the wassail bowl – a traditional drink made with apples and spices.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Mummers – An 800 year old tradition – troops of ‘mummers’ would put on a traditional play.
+
* Mummers – An 800 year old tradition – troops of ‘mummers’ would put on a traditional play.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Pantomime – more traditional plays.
+
* Pantomime – more traditional plays.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Christmas cards began in 1843.
+
* Christmas cards began in 1843.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; ''A Christmas Carol'' by Charles Dickens was published in December 1843 and more than 15,000 copies were sold within a year.
+
* ''A Christmas Carol'' by Charles Dickens was published in December 1843 and more than 15,000 copies were sold within a year.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Candles were placed in the windows to light the way for the Christ Child, and to invite anyone in need into the home.
+
* Candles were placed in the windows to light the way for the Christ Child, and to invite anyone in need into the home.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Christmas Day, celebrated on Dec. 25, coinciding with ancient celebrations of the return of light to the Northern Hemisphere.
+
* Christmas Day, celebrated on Dec. 25, coinciding with ancient celebrations of the return of light to the Northern Hemisphere.
  
§&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Christmas dinner and pudding
+
§ Christmas dinner and pudding
  
 
* Christmas crackers
 
* Christmas crackers
 
* The Queen’s speech
 
* The Queen’s speech
  
==== ====
+
==== December 26<sup>th</sup>, St. Stephen's Day====
  
==== December 26<sup>th</sup>, ST. STEPHEN’s DAY<br> ====
+
* He was a disciple of Christ, one of seven to whom the twelve Apostles gave the task of caring for the widows and the poor.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; He was a disciple of Christ, one of seven to whom the twelve Apostles gave the task of caring for the widows and the poor.
+
* St. Stephen is the patron saint of alms giving.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; St. Stephen is the patron saint of alms giving.
+
* On St. Stephen’s Day the alms boxes were opened and alms were given to the poor.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; On St. Stephen’s Day the alms boxes were opened and alms were given to the poor.
+
====December 26<sup>th</sup>, Boxing Day====
  
==== DECEMBER 26<sup>th</sup>, BOXING DAY<br> ====
+
* A day for giving to the poor and to those who serve you throughout the year.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; A day for giving to the poor and to those who serve you throughout the year.
+
* The origin comes from the tradition of opening the church alms boxes on this day and distributing alms to the poor.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The origin comes from the tradition of opening the church alms boxes on this day and distributing alms to the poor.
+
* Or, it comes from the tradition of the wealthy boxing up the left-over of their Christmas feast and giving it to their servants and poor.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Or, it comes from the tradition of the wealthy boxing up the left-over of their Christmas feast and giving it to their servants and poor.
+
* Tips are given to those who serve you such as the postman or dustman.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Tips are given to those who serve you such as the postman or dustman.
+
* In Ireland, young men in extravagant dress, sometimes wearing masks, parade noisily through the streets in the Wren Boys' Procession. They carry a long pole on top of which is attached a holly bush. The bush supposedly contains a captured wren, and for whose sake the young men beg for money.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In Ireland, young men in extravagant dress, sometimes wearing masks, parade noisily through the streets in the Wren Boys' Procession. They carry a long pole on top of which is attached a holly bush. The bush supposedly contains a captured wren, and for whose sake the young men beg for money.
+
====The Twelve Days of Christmas====
  
==== THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS<br> ====
+
* Begin on December 25th and end on January 5th, called Twelfth Night.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Begin on December 25th and end on January 5th, called Twelfth Night.
+
====Religious Symbolism====
  
====  ====
+
* The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas.
  
