Christians around the world believe that over two thousand years ago a very special person was born. His name was Jesus and he is believed to be the son of God. Even though the Bible – the most important book for Christians – does not indicate that Jesus was born in December, the date 25 December is since ages celebrated as the anniversary of his birth.
Christmas is one of the most popular British holidays, so it is connected with various Christmas traditions. Probably the most prevalent one is Christmas Eve – the evening before Christmas Day. Even though in the United Kingdom it is not as emphasised as in other countries, Christmas Eve is an especially exciting time for children waiting for Santa Claus. They often believe that this red-dressed man with white beard brings them gifts, so they leave milk and cookies for him. Another important tradition is singing Christmas carols – this takes place mostly at churches, but many people do that at home too. Most people also decorate Christmas trees at their homes – it is a task for the whole family to make the tree look as beautiful and bright as possible, and not to forget about the big star at the top. Houses, gardens, trees and streets are illuminated with Christmas lights, that make Christmas time feel even more magical.
Christmas food is a very important part of the celebrations. The dinner, during which the whole family gathers together at one table, usually features a roast turkey, vegetables, Christmas pudding, a cake, mulled wine and mince pies. The dinner table should be decorated with a Christmas Cracker for everyone. Sometimes there is also a Holly, Ivy, or a Mistletoe.
An important moment for many families during Christmas is also watching the Queen’s Speech. It is a five- to ten-minute speech of the British monarch broadcasted on various TV channels – usually on BBC. According to many believers, however, the most important part of the Christmas observance is spending precious time with family. They exchange Christmas cards and gifts and enjoy their own company, as most people do not have to work during Christmas.
Did you know?
One of British Christmas traditions that makes Catholics from other countries confused could be Pantomime. It is a type of a musical comedy featuring celebrities dressed up to entertain, with stories following the line of traditional tales. Watching Pantomime on Christmas has become a family tradition that generates great profits. In 2012, only during the Christmas season, the largest Pantomime production company in the United Kingdom made more than $30 million.
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