domingo, 8 de noviembre de 2009

1st NOVEMBER All Saints' Day.

In the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints. This feast day is called All Saints' Day.

All Hallows

All Saints' Day used to be known as All Hallows (Hallow being an old word meaning Saint or Holy Person). The feast day actually started the previous evening, the Eve of All Hallows or Hallowe'en.

Christians remember all the saints

On Saints' Day, Christians remember all 'men of good will' (saints), great ones and forgotten ones, who have died through the ages.

Saints are men and women from all ages and all walks of life, who were outstanding Christians. Some - the martyrs - died for their faith. All of them are honoured by the church.


All Saints' Day, together with All Souls' Day are know collectively as Hallowtide.

2nd NOVEMBER All Souls' Day.

On All Souls' Day the Roman Catholic Church remembers all those who have died - not just the great and the good, but ordinary man-in-the-street. Families visit graves with bunches of flowers and in church the names of the dead may be read out on request. In some parts of the country, All Souls' Day ends with a play or some songs.

All Souls' Day Superstition

It was believed that All Souls' night when the dead revisited their homes, so lit candles were left out to guide them and meals and wine were left as refreshment.

NOVEMBER Guy Fawkes Day ( Bonfire Night)

Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot

4th Thursday in Nov. Thanksgiving – USA, commemorates the Pilgrim Father’s first harvest.

Mischief Night (UK)
The 4 November is known as Mischief Night in some parts of the country. This was the night when all sorts of naughty things were done - the main idea being to put things in the wrong place.

11 NOVEMBER Remembrance Day in Britain

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month marks the signing of the Armistice, on 11th November 1918, to signal the end of World War One.

At 11 am on 11 November 1918 the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years continuous warfare

Remembrance Day is on 11 November. It is a special day set aside to remember all those men and women who were killed during the two World Wars and other conflicts. At one time the day was known as Armistice Day and was renamed Remembrance Day after the Second World War.

Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November, which is usually the Sunday nearest to 11 November. Special services are held at war memorials and churches all over Britain.

30 November - The national day of Scotland’s is St Andrew's Day

St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland.

Not an official holiday

1 DECEMBER Advent - the church season that leads to Christmas Day.

Advent is the time when Christians remember that Jesus came into the world in Palestine 2000 years ago and that Jesus also promised one day to return in all His glory.

Advent Calendars
The first sign of Christmas in a British home is the children's advent calendar. It starts on the first day of December. The calendars are a fun way to help children to know when Christmas Eve will arrive, an important night for them because Father Christmas will visit them bringing gifts.

An Advent calendar is a poster or card with twenty-four small doors, one to be opened each day from December 1 until Christmas Eve. Each door conceals a picture. Every morning children open 1 window of the calendar to see a pretty picture or find a chocolate inside.

This popular tradition arose in Germany in the late 1800s and soon spread throughout Europe and North America. Originally, the images in Advent calendars were derived from the Hebrew Bible.

Many Advent calendars today have no religious content. Now, alongside traditional Advent calendars depicting angels and biblical figures are those whose doors open to display teddy bears, pieces of chocolate, or photos of pop stars.

24 DECEMBER Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve (December 24) is traditionally the day for decorating churches and homes. It marks the beginning of the period formally known as Christmas-tide.

Christmas traditionally started at sunset on December 24. Our ancient ancestors considered this to be Christmas Evening (or Christmas Eve).

Night time on Christmas Eve is a very exciting time for young children. It is the time when Father Christmas (Santa) comes.

The children leave mince pies and brandy for Father Christmas, and a carrot for the reindeer.
From 1870 children have hung up Christmas stockings at the ends of their beds or along the mantelpiece above the fireplace. Today, children still hang Christmas stockings or bags up ready for Father Christmas, who will hopefully fill them up with presents, if the children have been good. The children then go to sleep and wait for Christmas morning to see if he has been.

Father Christmas once dropped some gold coins while coming down the chimney. The coins would have fallen through the ash grate and been lost if they hadn't landed in a stocking that had been hung out to dry. Since that time children have continued to hang out stockings in hopes of finding them filled with gifts.

Christians go to a special carol service at their church on Christmas Eve night. There are usually two carols services. The first one is for children and may be a candle lit service where the congregation hold a candle each whilst they sing Christmas songs (carols) and watch a performed by children. The second one is closer to midnight (called Midnight Mass), so that people can welcome Christmas Day in and rejoice in the coming of our Lord.

