Like most countries we begin planning for this holiday season well before the beginning of December. This includes making dinner plans with the extended family, collecting decorations, cleaning our houses from top to bottom, buying gifts for our friends and family, and sending Christmas cards to those across the globe. The atmosphere of love and joy is regenerated at Christmas time as old feuds are forgotten and family ties strengthened.
The Christmas turkey is central to the perfect Christmas dinner. It is placed in the center of the table surrounded by fluffy white potatoes, smooth gravy and perfectly pink cranberry sauce. Once this feast for kings has been devoured, the Christmas pudding is brought out. This is the traditional Christmas dessert in Britain. It must contain 13 ingredients, one ingredient for each of the members (Jesus and the Twelve Apostles) at the last supper. A silver coin is dropped into the ingredients which is meant to bring good luck to the family.
The young children of Britain write letters to Santa and place them in the hearth of the fireplace. They do so believing that the letters will float up the chimney and fly across to the North Pole where Santa awaits its arrival. Some write a letter and post it free to Santa - North Pole. I expect you can even 'tweet' Santa these days! Any home with young children is filled with excitement on Christmas Eve as they place their stockings next to the fire place in anticipation of Christmas Morning. It is common in Britain for children to place a pitcher of ale and a mincemeat tart under the tree as a way of saying thanks to Santa for bringing the presents.
During The Day
Many people ensure that everyone is sat round together to watch the Queens speech. Every year the Queen addresses the nation with her message, usually about some of the years major events which this year no doubt will be the Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. The tradition of Queen's Christmas Message began in 1932 with a radio broadcast by George V on the British Broadcasting Corporation Empire Service. Today,you can watch the broadcast by either TV or internet.
After a hearty meal, all members of the family sit around the fire (if they have a fire) and watch the Christmas special speech by the British Monarch. The Queens speak is not as watch as it used to be but it still brings in a good TV ratings winner. As the day passes in the evening, people travel miles to visit to their relatives around Britain and some attend Christmas Day mass.
Brightly Lit Christmas Trees
In Britain, Christmas trees are decorated with candy canes, cookies and lights.These decorations are only to be taken down twelve days after Christmas Day. It is believed that this tradition of can be traced back to Prince Albert who brought this tradition, from Germany, to the United Kingdom..
The Development of Christmas Traditions
This holiday is all about traditions and customs. Despite popular belief, not all of the traditions observed in the Britain are old. Take for example, the roasted turkey, with bright green Brussel sprouts and smooth gravy. This is the main attraction of the English Christmas dinner but it was only introduced in the twentieth century. Traditions are important but they do develop over time.
Submitted by: Carolyn A Clayton
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