In Britain, the sparkling eyes of children are what can catch your eye, if you visit the country around Christmas. Planning for this grand festival begins before the commencement of December; it includes food discussions with the family, collecting decorative items, cleaning houses, organizing gifts, baking pies and sending Christmas cards across to families and friends. A fact that most of the people don't know is that Christmas cards were first created in 1840 in this country itself and since then, have become an inevitable part of Christmas celebrations throughout the world. The essence of love among people is regenerated through the goodness of the occasion and even the family members living abroad are not left untouched of the warmth. Read on to know more on how Christmas is celebrated in Great Britain. If you are looking to be a part of Christmas celebrations that are a perfect fusion of 'modern' and 'traditional', Great Britain is where you should be heading.
Heart Throbbing Feast
Arrangements for the much sought after Christmas feast is done until the meal is ready to be consumed. The table seems extremely tempting and is gorgeously decorated with fruits and candles. The Christmas pudding must contain thirteen ingredients, of which, one is for Jesus and the rest for the twelve disciples. A silver coin is dropped in the pudding mix which is meant to bring prosperity and good luck to the family. Turkey, served with cranberry sauce, and potatoes are the centre of attraction of the entire feast. The Christmas pudding must have a holly placed on top of it.
Children of Great Britain write letters to Father Christmas, believing that the letters would float up the chimney and fly across to the North Pole and deliver the message. No wonder then that they get excited and place their stockings beside the fireplace so that Santa Clause can place their gifts in them. These are unwrapped on Christmas morning. Children also place a glass of sherry with a mincemeat tart as thanks to Santa for bringing presents. People usually give each other poinsettia plants as the red and white petals of this flower are said to represent the purity of Christ's blood.
After a heavy meal, all members of the family watch the customary Christmas special speech by the British Monarch. In the evening, people pay visits to their relatives around Britain. Certain churches have services in which every child is given a candle wrapped in a red ribbon. These candles represent Jesus Christ and the red ribbons symbolize the blood of Jesus and the God's love for the entire world.
Brightly Lit Christmas Trees
The brightly shining Christmas trees on the eve of Christmas make for a great view. The trees are decorated with candies, cookies and bulbs and are taken down only twelve days after Christmas. The tradition of Christmas trees can be traced down to Prince Albert who brought this tradition, all the way from Germany, to the kingdom of Queen Victoria, who was then his spouse.
A Change In Ancient Traditions
This festival is all about culture and customs. However, not all traditions observed in the country are old. For example, roasted turkey, with Brussel sprouts and gravy, is the main attraction of the English Christmas feast in the twentieth century while it wasn't so in the nineteenth century. In those days, goose was considered the traditional meat for Christmas. This implies that the traditions aren't really sacrosanct; they do change over time.
Read about Christmas and its traditions in Great Britain and British Christmas customs.