Saturday, November 25, 2006

In my country the days we celebrate are: England

1 January -- this is New Year's Day. We don't go to work -- probably because a lot of people will have been celebrating late the night before. If it falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, we get the Monday off. Everyone hopes it will fall on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday so we get a three-day weekend.

Shrove Tuesday -- this is the start of Lent, so it's 40 days before Easter, the date of which depends on phases of the moon. On Shrove Tuesday, we make pancakes from a thin batter of eggs, flour and milk. These are cooked in a frying pan and must be flipped in the air so the second side can be cooked. The day is often marked with pancake races, where people run down streets tossing pancakes.

Easter -- we get Good Friday and Easter Monday off work. It is the most important Christian festival as it marks the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Much of the population thinks of it as a time to eat chocolate eggs. Here's some information about the date of Easter.

Bank Holiday Mondays -- There are three of these; one at the start of May (May Day) and one at the end (Spring Bank Holiday); and one in August (Summer Bank Holiday. Everyone takes Monday off work, which means -- for those that are that way inclined -- long drinking on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Hallow'een (31 October) -- There are a lot of mutterings about this festival, as many people consider it anti-Christian and un-English, because it is a USA import. However, for many years, children from some parts of the country have been visiting the neighbours and demanding sweets and small sums of money on this night. Pumpkin lanterns are commonly seen, but a hollowed-out turnip is more traditional.

Bonfire Night (5 November) -- In 1605 a group of Catholic conspirators plotted to blow up our Parliament and King. However, the plot was foiled. A conspirator named Guy Fawkes was captured and tortured to reveal the names of the other plotters. They were all put to death. On this night Guy Fawkeses made of old clothes are burnt on bonfires across the country while fireworks go off overhead. In some places, an effigy of the Pope, head of the Catholic Church is burnt -- although this is becoming rarer as we become more aware of the offense this causes. Children in some places wheel their guys round asking for 'a penny for the guy' to raise money for fireworks. The word Bonfire is derived from the slightly sinister bone fire; and the custom of making a huge fire at this time of year predates 1605. This website has more information about the custom.

Christmas Eve, (24 December), Christmas Day (25 December) and Boxing Day (26 December) -- These days are a Christian festival celebrating the birth of Jesus. Lots of people go to church, and special songs -- carols -- are sung at this time. We mark the festival by decorating our houses with greenery and exchanging presents (some families on 24 December, others on 25 December). One of my favourite parts of Christmas is stockings -- we hang empty socks up at the end of the bed and in the morning find they have been stuffed with little presents and sweets. Another feature of Christmas is eating too much. Many families have a roast turkey, or a roast goose with sausages and bacon and lots of vegetables. A stodgy pudding is also served, often bathed in flaming brandy. There are always loads of sweets around the house, and lots of citrus fruit, too. Many people get the whole week between Christmas and the New Year off work, because most non-essential services grind to a halt.
You will note that we


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Canada we also celebrate Boxing Day, but now that I am in the US I have had people enquire exactly what is "Boxing Day"? I don't know myself, but do know that it is a British tradition and I don't understand the significance. Can you help me out here?

2:07 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home