==== RELIGIOUS SYMBOLISM<br> ====
+
* Two turtle doves represent the two books of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas.
+
* Three French hens represent the Three Christian Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Two turtle doves represent the two books of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments.
+
* Four calling birds represent the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Three French hens represent the Three Christian Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
+
* Five gold rings represent the first five books of the Old Testament.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Four calling birds represent the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
+
* Six geese a-laying represent the six days or periods of the Creation.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Five gold rings represent the first five books of the Old Testament.
+
* Seven swans a-swimming represent seven gifts of the Spirit (see Romans12:6-8).
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Six geese a-laying represent the six days or periods of the Creation.
+
* Eight maids a-milking represent the eight Beatitudes.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Seven swans a-swimming represent seven gifts of the Spirit (see Romans12:6-8).
+
* Nine ladies dancing represent the nine Fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22).
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Eight maids a-milking represent the eight Beatitudes.
+
* Ten lords a-leaping represent the Ten Commandments.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Nine ladies dancing represent the nine Fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22).
+
* Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles of Jesus Christ.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Ten lords a-leaping represent the Ten Commandments.
+
* Twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles of Jesus Christ.
+
===New Year's Eve===
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed.
+
'''''' * The new year used to begin in the Spring on March 25<sup>th</sup> and was not changed to January 1<sup>st</sup> in England until 1752 (Scotland changed in 1600).'''''
  
'
+
* New Year’s Eve is a time for partying with family and friends and visiting each other’s homes.
  
'''NEW YEAR’S EVE'''
+
* On the stroke of midnight church bells peel throughout the land.
  
''''''&nbsp;·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The new year used to begin in the Spring on March 25<sup>th</sup> and was not changed to January 1<sup>st</sup> in England until 1752 (Scotland changed in 1600).'''''
+
* “First Footing” is the tradition of having a dark stranger be first to step over your threshold at midnight.  He brings coal, food, and a coin for good luck and your feed him.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; New Year’s Eve is a time for partying with family and friends and visiting each other’s homes.
+
* “Hogmanay” is what the New Year’s Eve party is called in Scotland and gifts may be exchanged at midnight.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; On the stroke of midnight church bells peel throughout the land.
+
====Twelfth Night====
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “First Footing” is the tradition of having a dark stranger be first to step over your threshold at midnight.&nbsp; He brings coal, food, and a coin for good luck and your feed him.
+
* Twelfth Night is the eve of January 5<sup>th</sup> and is the official end of the twelve days of Christmas.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; “Hogmanay” is what the New Year’s Eve party is called in Scotland and gifts may be exchanged at midnight.
+
* Again parties are held, plays are put on, and bonfires are lit.
  
==== TWELFTH NIGHT<br> ====
+
* Christmas decorations are taken down.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Twelfth Night is the eve of January 5<sup>th</sup> and is the official end of the twelve days of Christmas.
+
====Epiphany====
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Again parties are held, plays are put on, and bonfires are lit.
+
* Epiphany is the commemoration of the visit of the Three Wise Men to the Baby Jesus.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Christmas decorations are taken down.
+
* It is the climax of the Christmas season.
  
==== EPIPHANY<br> ====
+
* Gifts may be exchanged on this day instead of Christmas.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Epiphany is the commemoration of the visit of the Three Wise Men to the Baby Jesus.
+
===Sources of Information===
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; It is the climax of the Christmas season.
+
* Baker, Margaret, ''Folklore and Customs of Rural England'', FHL book 942 H7bm.
  
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Gifts may be exchanged on this day instead of Christmas.
+
* Hole, Christina, ''English Custom &amp; Usage'', FHL book 942 H6hc.
  
'''SOURCES OF INFORMATION'''
+
* Various Internet web sites, especially http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/
 
 
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Baker, Margaret, ''Folklore and Customs of Rural England'', FHL book 942 H7bm.
 
 
 
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Hole, Christina, ''English Custom &amp; Usage'', FHL book 942 H6hc.
 
 
 
·&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Various Internet web sites, especially http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/
 
  
 
[[Category:England]]
 
[[Category:England]]

Revision as of 03:38, 15 August 2008

Article describing Christmas holiday traditions in the British Isles.

