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The culture and traditions of any nation are inseparable from national holidays. Considered reserved and prim all over the world, the British love the holidays as much as anyone else. Christmas, New Year, Easter, Memorial Day, Queen’s Birthday, Bonfire Night, Harvest Festival and Robert Burns’ Day – this is not the whole list of significant days for the inhabitants of foggy Albion. The holiday calendar of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a new article by Mrs. Britain.
A holiday or in English holiday – an idle or “holy day” (holy day, Eng.), Freeing from everyday worries. This is an opportunity to meet friends, have fun from the heart, remember family traditions, experience the thrill of anticipation inherent in holidays and, of course, enjoy delicious dishes.
Speaking about the national holidays of Great Britain, it is important to consider that the territory of the United Kingdom includes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Despite some regional peculiarities, residents of different parts of the UK equally honor both national and local customs. For example, St. Patrick’s Day, originating in Ireland, is celebrated on a grand scale with processions and parties in both London and Wales. And for the birthday of Scottish poet Robert Burns, a special program is prepared in the best restaurants across the country.
Today, with you, and we’re off to holiday Britain! Winter, spring, summer and autumn holidays in the United Kingdom are the topic of today’s article.
Warm traditions of cold winter
Winter is a difficult time of the year for the British. Cold, chilly winds, dampness – the English climate from December to March is not easy to endure. Numerous holidays that fall during the winter season help to distract and dispel gloomy thoughts.
First of all, it is, of course, Christmas (Christmas). The main religious holiday, which in England is celebrated by absolutely everyone, regardless of religion. Christmas is celebrated according to the Gregorian calendar on December 25th. This is an important day when the whole family tries to gather at the table, and adult children come to dinner with their parents. The main symbol of Christmas is a fir tree, decorated with red, green and gold ribbons and toys. Candles play an important role in the festive decor, they are usually placed on the windowsills.
The candle symbolizes the victory of light over darkness. Families with children do not forget about special socks for gifts that are hung over the fireplace. The Christmas meal necessarily includes stuffed turkey and baked vegetables. For dessert, puddings, muffins and minspice are served – small cakes with dried fruits.
The day following Christmas – December 26 – is no less long-awaited. After all, it’s Boxing Day. This day is also customary to spend with the family. Unpacking gifts, what could be more pleasant? Giving expensive things is not only accepted, but even small things bring joy. According to statistics, British children receive an average of 16 gifts!
December 31 is New Year’s Day. Unlike a quiet family Christmas, the New Year is an occasion for celebrations! Many celebrate the holiday in restaurants or nightclubs, invite guests. At 12 at night, glasses are raised to the chimes.
In Scotland, the new year is called Hogmanay. The last day of the outgoing year and the first day of the coming year are marked by torchlight processions. The holiday has pagan roots. It is believed that by lighting a fire, people purify karma, literally “burn” all the bad things and enter the new year with hope for the best. Special luck, as is commonly believed, awaits those who are visited on holidays by a dear guest, in the view of the Scots, this is a brunette with a piece of coal.
Thanks to Scotland, which gave the world the famous poet Robert Burns, the whole of Britain received another wonderful holiday. Being a famous reveler, Burns had many friends and loved to party. In memory of his love of fun, the English have been celebrating Robert Burns’ birthday on January 25 for many years. Across the country, restaurants and pubs are preparing a special Scottish program, inviting bagpipers and buying ingredients for haggis, a specific offal dish.
In February, the UK already feels the approach of spring. Nature is preparing to wake up, and the minds and hearts of people are occupied with only one question: “How will Valentine’s Day go”? By February 14, singles are desperately looking for a couple, lovers are tormented by the choice of a gift, and those who are already married are booking tables in restaurants and thinking where to put their children on a festive evening. On V Day, as the British call it, it is customary to give flowers, chocolate, cute trinkets. Wales stands apart here, where wooden spoons skillfully decorated with images of hearts are considered a traditional gift for Valentine’s Day.
In March, a series of spring carnivals begins. On the 1st of March, the people of Wales celebrate the day of St. David, the patron saint of the Welsh. The main celebration takes place in Cardiff, where a grand procession with flags is held annually. David of Wales is known for numerous miracles. This is the healing of seriously ill patients, and the appearance of a hill under his feet during an appeal to the flock. Leek stalks are the symbol of the holiday, because David advised the Welsh to attach it to their hats so as not to confuse compatriots with enemies during the battle with the Saxons in 640.
The next spring holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, originates in Ireland, but is celebrated by the Irish diaspora, but simply by lovers of beer and fun around the world. On March 17, noisy festivals are held everywhere. People dress up in costumes of leprechauns, attach badges with the image of a shamrock – an Irish clover – to their clothes. No offense to St. Patrick, this is first and foremost a celebration of Ireland’s cultural heritage, bringing a lot of joy to all involved.
