Christmas day and onward : S2E2 The Twelve days of Chistmas, S2E3 Boxing Day and S2E4 Pantomime
The Twelve Days of Christmas song poster

Christmas day and onward : S2E2 The Twelve days of Chistmas, S2E3 Boxing Day and S2E4 Pantomime

Britisch Christmas and onward by Jane Forsyth.

S2E2 : The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Twelve days of Christmas

It is the old English tradition to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. These begin on Christmas Day, 25th December and end on 5th January.

I do not think many people could afford to do this nowadays!

One of the better-known British Christmas carols is called “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

I am sure that some of my French friends have fond memories of singing this carol in my home, with Chris, the choirmaster!

S2E3 : Boxing Day

The next day, the 26th December, the feast of St. Stephan, is Boxing Day, another day of holiday in Britain.

A modern tradition for this day is a cold swim in a nearby stretch of water! For the more sensible it is a day demanding a long, bracing walk in the cold, to burn off the calories of Christmas Day. This gives room for the feasting on Boxing Day, which is often of food left from the previous day.

A modern tradition for this day is a cold swim in a nearby stretch of water! For the more sensible it is a day demanding a long, bracing walk in the cold, to burn off the calories of Christmas Day. This gives room for the feasting on Boxing Day, which is often of food left from the previous day.

Boxing Day is a British tradition from around 1800. At that time gifts were given in boxes and not wrapped. On the day after Christmas  those people with servants would put gifts for their servants into their emptied boxes and then give the servants the rest of the day off. Those without servants, but with a little money would give their filled boxes to the poor nearby or to the Church, for distribution.

Sea more with  Discerning History : origins of Boxing Day 

Boxing Day is widely celebrated in countries that are part of the British Commonwealth. It’s origins are obscure, but they date back centuries.

S2 E4 : Pantomime

Christams Pantomine1890

 

One strange British custom is the Pantomime, which traditionally is played  on Boxing Day (or starts then, for a series in a professional theatre). Their origin lies is the tradition of mummers who performed plays in the halls of manor houses. They were moral tales where good defeated evil and performed by men only. Today’s pantomimes have women performing as men and men performing as women and follow  traditional stories, usually encouraging the audience to shout when they see some form of bad behaviour.

The morning of the final day of the year, 31st December, children are told to look out for a man with as many noses as there are days in the year. If they see him they can ask for an orange.

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