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CHRISTMAS IN THE UK

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Some curiosities that you might not know

For most of you this may be your first Christmas in the UK, or maybe you are  wondering how do they celebrate this special time of the year . Well, to write this post I have compiled some of their traditions and curiosities for your better understanding, we hope you find this information useful and please feel free to add any other curiosity that you know!

Fireworks explode behind the Big Ben clock on the Houses of Parliament in London

Advent – Four Sundays Before Christmas

There are two traditions during this period before Christmas. It starts four Sundays before Christmas: The Advent Calendar and the Advent Candle.  Nowadays it is very common to lit one candle each week before Christmas starting four Sundays before the 25th of December. The Advent calendar is usually a chocolate box in which you mean to eat one chocolate each day (be patient and don´t eat all in the same day!)

Christmas Eve – December 24th

Carol singing, midnight church, family dinner, going out with your friends and family are some of the main traditions, but overall, it is the most exciting night for the youngest of the family! This is the night when Santa comes! With his 9 Reindeers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner Blitzen and of course … Rudolf! And brings the presents for all the family!

Christmas Day – December 25th

This is the moment that children have been waiting for the whole year! They usually wake up very early to open the presents that Santa had left for them (If they have been good children during the year!).

More food, Carols, pantomimes, drinks, turkey and the Queen´s message go around this day, most of the British people believe that the best way to spend that day is being with their families.

Boxing Day – December 26th   (St. Stephen´s Day)

I have been asking to some of the British people I know, and oddly enough, they don´t really know the meaning of this day and why is it called “Boxing Day”.

Some of the answers that I get were: “It´s called Boxing because it´s a day for giving money to the charity and you put the money in a box”, others believe that it has this name because “it´s a day to practice sports to fight against the overweight that we put on during this day, that´s way there is a big horse race and it is an important day for sports in the UK”.

However the real reason of why it´s it called Boxing Day is because it was traditionally a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants and friends. Originated in medieval times, when the priest empty he alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor. Wealthy people indulged in huge Christmas feasts, and when they were finished, packed up the remains of feasts in boxes and gave them out to their servants.

New year´s Eve – December 31st

It is widely known that this is one of the most exciting nights all over the world, this is not a religious festivity but there are some traditions during these days. Many people catch up in Trafalgar Square or Piccadilly Circus, some others are likely to go to see the Big Ben and enjoy together while singing the popular song “Auld Lng Syne”. (Listen the song and watch video)

 The twelve days of Christmas – December 26th to January 6th

During these days there are some curious customs that British people use to do. For example it was considered unlucky to let the log in the fireplace stop burning. This log was called the Yule log and it was used to light the fire in New Year, to ensure good luck for the rest of the year. This custom was done by Druids, but during these days’ it´s being lost.

Other people use to hide a dried bean in a cake. The finder of the bean became “King of the Bean” and ruled the party for the night. (Usually the 6th January).

Another custom is that for every mince pie you eat over the 12 days of Christmas you will have a month of good luck the following year!

I hope you find useful this information and we would be glad if you want to share the traditions that you usually do during Christmas period in your country by leaving a comment in our blog! We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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