Christmas Eve Superstitions:

An old wives' tale says that bread baked on Christmas Eve will never go mouldy.
At midnight, a certain rose slowly opens and re-closes its petals to salute the birthday of Jesus.
Also at midnight, all the sheep in the fields turn and bow towards the East.

25 DECEMBER Christmas Day
(Public Holiday)

Every year in December we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. That is why we call this time of year 'Christmas' - we celebrate the 'Mass', or church service, for Christ.

The word Christmas (or Christ's Mass) comes from the Old English name Cristes Maesse - Christ's Mass - and is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The first recorded observance occurred in Rome in AD360, but it wasn't until AD440 that the Christian Church fixed a celebration date of 25 December.

Christmas is a truly magical season, bringing families and friends together to share the much loved customs and traditions which have been around for centuries. Most people are on holiday in England and stay at home with their family on Christmas day.

Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December in England, with a Christmas dinner for the whole family.

During the weeks before Christmas Day, we send cards, watch nativity plays and go to carol services. We also decorate our homes and churches with green leaves, paper decorations and colourful electric lights.

This is the favourite day for children. They wake up very early in the morning to find their stockings have been filled by Father Christmas and excitedly unwrap the presents before going down to breakfast.Family presents are opened either late morning or during the afternoon. The family gather together to open the presents found under the Christmas tree

Church Services: Many people will go to church to sing carols and to celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day. More people attend the church on this day than any other day of the year. People put on their best clothes to go to church.

Christmas Dinner: The whole family sit down for Christmas dinner at mid-day

The Queen's Speech: A traditional feature of Christmas afternoon is the Queen's Christmas Message. At three o'clock in the afternoon, the Queen gives her Christmas Message to the nation which is broadcast on radio and television.

December Superstitions

"Marry on December third
For all the grief you ever heard "

A Christmas pudding should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and His Disciples and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the Wise Men.

If you take a candle to church this Christmas, don't bring it home, blow it out and leave it there with the vicar for good luck.

"On Christmas Eve all animals can speak."
However, it is bad luck to test this superstition.

"The child born on Christmas Day will have a special fortune."

"Wearing new shoes on Christmas Day will bring bad luck."

"Good luck will come to the home where a fire is kept burning throughout the Christmas season. "

If a girl raps at the henhouse door on Christmas Eve and a rooster crows, she will marry within the year.

How much do you know about Christmas?

26 DECEMBER Boxing Day (28 DECEMBER 2009 Substitute Bank Holiday in lieu of 26th Dec because 26th falls at the weekend)
(Bank Holiday)

Boxing Day is usually on 26 December in the United Kingdom, Canada and some other Commonwealth countries. The day after Christmas Day is also known as St Stephen's Day or the Feast of Stephen as mentioned in the carol 'Good King Wenceslas'.

The origins of Boxing Day are uncertain. The name could have come about from the custom of priests opening alms boxes in churches after Christmas. These held money which had been given for needy people in the days coming up to Christmas. Another story of how it began is from the tradition of employers and wealthy people giving their servants and trades people Christmas boxes (gifts) as a way of saying thank you for good service throughout the year.

DECEMBER Holy Innocents Day - Childermass

Holy Innocents Day, also known as Childermas, falls on 28 December. It commemorates King Herod's massacre of all male infants in and around Bethlehem under the age of two in attempt to kill the young Christ.

In the days when Christmas was less child-centred, Childermas was a time for indulging children with treats and parties.


On a more sombre note, 28 December is widely regarded as the unluckiest day of the year, so don't do anything and certainly don't start anything on this day

Christmas Activities

DECEMBER New Year's Eve

31st December is the last day of the year. It is New Year's Eve. Many people see the old year out with a party, welcoming in the New Year with toasts of champagne, and exchanging good wishes for a 'Happy New Year'. This celebration is particularly dear to the Scots. They call it Hogmanay.

All over Britain there are parties, fireworks, singing and dancing, to ring out the old year and ring in the new. As the clock - Big Ben - strikes midnight, people link arms and sing a song called 'Auld Lang Syne'. It reminds them of old and new friends.

Bank Holiday = a day off school and work.

New Year's Day (1 January 2010)
(Bank holiday)

New Year's Day is the first day of the year, in the Gregorian calendar. In modern times, it is January 1. It is a time for looking forward and wishing for a good year ahead. It is also a holiday.

People welcome in the New Year on the night before. This is called New Year's Eve. In Scotland, people celebrate with a lively festival called Hogmanay. All over Britain there are parties, fireworks, singing and dancing, to ring out the old year and ring in the new. As the clock - Big Ben - strikes midnight, people link arms and sing a song called Auld Lang Syne. It reminds them of old and new friends.

