Christmas traditions

Christmas traditions in the United Kingdom

On these dates, we always like to dedicate a post to Christmas traditions. We already talked about celebrations in Spain and now, it is the turn for Christmas in the UK.

The madness for buying presents starts much earlier than in Spain because in the UK all presents are brought by Santa the night on the night of 24th December. Food preparation for Christmas Eve also starts quite early, especially the desserts. Christmas cake can take up to 6 weeks to complete the preparation because all the ingredients must be soaked in brandy and the cake stored for several weeks in order to get the proper flavour.

Edinburgh at Christmas - Panoramic view
© Digital Triangle Creative Ltd

As well as the 24th and 25th December, normally the 26th is also a day off in the UK. Known as Boxing Day, this name refers to the Christmas box that servants received from their master in old times. That was also a day off to spend with their families. Nowadays, the name still makes sense if you have a look at the bins days after Christmas.

The next big celebration is New Year´s Eve. In the case of Scotland, this day is known as Hogmanay. In Edinburgh, everybody gathers at midnight in Princes St. Gardens, defying the cold temperatures to celebrate the New Year with fireworks and concerts. In the old times, if you wanted to have a wealthy year and bring good luck, the first person that enters your house should be a tall, handsome and dark-haired man with a piece of coal in his hands.

Hogmanay celebrations - New Year
Hogmanay by Steffi Rettinger

But, if there is something that I especially love from the British Christmas traditions, it is the Pantomimes. These are plays of classic tales for children such us “Snowhite”, “The Beauty and the Beast” or “Cinderella”. In these performances, there are lots of hilarious jokes for the adult audience, usually local jokes and criticism about politics, football or whatever was in the news over the last year. This clever balance makes the Panto a perfect show for all the family and both, children and adults enjoy themselves together on these special dates.

If you want to experience the Christmas atmosphere and practice English, you can join our language immersion programmes in Edinburgh. Merry Christmas!

Author Info

Adrián Lago

I am a journalist and a Spanish teacher. I am passionate about travelling and learning other languages and I always try to relay this to my students.

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