|Рождество в Великобритании||Christmas In Great Britain|
Рождество, вероятно, самый любимый и долгожданный семейный праздник в Великобритании. Множество символов и традиций в стране связано именно с этим днем. Некоторые историки считают, что даже его дата символична, так как и в древности в этот день соблюдался важный языческий праздник – культ Солнца. Таким образом, празднование Рождества 25-го декабря, возможно, символизируют победу христианства над язычеством.
Christmas is probably the most loved and cherished family holiday in Great Britain. So many symbols and traditions in the country are connected precisely with this day. Some historians believe that even its date has a symbolic meaning as in ancient times this day used to be an important pagan holiday, observed by the Cult of Sun. Thus celebrating Christmas on the 25th of December might symbolize the victory of Christianity over paganism.
British people treat their Christmas traditions with love. They were the first to start decorating houses with holly, ivy and mistletoe. It was believed that holly scares away evil spirits and witches, while mistletoe was regarded by ancient Druids as a sacred plant and a symbol of eternal love. The Romans thought it was a symbol of peace. One of the most interesting traditions that originated in England is connected exactly with Mistletoe. British people believe that this plant is simply made for kissing under it. Whenever a young couple kisses under a branch of mistletoe, the boy plucks a berry. When berries are all gone, the couple stops kissing.
Another time-honored tradition in Britain is to burn a Yule log on Christmas days. However not all parts of the country observe this folk tradition. Its origin is unclear. All we know that this ritual was at some points observed by Vikings. The log was originally an entire tree which was carefully chosen a year before the actual holiday. It would dry up at first and then brought home and put into the fire heart with its largest end and lit from the previous years’ log remains. Today, everyone has central heating, so it’s not very popular to burn trees. However, the tradition exists in certain parts of Britain.
During the 19th century, British people started using Christmas tree as the symbol of natural beauty and eternity. The first ever tree with fancy decorations was put up in 1841 at Windsor. This was also the time when people started exchanging presentson Christmas. Earlier they did it on the New Year Night. From now on the gifts were neatly put into the Christmas stocking.
Christmas meal is another important component of traditional festivities. For centuries people of Britain served a special dish for Christmas known as Plum porridge, which was additionally flavored with raisins, almonds, prunes and honey. It was served while still hot. There is an interesting tradition connected with Christmas pudding. Four symbolic items are placed in it: a coin, a thimble, a button and a ring. Later, when the pudding is served every item found has certain meaning. The coin means a wealthy coming year, the thimble for girls means a single or unmarried life, the button for boys means a bachelor life, and at last the ring means a marriage.