The Door Custom

In the old days, the New Year started with a custom called 'first footing', which was suppose to bring good luck to people for the coming year. As soon as midnight had passed and January 1st had started, people used to wait behind their doors for a dark haired person to arrive. The visitor carried a piece of coal, some bread, some money and some greenery. These were all for good luck - the coal to make sure that the house would always be warm, the bread to make sure everyone in the house would have enough food to eat, money so that they would have enough money, and the greenery to make sure that they had a long life.

The visitor would then take a pan of dust or ashes out of the house with him, thus signifying the departure of the old year.

It was an old Saxon belief that 2nd January was one of the unluckiest days of the whole year. Those unfortunate enough to be born on this day could expect to dies an unpleasant death.

5 - 6 January

Twelfth Night (5th January) is when all Christmas Decorations should be removed so as not to bring bad luck upon the home. If decorations are not removed on Twelfth Night, they should stay up all year.

Twelfth Day is the last day of Christmas season. In the Church of England, the Christmas season begins at Evening Prayer on Christmas Eve.

Twelfth Day, as its name tells us, is the sixth of January - just twelve days after Christmas Day.

In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing "reveal" Jesus to the world as Lord and King. In some eastern churches, Epiphany commemorates Jesus’ baptism, with the visit of the Magi linked to Christmas.

Many places throughout the UK carry out the Twelfth Night tradition called "Wassailing." On Twelfth Night a lot of people gather to drink to apple trees and to each others health

11 JANUARY 2010 Plough Monday

The first Monday after Twelfth Night is Plough Monday, a day when ploughmen traditionally blackened their faces and marked the end of the Christmas period for the agricultural communities.

Molly Dancers

Molly dancing is most commonly performed on or around Plough Monday.

In the past, Molly dancers sometimes accompanied the farm labourers to dance and entertain for money. They blackened their faces with soot to disguise themselves so they could not be recognised by their future employers.

2 FEBRUARY Candlemas Day (the Christian festival of lights )

2nd February is Candlemas Day. This ancient festival marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. In olden times, many people used to say that the Christmas season lasted for forty days - until the second day of February.

Candles were important in those days not only because there was no electric lights. Some people thought they gave protection against plague and illness and famine. For Christians, they were (and still are) a reminder of something even more important. Before Jesus came to earth, it was as if everyone was 'in the dark'. People often felt lost and lonely. Afraid. As if they were on their own, with no one to help them. Then came Jesus with his message that he is with his followers always ready to help and comfort them. As if he is a guiding light to them in the darkness. Christians often talk of Jesus as 'the light of the World' - and candles are lit during church services to remind Christians of this.

Traditional games played in February

Shrove Tuesday marks forty days before Easter. The forty days are supposed to be a time of quietness and fasting. Shrove Tuesday (sometimes called Mischief Day) was the last day before Lent, so it was the last day for fun and food for a long time.

A special game of football is a played in February. It is played differently from the game our country is well known for. This game of football has no rules and is played on Shrove Tuesday. In some villages and towns traffic would be stopped and all the men would come out into the street at a set time. The church bell would ring and a football would be thrown into the crowd and the biggest ever football game was played. This game is still played in some places in England.

Skipping is also a traditional Shrove Tuesday game.


Valentine's Day (Saint Valentine's Day) is an occasion celebrated on February 14. It is the traditional day on which people express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, presenting flowers, or offering confectionery.

Valentine's Day Superstitions & Traditions

Traditionally, spring begins on St Valentine's Day (February 14th), the day on which birds chose their mates. In parts of Sussex Valentines Day was called 'the Birds' Wedding Day'.

There are many other traditions and superstitions associated with romance activities on Valentine's day including:

•the first man an unmarried woman saw on 14th February would be her future husband;
•if the names of all a girl's suitors were written on paper and wrapped in clay and the clay put into water, the piece that rose to the surface first would contain the name of her husband-to-be.
•if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a rich person.
•In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week.
•In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"

16 FEBRUARY - Shrove Tuesday 2010 - Last day of Carnival.(Mardi Gras)

The day before Lent begins. It is traditional on this day to eat pancakes.Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March.

The name Shrove comes from the old word "shrive" which means to confess. On Shrove Tuesday, in the Middle Ages, people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began.

A pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of batter and fried in a pan.

17 FEBRUARY Ash Wednesday . Lent begins

Ash Wednesday is a Christian festival. It marks the beginning of six and a half weeks of repentance, fasting and abstinence in preparation for the most important Christian festival of Easter.

