Wednesday 26 December 2007

Christmas in the United Kingdom

The English Christmas celebrations include the beautiful Christmas music, decorated Christmas Trees and hang up evergreen branches. The English gift giver is called Father Christmas and he wears a long red or green robe, and leaves presents in stockings on Christmas Eve. However, the gifts are not usually opened until the following afternoon.

Christmas in England began in AD 596, when St Augustine landed on her shores with monks who wanted to bring Christianity to the Anglo Saxons. Father Christmas delivers them during the night before Christmas. The Children leave an empty stocking or pillowcase hanging at the end of the bed. In the morning they hope it will be full of presents.

In England the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day because boys used to go round collecting money in clay boxes. When the boxes were full, they broke them open. In England Christmas dinner was usually eaten at Midday on December 25, during daylight.

In England the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit.

The Christmas tree is central to England's holiday celebration and, although it had been seen in various places in England, it grew extremely popular when Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, brought the tradition to the Royal Family from his native Germany in the mid-nineteenth century. However, it has not entirely eclipsed the kissing bough (a mixture of evergreens and mistletoe).

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