Aside from the religious aspect, British people love to celebrate Christmas. Part of the reason is that it takes our minds off the terrible weather – when it doesn’t snow, the weather at this time of year is often cold, grey and wet. We’re always dreaming of a white Christmas, even though it only happens about once every ten years. Hopes are high this year though.
Coloured lights used to decorate the streets are a lovely way to light up the long, cold winter nights.
We exchange presents and stack them under the tree, unless there are children in the house. Children hang out a big sock on Christmas Eve (24th December) and Father Christmas, also called Santa, comes in the night to fill it with presents. Children who want to impress Santa leave out a mince pie, which mysteriously disappears in the night.
Not many people know this, but it’s illegal to eat mince pies in England on Christmas day! During Oliver Cromwell’s rule (in the 17th century) Christmas was banned, and for some reason this law has never been changed.
Christmas day in the UK is celebrated on 25th December. On that day families exchange presents and then prepare and eat a special lunch. The most traditional food is turkey, but it’s not compulsory. Many people change from time to time. But one thing we never skip is Christmas pudding. It’s a very heavy pudding full of dried fruit. It must be a very British taste because I have never met anyone from outside the UK who liked this pudding!
For practising Christians, it’s traditional to go to church late on Christmas Eve for a service called midnight mass. For those who can’t stay up that late, there is another service on Christmas morning.
Come back tomorrow for Christmas in Costa Rica, by Nuria.
About the authorLucy