1 March - The national day of Wales is St David's Day.

St David is Wales's patron saint.

Not an official holiday

14 MARCH 2010 Mother's Day

When is Mothering Sunday (Mother's Day)?

Mothering Sunday (Mother's Day) is always the fourth Sunday of Lent.

2010 Mothering Sunday in UK in 2010 - 14 March
(Mother's Day in US in 2010 - 9 May)

Mothering Sunday is not a fixed day because it is always the middle Sunday in Lent (which lasts from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter Sunday). This means that Mother's Day in the UK will fall on different dates each year and sometimes even fall in different months.

Mothering Sunday has been celebrated in the UK on the fourth Sunday in Lent since at least the 16th century.

17 March - The national day of Northern Ireland is St Patrick's Day.

St Patrick is Ireland's patron Saint

Not an official holiday


It is commonly believed that that April Fool came about because of the change of calendars. In 1582, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar called the Gregorian calendar which is the calendar we still use today.

The new calendar was introduced because the old calendar, called the Julian calendar, was ahead by ten days because each year was a little too long. Gregory moved the new calendar forward by ten days.

Britain didn't accept the new calendar until 1752.

In the Julian calendar, the old calendar, New Year was celebrated from March 25th to April 1st. The first day of the Gregorian calendar is January 1st.

In France, people were forgetful and other people refused to accept the new calendar, so they still celebrated New Year on April 1st. Other people would play tricks on them and call them April Fools.

April fooling became popular in England and Scotland during the 1700s.

April Fool Jokes
April Fool jokes usually involve persuading someone to do something silly, like looking for hen's teeth, striped paint, a long weight, a left-handed screwdriver or some other non-existent thing.

However, you can only play April Fools on people before midday –at midday the fun must stop or the trickster is told:

'April Fool's Day is past and gone,
Your 're the fool and I am none.'

Good Friday
(Public Holiday)

On Good Friday, Christians remember the day when Jesus was crucified on a cross.

Easter Monday (5 April 2010)
(Bank Holiday)

Egg rolling

Egg rolling is very popular in England and the rest of the UK and is an Easter Monday sport. Hard-boiled eggs are rolled down a hill. Customs differ from place to place. The winner's egg may be the one that rolls the farthest, survives the most rolls, or is rolled between two pegs.

Biddenden Dole

Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking

At Hallaton in Leicestershire, the Hare Pie Scramble and Bottle Kicking, an unruly rugby game between the village of Hallaton and Medbourne, takes place every Easter Monday. Hallaton is picturesque village with lots of old thatched cottages and set in beautiful countryside.

Small wooden barrels filled with ale are used as rugby balls in the no-holds barrel contest, the object of which is to get each of the three casks to a touchline in either village.

The game

Two teams fight over three small beer barrels, in an attempt to get each barrel across the stream in their village by any means possible. The two teams are the Hallaton team, made up exclusively of villagers, and the Medbourne team, open to anyone.

The Hallaton side try to get the barrels down the hill and over the stream behind the Bewick Arms, whilst the Medbourne team try to get the barrels over the fields for a mile or so towards their village.

The game is played as a best of three with one barrel in playat a time. It is a very tough contest that can last for hours, crossing numerous hedges, lanes, ditches and even barbed wire to reach their touchlines.

23 APRIL St George's Day

St. George's Day is on 23 April. It is England's national day.

St. George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George's emblem was adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king's soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.

Early May Bank Holiday (3 May 2010)
(First Monday in May)

Spring Bank Holiday (31 May 2010)
(Last Monday in May)

Summer Bank Holiday (30 Aug 2010)
(Last Monday in August)

2nd - 6th SEPTEMBER 1666 The Great Fire of London raged for four days - destroying more than 13,000 houses and almost 100 churches - including St Paul's Cathedral. A total of 6 people are killed.

14th OCTOBER 1066 The Battle of Hastings

(or Battle of Senlac Hill) on the southern coast of England. An English army, commanded by King Harold, is defeated by the invasion force of William of Normandy. King Harold is killed and William'The Conqueror' is proclaimed King of England.

21st OCTOBER 1805 The Battle of Trafalgar

A British fleet under Admiral Horatio Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off the coast of Spain. At the height of the engagement on October 21, Nelson was mortally wounded while pacing the quarterdeck of the HMS Victory. He died a few hours later, and his body was solemnly brought back to England for burial. In London, a column was erected to his memory in the newly named Trafalgar Square.

OCTOBER Halloween (Eve of All Hallows)

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