Before Christmas & Christmas Day

  • The ‘greening’ of Christmas – holly and ivy, mistletoe, and the Christmas tree.
  • Father Christmas/St. Nicholas – the popular patron saint of little children. St. Nicholas’ Day is December 6th.
  • St. Thomas’ Day, December 21st – poor widows went door to door begging for food and money.
  • Caroling – the Welsh are particularly fond of and noted for their singing.
  • Wassailling – to drink from the wassail bowl – a traditional drink made with apples and spices.
  • Mummers – An 800 year old tradition – troops of ‘mummers’ would put on a traditional play.
  • Pantomime – more traditional plays.
  • Christmas cards began in 1843.
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published in December 1843 and more than 15,000 copies were sold within a year.
  • Candles were placed in the windows to light the way for the Christ Child, and to invite anyone in need into the home.
  • Christmas Day, celebrated on Dec. 25, coinciding with ancient celebrations of the return of light to the Northern Hemisphere.

§ Christmas dinner and pudding

  • Christmas crackers
  • The Queen’s speech

December 26th, St. Stephen's Day

  • He was a disciple of Christ, one of seven to whom the twelve Apostles gave the task of caring for the widows and the poor.
  • St. Stephen is the patron saint of alms giving.
  • On St. Stephen’s Day the alms boxes were opened and alms were given to the poor.

December 26th, Boxing Day

  • A day for giving to the poor and to those who serve you throughout the year.
  • The origin comes from the tradition of opening the church alms boxes on this day and distributing alms to the poor.
  • Or, it comes from the tradition of the wealthy boxing up the left-over of their Christmas feast and giving it to their servants and poor.
  • Tips are given to those who serve you such as the postman or dustman.
  • In Ireland, young men in extravagant dress, sometimes wearing masks, parade noisily through the streets in the Wren Boys' Procession. They carry a long pole on top of which is attached a holly bush. The bush supposedly contains a captured wren, and for whose sake the young men beg for money.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

  • Begin on December 25th and end on January 5th, called Twelfth Night.

Religious Symbolism

  • The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas.
  • Two turtle doves represent the two books of the Bible: the Old and New Testaments.
  • Three French hens represent the Three Christian Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity.
  • Four calling birds represent the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
  • Five gold rings represent the first five books of the Old Testament.
  • Six geese a-laying represent the six days or periods of the Creation.
  • Seven swans a-swimming represent seven gifts of the Spirit (see Romans12:6-8).
  • Eight maids a-milking represent the eight Beatitudes.
  • Nine ladies dancing represent the nine Fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22).
  • Ten lords a-leaping represent the Ten Commandments.
  • Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles of Jesus Christ.
  • Twelve drummers drumming represent the twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed.

New Year's Eve

' * The new year used to begin in the Spring on March 25th and was not changed to January 1st in England until 1752 (Scotland changed in 1600).

  • New Year’s Eve is a time for partying with family and friends and visiting each other’s homes.
  • On the stroke of midnight church bells peel throughout the land.
  • “First Footing” is the tradition of having a dark stranger be first to step over your threshold at midnight. He brings coal, food, and a coin for good luck and your feed him.
  • “Hogmanay” is what the New Year’s Eve party is called in Scotland and gifts may be exchanged at midnight.

Twelfth Night

  • Twelfth Night is the eve of January 5th and is the official end of the twelve days of Christmas.
  • Again parties are held, plays are put on, and bonfires are lit.
  • Christmas decorations are taken down.

Epiphany

  • Epiphany is the commemoration of the visit of the Three Wise Men to the Baby Jesus.
  • It is the climax of the Christmas season.
  • Gifts may be exchanged on this day instead of Christmas.

Sources of Information

  • Baker, Margaret, Folklore and Customs of Rural England, FHL book 942 H7bm.
  • Hole, Christina, English Custom & Usage, FHL book 942 H6hc.