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How do the British celebrate traditional and religious holidays?
Christmas Day In Britain, Christmas Day is normally spent at home, with the family, and it is regarded as a celebration of the family and its continuity. Preparations start well in advance, with the sending of Christmas tree in a prominent place in the home. Although it is now a firmly established tradition, the Christmas tree was first popularized by Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, who introduced the custom from his native Germany in 1840. Some houses are decorated with evergreens (plants which do not lose their leaves in winter); a wreath of holly on front door and garlands of holly, ivy and fir indoors. Bunches of mistletoe are often hung above doorways- – any couple passing underneath must exchange kisses!
Traditional food is prepared: sweet mince pies, a rich Christmas cake and the Christmas pudding. Everyone has their own favorite recipe, but they're all packed full of spices, a rich Christmas cake and the Christmas pudding. Everyone has their own favorite recipe, but they're all packed full of spices, nuts, fruit and brandy. Present are bought and wrapped, and wrapped, and traditionally placed under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Christmas is both a secular and a religious holyday, and many families like to attend a midnight service at church on Christmas Eve, or celebrate Christmas in church on Christmas morning. The excitement begin for children on Christmas Eve, when they hang up their stockings (an old sock or, more ambitiously, pillow cases) around the fireplace or at the foot of the bed for Father Christmas to fill with presents. Te English Father Christmas or Santa Claus is first recorded in his traditional red and white outfit in a woodcut of 1653, but the story of Santa arriving in his reindeer-drawn sleigh and descending down the chimney to fill children's stockings with presents derives from the United Stats. Practically everyone sits down to a Christmas dinner in the early afternoon of Christmas Day, traditionally roast turkey, but some
families prefer goose or roast beef. The turkey is followed by the Christmas pudding, then lit. The day ends with everyone relaxing, watching television, playing games or just falling asleep.
New Year New Year is often launched with a party- either at home with family and friends or a Gathering in the local pubs and clubs. Merrymaking begins on New Year's Eve and builds up to midnight. The stroke of midnight is the cue for much cheering, hooting, whistling, kissing and the drinking of toasts. Tradition has it that the first person over the threshold on New Year's Day will dictate the luck brought to the household in the coming year. This is known as First Footing. At midnight on 3 1 December, particularly in Scotland and northern England, ‘first footers’ (traditionally a tall, dark, good-looking man) step over the threshold bringing the New Year's Luck. The first footer usually brings a piece of coal, a loaf and a bottle of whisky. On entering he must place the fuel on the fire, put the loaf on the table and pour a glass for the head of the house, all normally without speaking or being spoken to until he wishes everyone ‘A Happy New Year’. He must, of course, enter by the front door and leave by the back.
In Wales the back door is opened to release the Old Year at the first stroke of midnight. It is then locked up to ‘keep the luck in’ and at the last stroke the New Year is let in at the front door. In Scotland the New Year remains the greatest of all annual festivals. Called ‘Hogmanay’ (a word whose mean i has never been satisfactorily established), it's marked by an evening of drinking and merrymaking, culminating at the stroke of midnight when huge gatherings of people at Edinburgh's Tron Kirk and Glasgow's George Square greet the New Year by linking arms and singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
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