Christmas and its customs are intricately linked with England. Read on for more on English Christmas customs. (CHANGED)
Christmas has been commemorated in England for over a thousand years now. It turned up in England in 596 AD when St. Augustine, along with other monks, presented Christianity to the Anglo Saxons. More than 10 thousand people were baptized to the Christian faith then. England has a cold and beautiful white Christmas with sheets of snow covering the nation. Streets are decorated with lights and splendidly embellished Christmas trees. Birds chirping on the frosted branches and cats prowling the deep layers of snow invoke the spirit of Christmas in England. Friends and families get together to enjoy and share centuries old customizeds and customs of the joyful season. Traditional food, Christmas music and many other peculiar custom-mades are integral to Christmas in England. All this makes Christmas the most awaited time of the year. Go through the distinct English customs that make Christmas in England so pleasurable.
English Christmas Customs
Countdown to Christmas
The start of the Christmas season in England is known as ‘Development’. Arrival calendars are a countdown to Christmas and begin 4 Sundays before Christmas. The arrival calendar is the first sign of Christmas in English homes and uses a reason to anticipate Christmas Eve.
Individuals embellish their houses with lights during Christmas. Red and green are the common design colours where green represents the belief of immortality through Jesus Christ and red signifies the blood that Jesus shed for humanity. The conventional Christmas tree in England is the fir tree.
Evening carol services and midnight masses are old English traditions that are maintained even today. People go carol singing from one house to another to gather cash for charity. This singing starts from St Thomas day i.e. 21st December and lasts till Christmas day.
Mumming is one of the most popular English traditions which stem during the Middle Ages. It is when artists called mummers use masks and enact Christmas plays in towns or villages. The plays portray the struggle between great and wicked and are, in a way, based upon St. George and the dragon.
Friends and family position gifts for other family members under the Christmas tree. The gifts are opened in the afternoon, or after the supper banquet. Christmas stockings are an extremely standard part of English customs and coming in plenty of styles and colors, they are a present by themselves. Kids usually hang these stockings around your home for Santa to fill them up with goodies.
Food and festivals go hand in hand. Christmas supper is usually consumed midday and just a type of porridge, made from a corn called Frumenty, can be eaten before that. There are different type of dishes which are feasted on for dinner. Roasted turkey, sprouts, toffee puddings, plum puddings, mince pies, orange marmalade cake, chocolate Yule log and sauces, like cranberry sauce or Cumberland sauce, are a few dishes that embellish the English table. Wassail, an ale-based beverage, experienced with spices and honey has been related to Christmas because the 1400s. It is circulated in a bowl and signifies the passing-on of good dreams.
The day after Christmas, i.e. 26th December, is called Boxing Day. On this day, young boys walk around gathering money and open the box once it is full. The contents from this box are then offered to the bad.
This is how the English commemorate Christmas. Century old customs and customs are still an essential part of the culture. This is what makes the cold English Christmas so warm and bearable.