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EASTER HOLIDAYS & ENGLISH TRADITIONS

After Lent begins Holy Week, a Christian feast in which the death and resurrection of Christ is commemorated. In England, Holy Week is better known as Easter. Easter is celebrated in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The party includes Holy Thursday, and lasts until Easter Monday, a holiday in England, along with Good Friday. It is a celebration that goes back to pagan times and that the English continue to remember with some very popular Easter traditions.

If you want to enjoy these days in England, you can enjoy some of its traditions, among which we can find several, such as:

Easter games

egg raceOne of the oldest traditions in the UK is the famous “Egg Roll”. After Easter Mass on the Monday, the children come together to go down hills rolling decorated eggs. The first one who arrives without losing the egg wins a chocolate prize. The best-known game of this type in the country takes place in the park of Avenham, in the city of Preston.

Other places where this event is also held, is at Penrith Castle, in the Bunker Hills of Derby and also at Arthur’s Seat, at the top of the city of Edinburgh. We can find another game that is very similar to this called the Easter Egg Hunt. For this, children have to find hidden eggs. This Easter activity is celebrated in various parks and gardens belonging to palaces and castles.

Decorating Easter eggs

decorated easter eggMany families in England spend Easter Monday painting and decorating eggs to show off their artistic skills. The event “Big Egg Hunt” of the Lindt chocolates, hire different artists to decorate with extravagant drawings, 101 gigantic eggs, which they exhibit in Convent Garden in London. For Easter they hide in several cities of the country and the first one to find it remains.

This event’s funds are raised for the most needy children through the Action for Children association. Participants who are searching must find Humpty Dumpty and follow the instructions. With this they enter a contest with up to 100 prizes giving you a year supply of Lindt chocolate.The eggs are made of fibreglass and measure about 80 centimetres high, and are designed with images of famous childhood characters such as Minnie Mouse, Peppa Pig, Spongebob etc.

Traditional buns

hotcrossbuns_397_16x9If you want to spend Holy Week in the UK, you will find the tasty Hot Cross Buns. Currently they can be found throughout the year, but they were served for the first time on Good Friday, they are very sweet and soft and have a distinctive cross on it. We leave you an old rhyme that the children used to sing while preparing these sweets:  Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns! One a penny, two a penny, Hot cross buns! If you have no daughters, Give them to your sons, One to penny, two to penny, Hot cross buns.

Trying these is a must for those with a sweet-tooth!

OTHER EVENTS OVER EASTER

  • Horse Harness Parade: In London there is a historical parade, which brings together a variety of races, from donkeys to heavy horses.

 

  • Food and Drink Festival in Chester: The city of Chester on the border with Wales, takes advantage of the long weekend to celebrate its annual food and drink festival. Almost 30,000 spectators join each year to taste typical dishes of these dates, with events, contests and cooking workshops for children.

 

  • Fair Tournament at the Royal Arsenals in Leeds: The city of Leeds travels back in time to the medieval era, during Holy Week. The Armor Museum (Royal Armories) organizes several live tournaments, between men disguised with armor as medieval knights, fighting with swords, mounted on horseback. The event ends on Easter Monday with a medieval parade, followed by the grand finale, between the two best knights.

 

  • “Planet Thanet” Beer Festival: What better way to celebrate Easter than by sampling 200 types of beers, either in barrels or bottled and apple and pear cider, in the coastal town of Margate?

 

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St. Patrick’s Day – The green island is getting greener

 

leprechaunEvery year on the 17th March, Ireland and the rest of world celebrate one of its patron saints, St. Patrick. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland and the Irish people take that chance to celebrate this public-holiday like no other feast day. Did you know that, ironically, it is believed that St Patrick was actually of Scottish origin? He first visited Ireland when he was taken there as a slave by Irish raiders. Later he escaped from them. After returning home he turned into a Christian and he became a priest and later returned to Ireland to turn the pagan Irish into Christians. His work was to eventually turn all the Irish into Christians or at least that’s what the story says.

RANDOM FACT: Traditionally St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the potato planting weekend in Ireland.

 

 

Stepping a little bit back in time

Ireland was first populated around 10 000BC but very little is known about its habitants. In the fourth century BC Celtic people arrived on Irish shores. Also Vikings raided the island for about 350 years in the Irish history until they were pushed out by the Irish King, Muirecan. Not to mention the fact that the Normans also tried to take a grab for Ireland. Basically, everyone wanted a piece of Ireland and fought over it even when the island was under the British Crown.  


St. Patrick’s Day in the US

USA-IRLAs mentioned at the beginning of this post, St Patrick’s has now become somewhat of a global  celebration, with every Irish Pub in every corner of the world ensuring that people can really savour this national holiday the way the Irish would be proud of. Did you know that the Irish build the biggest nationality group in America? At the moment there are about 19 Million Irish people living in the US. They make 8% of the whole population of the United States of America. Many if not most of them came to America during the Great Famine in Ireland in 1845-51. They earned money because of the new industry and the new world. Because of their togetherness they became a huge influence and force among the locals. Despite being far from home, the Irish still made sure that they remembered their roots and ensured they stuck to their traditional St. Patrick’s Day every year.  The Irish spirit is infectious and soon enough the American people began to join in on the celebration. Funnily enough, many American’s have no idea who St Patrick is and around 73% of them are unable locate Ireland on a map but they still enjoy joining in on the celebrations anyway!

 

The “always thirsty” Irish people drink the “Green Beer” excessively on their national day. For those of you who find the idea of green beer bizarre then don’t because it’s just like normal beer but with added green food colouring. After much consumption of such beer you can imagine how the Irish feel the day after… Did you know that the traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand? – Perhaps we should skip the greasy fry up and try this too instead!

Green RiverOn St Patrick’s the world is greener. Take Chicago for example, Mr. Stephen Bailey was the first to colour the River running through the city green (this lasts for a whole week!). This tradition is now more than fifty-year-old and is repeated every year – only for a couple of hours though! Many Americans think that this Irish tradition is a little over the top and think that they should keep Mother Nature out of it. Even Irish living in Ireland are jealous of how over the top the celebrations have become in the US.

 

Celebrations in UK are much tamer – you’ll see a couple dozen of ginger wigs, green jackets, and shamrock hats floating around cities not to mention the odd leprechauns gallivanting about in the UK but nothing as major or ridiculous as colouring the River Thames green. Don’t be too shocked if you see a couple of blokes toasting with a pint of Guinness as early as 9am either and if a few moments later they hobble out putting on their best Irish accent – this is totally normal!! It’s definitely tamer but still joyful so make sure you don’t miss out on the fun on 17th March!

 St Patricks UK

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S!!!!

If you fancy a drink and an Irish dance meet us at O’Neill’s at 6pm in Bournemouth!

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