TIP: Stejně jako všude na našem webu, i zde máte možnost využívat náš slovníček. Stačí dvakrát kliknout na neznámé slovíčko v textu, počítač vám ho sám vyhledá a výsledek zobrazí. Tato funkce však bohužel nefunguje na prohlížeči Opera.
Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December in England, with a
Christmas dinner for the whole family on the Christmas eve or Christmas
The night of the 24th is just a quiet time which is usually spent
with the family and very close friends, talking and drinking mulled wine
and eating far too many sweets. The most important day is the 25th. This
is when it gets to the fun part - opening presents! Unfortunately we don't
get to see Santa Claus (we prefer calling him Father Christmas), because
he comes when everyone's asleep. But in return for his generosity, some
people leave out some biscuits and milk, or something stronger to keep the
merry rosy-cheeked chap nice and warm on his travels around the world.
A typical Christmas dinner
is dominated by the huge turkey. The turkey is
roasted and served with a lot of vegetables, like potatoes, turnips,
cauliflower and broccoli, with the choice of gravy, or mint or cranberry
sauce. It takes a lot of hours to prepare all of this, and even longer to
eat it. We are still eating turkey sandwiches two weeks after the
Christmas dinner... The dessert is, of course, the Christmas pudding
. It is
a sweet that has no expiry date, and becomes better with age, like cheese.
You eat it hot, with a lot of sweet sauce - custard.
Christmas dinners in
England HAVE to come with Christmas crackers
- they are tubes of cardboard
that look like sweets. Inside there is a crown-shaped hat, a little
souvenir, and a silly joke. To open them you need to pull the two ends
apart and that's when they should open with a little bang! Exciting.
Christmas day comes Boxing Day
. Don't worry, it is not related to the
sport; it is completely impossible to be aggressive after all that turkey
and mulled wine. Boxing day comes from the word "box". In the old days,
people went around to other people's houses on the day after Christmas
day, asking for leftover food, or money etc.
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. It is
traditional to send a lot of cards to all your possible friends, family,
colleagues and even people you don't really know very well. Because of the
fact that there are so many cards to write, very few people add personal
messages, so a standard card would read: "Dear X, Merry Christmas. Love,
Y." Writing cards is so important that I know some people who write all of
theirs the week after Christmas, ready for next year! I think that is a
bit much, myself.
are another big thing. They are
performances, usually by infant school kids, portraying the life of Jesus.
Children spend weeks learning their lines and terrorizing their parents to
make them their costumes. Christmas time is also time for pantomimes
plays like Cinderella. The pantomimes are very dramatic and there is a lot
of interaction with the audience. I don't like that because I'm shy. Other
people have a lot of fun going to these performances.
I prefer staying at
home and decorating my house. This is when some people go over the top and
become quite fanatical and competitive. There are lights, reindeer,
Santas, snowmen all displayed on and around the house. People try to make
a better display than their neighbour. I know two houses that have around
four thousand pounds worth of decorations on them every year. But this is
not as stupid as you might think, because they do it for charity. We go
there every year to look what's new.
Many of our Christmas customs began long before Jesus was born. They came
from earlier festivals which had nothing to do with the Christian church.
Long time ago people had mid-winter festivals when the days were shortest
and the sunlight weakest. They believed that their ceremonies would give
the sun back its power. The Romans, for example, held the festival of
Saturnlia around 25 December. They decorated their homes with evergreens
to remind them of Saturn, their harvest god, to return the following
Some of these customs and traditions were adopted by early Christians as
part of their celebrations of Jesus' birthday.
In Victorian times some new ideas such as Father Christmas, Christmas
cards and crackers were added to the celebrations.
New Year's Day
has not always been on 1st January. In Anglo-Saxon England
the year started on Christmas Day - 25th December. It has, at various
times, been: 1st March, 24th September and 25th March. New year is not as
important as Christmas. There are no strong traditions; what my family do
is just stay up until midnight, have a glass of champagne (in English
slang it's 'champers'), talk and dance for a bit and go to bed. The Queen
makes an announcement every year. It usually sums up what has happened
during this year and what might or should happen next year. A lot of
people watch the Queen's announcement.