The traditions of
Every year in December Christians celebrate the birthday of Jesus
Christ. That is why it is called Christmas (Christ's Mass). The first
Christmas was about in 360 AD but the Christian Church fixed this day
of 25 December in 440 AD.
CHRISTMAS EVE is on the 24th of December. In England this is the day
for decorating. In the evening friends and families sometimes
go around in the neighbourhood and sing Christmas songs - carols - for
some egg-nog or hot drinks. Children hang their stockings on the
mantelpiece at the fireplace because Father Christmas (Santa Claus in
the USA) will come and fill them with presents. English Children also
leave some cookies and Brandy for Father Christmas and some carrots for
the reindeer. Then they go to sleep and find the presents next morning.
Father Christmas is a jolly old man with white hair, a beard and a
moustache. Nowadays he wears red coat but long ago he had a green or
white one. On the 24th of December he puts all the toys and presents
into his sleigh and rides across the sky with his reindeer. Then Father Christmas stops
on the housetops, comes down through the chimney at
midnight and puts the presents in the stockings near the fireplace or
under the Christmas Tree.
On the 25th of December it is CHRISTMAS DAY. Children
wake up very early in the morning and find the presents that Father Christmas
left for them. The family usually opens the presents together. In the
afternoon at three o'clock the English Queen gives her Christmas
Message to everyone on TV and radio. Then the families celebrate with a
big Christmas dinner with turkey and christmas pudding.
Christmas crackers are very popular on Christmas Day. It is a paper
tube with some small presents inside: a paper hat, sweets, a joke and a
small gift. Two children pull it at the two sides and when it snaps in
half it goes: Bang!
BOXING DAY is on the 26th of December. Long ago on this
day the richer people boxed up the leftover food and gave it to the
poor people. This was the day for giving presents and extra money for
the servants as well. Today English families travel and visit the
relatives if they couldn't spend the Christmas Day together. This is a
day for playing sports and board games. Traditionally this is the first
day of Christmas.
English people have TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31
December and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 January. On these days you mustn't work
(except for looking for animals). People usually visit the neighbours
some mince pie. The 6th of January is the time to take the decorations
down and the
end of Christmas holidays.