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The Holidays in Great Britain
By Sharon White

The word “holyday” comes from the words “holy day”. In present day Britain beside religious festivals (such as Easter, Christmas, Whitsun) there are many other holidays that have nothing to do with religion. There are festivals honoring important historical events of reflecting certain traditions of the country. Official public holidays in Britain are called bank holidays because all banks are closed as well as most factories, offices and shops. All the bank holidays (except New Years’ Day, Christmas and Boxing Day) are movable. They don’t fall on the same date each year. At present the following days are bank holidays in Great Britain: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring bank holiday (the last Monday in May), Summer bank holiday often known as the August Bank Holiday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


For most British families the Christmas period is the only time when all the members of the family gather together. This day people feel the importance of the family, and most young people, living apart from their parents, still spend Christmas with the family. The holiday is celebrated on the 25th of December. Although Christmas – celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ – is a religious festival, for most British people this holiday means traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, Christmas pudding and mince pies; exchanging presents and watching special Christmas programmes on TV. Decorating a house with evergreens at Christmas is very old custom. Traditionally mistletoe is hung from the ceiling for people to kiss under. Holly is another well known Christmas decoration. There’s a legend that Christ wore a crown of holly thorns before his death. A traditional feature of Christmas is the Christmas tree. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert popularized this German tradition in Britain. Now most families buy a small fir-tree to decorate and put it in their homes at Christmas.

Boxing Day

This day is celebrated on the 26th of December- on the day following Christmas. It was formerly the custom to give “Christmas boxes”, or gifts of money, to servants and tradesmen on this day. Today many people still give an annual Christmas gift to regular callers such as dustmen and paperboys. This is also a day for visiting friends and relatives and giving them presets.


It is the most important Christian festival with its central day Sunday (Easter day) falling between 22 March and 25 April. Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Many British people who never usually go to church attend a service on Easter morning. For non-religious British people Easter is an occasion for the exchange of Easter eggs. The egg may that of a hen with a painted or decorated shell, or made of chocolate. Easter eggs symbolize the birth of a new life and the coming spring. The day after Easter Day, Easter Monday is also a public holiday.


Halloween is celebrated on October r, 31. It was originally a pagan festival of remembrance for the end of the old year and of communion with the dead (it falls on All Soul’s Eve). Some people in Britain feel uneasy about Halloween. It is celebrated principally by children who enjoy the frightening atmosphere created by make-up, masks and costumes on the theme of ghosts, witches and skeletons.

In the 1990s many schools banned the Halloween celebration, because of the pressure from parents who believed the festival was connected with black magic and because it encouraged children to go out at night unsupervised.

Guy Fawkes’ Night

On the night of November 5th, people usually gather for lighting bonfires and burning crude model of Guy Fawkes. Guy Fawkes (1570-1606) was one of the Roman Catholic conspirators and under torture revealed the names of the other conspirators. The model is made of old clothes with straw, paper, leaves etc., and burned on top of a bonfire on Guy Fawkes’ Night. The occasion is usually accompanied by a supper or a barbeque in gardens.

Poppy Day

Poppy day is celebrated on Sunday nearest to the 11ht of November and also known as Remembrance Sunday. This day people wear an artificial poppy in memory of those who fell in the two world wars. In the First World War many British soldiers were killed in battle in the wheat fields of Flanders which had poppies growing on them. So poppies symbolize the soldiers who were killed at wars. Poppies are made by ex-servicemen and are sold by representatives of the Royal British Legion. All over the country ceremonies are held to remember those who died fighting for their country.

The article was produced by the member of Sharon White has many years of a vast experience in Essay Writing and custom essays writing consulting. Get free samples of essays and courseworks and buy essays.

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