The History of England

from Celts through 20th century

Archives for the ‘Customs + Festivals’ Category

The British Habits and Ways or Holidays

Category: Customs + Festivals

There are not many official holidays in the UK. They are called bank holidays because the banks are closed and the people do not work. The British bank holidays are New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Summer Bank Holiday, Christmas Day (25th December) and Boxing Day (26th December). The […]

Highland Dress

Category: Customs + Festivals

The old Highland dress has changed very little. The coat or jacket was sometimes of green, blue or black cloth. But the arrangements of the belted plaid were of the greatest importance in the toilet of a Highlandman of fashion. It was fastened across the breast by a large silver bodkin or circular brooch often […]

Patron Saints

Category: Customs + Festivals

The patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland are to be seen in large mosaics displayed over the four doorways leading out of the Central Lobby in the Houses of Parliament. The mosaic panel over the south door, represents St George, the patron saint of England and of the Order of the Garter, with […]

The Rose – The Thistle – The Leek – The Shamrock

Category: Customs + Festivals

The Rose The red rose was the emblem of the Lancastrians, the white rose that of the Yorkists, the two contending Houses for the English throne in the Wars of the Roses (1455-85). All rivalry betweeri the Roses ended by the marriage of Henry VII, the Lancastrian with Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV, the […]

The Boat Race

Category: Customs + Festivals

With the exception of the F. A. Cup,* there is no sporting event in Britain enjoying greater popular attraction than the boat race. This is one event that is amateur in the truest sense, with no cups, medals or other tangible prizes, the only reward being the satisfaction and pride of having had a part […]

The Veteran Car Run

Category: Customs + Festivals

When the veteran cars set out on the London-Brighton run each November, they are celebrating one of the great landmarks in the history of motoring in Britain — the abolition of the rule that every “horseless сarriage’’ had to be preceded along the road by a pedestrian. This extremely irksome restriction, imposed by the Locomotives […]

April Fools Day

Category: Customs + Festivals

Funnily enough, April Fool’s Day is linked with the whole marvellous business of spring, the Vernal Equinox and the return of the sun and warmth. In Scotland an old name for April Fool is Aprjl-gowk or -cuckoo. For some reason the cuckoo is a symbol for daftness. The return of the cuckoo and the arrival […]


Category: Customs + Festivals

Disregarding all the news of the press, handbills, posters, loudspeakers, radio and television many towns and smaller localities still cling to their official town criers for certain announcements. Town criers from all parts of the country gather at Hastings, Sussex, in August in hope of carrying off the greatly coveted National Town Criers’ Championship. For […]

New Year in Great Britain

Category: Customs + Festivals

The celebration of New Year’s Eve is one of the oldest rites known to man. Even in primitive, ancient societies some sort of New Year ritual was celebrated, and the celebrations were surprisingly similar to our own — composed of about equal parts noise, song and hard drink. With the rise of Christianity the merriment […]


Category: Customs + Festivals

Christmas (shortened: Xmas) is an annual church festival kept on December 25. It is a day of special gifts and greetings. The usual salutation is: “A merry Christmas to you,’’ and the reply: “The same to you.’’ There is a custom amongst English children of hanging up their stockings at the foot of their bed […]

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