According to the solar and lunar calendar in the spring, the British celebrate Catholic Easter (Easter), which usually falls on one of the Sundays in April. Good traditions – giving chocolate eggs to each other, baking buns with a symbolic cross, decorating shop windows and windows thematically – are passed down from generation to generation. Ritual Easter food in English families is a baked lamb with vegetables and an Easter cake (simnel cake), vaguely reminiscent of an Orthodox Easter cake.
On May 1st, the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane is celebrated, symbolizing the beginning of summer. In the past, this day marked the beginning of grazing on summer pastures. The night was dedicated to building fires. The girls put on flower wreaths, and the youth danced around the sacred pole until morning. Today, Beltane is no longer celebrated en masse, however, themed parties and festivals are often held in different parts of the UK.
At the beginning of summer in England, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated. Fun fact – Elizabeth II was born on April 21, 1926. But that doesn’t bother anyone. It is believed that in June the weather is more favorable for celebrations! Queen’s Birthday is an official event that includes a military parade (Trooping the Colors). The colorful ceremony is broadcast live throughout the country.
The third Sunday in June is Father’s Day. Mother’s Day is also celebrated on the third Sunday in March. On Father’s Day, it is customary to pay attention to the eldest male family members – fathers, stepfathers, fathers-in-law. As a rule, family brunches or dinners are arranged at home or in a restaurant. Men are given small gifts, it can be a card, socks, a funny mug or a photo frame.
In the summer, no one wants to stay at home, life is seething, many different events are held. Residents of Edinburgh and numerous tourists take part in the Fringe Arts Festival, which is held in the Scottish capital in August. During the Fringe, the city turns into a venue for thousands of theatrical, musical and dance performances. Both professional and amateur groups participate in the Edinburgh Festival.
Fans of noisy carnivals come to London at the end of August. For one day, August 25, Notting Hill becomes the epicenter of a bright festive procession. The sounds of salsa, colorful outfits, flavors of Caribbean cuisine – and all this in West London! Carnival in Notting Hill is considered the most massive street festival not only in the UK, but throughout the continent.
As in many other countries, the UK celebrates Harvest Day in the fall. As was customary from ancient times, when it depended on whether the harvest was good or not, whether there was enough food for the coming winter, autumn and summer, people rejoice at the fruits of nature and use an extra reason to have fun. The Harvest Festival falls on the autumnal equinox, September 22-23. Shop windows are decorated with vegetables and fruits, contests are held among farmers, hymns are heard in churches praising the Lord, who has given a good harvest.
The world-favorite Halloween, celebrated on October 31, originates in the UK. Initially, the holiday was called Samhain, the ancient Celts believed that on this day the spirits of the dead descend to earth and roam among the living. Modern Britons dress up with passion in bloody outfits, paint their faces with white and black paint, giving themselves the most terrible look. The holiday is expected and prepared for it in advance.
On November 5th, hundreds of fireworks light up the sky over the UK. Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated. The holiday originates in 1605, when a group of conspirators with their leader Guy Fawkes planned to blow up the British Parliament. The attack was prevented. In memory of the event, the British burn bonfires, set off fireworks, arrange the burning of an effigy of the conspirator and blow up numerous firecrackers.
Silence can be heard in the UK on November 11th. Exactly at 11.00 a minute of silence is announced throughout the country in honor of the soldiers who died in the First and Second World Wars. Remembrance Day or Poppy Day is designed to perpetuate the memory of heroes and remind the younger generation of the importance of living in peace. The symbol of the holiday is the poppy flower. The bright red color that attracts attention is reminiscent of the blood shed in battles. Poppy Day is a solemn, sad and important day for every resident of the UK.
As you can see, the calendar of British holidays is quite extensive! And given that most of them need to be prepared in advance, there are enough worries and reasons for joy for the harsh inhabitants of Albion.
Well, I have prepared for you a sign with a complete list of holidays: do not forget to congratulate your English acquaintances and take into account upcoming celebrations when planning trips to the UK!
|DATE OF CELEBRATION||HOLIDAY|
|The 25th of January||Night by Robert Burns|
|The 14th of February||Valentine’s Day|
|March 1||Saint David’s Day|
|March 17||St.Patrick ‘s Day|
|End of April||Easter|
|The 1 of May||Beltane|
|Mid June||Queen’s birthday|
|Third Sunday in June||father’s day|
|25-th of August||Notting Hill Carnival|
|September 22-23||harvest festival|
|November 5||Guy Fawkes Night|
|11th of November||Day of Remembrance|
|December 26||Boxing Day|
|Dec. 31||New Year or Hogmanay in Scots|