The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country located off the north-western coast of Europe. It has a very long history and many interesting customs. Some of their traditions go back in time to the time of the Celts. Are you ready to discover the United Kingdom’s most famous customs and traditions?
Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve is an ancient festival that derives from Samhain, the Celts’ celebration of New Year. It is said that during this night spirits and witches roam free. The Celts dressed in furs in order to frighten the ghosts.
2. Twelfth Night
The Twelfth Night is a celebration in honor of the New Year. It takes place every year in London, near the Globe Theater.
3. The Straw Bear festival
One of the most curios English traditions is the Straw bear festival where men dressed in straw clothes parade down the streets.
4. Wassailing the Apple Tree
Wassailing the Apple Tree is a very old custom that takes place in January. During this day cake and cider is offered to the guardian of the orchard.
5. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
In Scotland, when the clock strikes midnight, everyone joins hands and starts singing Auld Lang Syne. In this way they welcome the New Year.
6. Saint Valentine’s Day
This celebration dates back to the Roman Empire. The day is dedicated to Saint Valentine. During this day people send cards to the ones they love.
7. Imbolc Fire Festival
The Imbolc Fire Festival is another celebration with Celtic roots. This one heralds the coming of spring. It is celebrated with lanterns and fire jugglers.
8. Pancake Day
Pancake Day takes place in March, in the last day before Lent. Pancake races take place, where people have to flip pancakes in the air and catch them again in their pans, while running.
During Easter, a common custom in the United Kingdom is to gift others chocolate eggs that are wrapped in silver paper.
10. World Coal Carrying Championship
The World Coal Carrying Championship is a race that takes place in Yorkshire. Contestants have to run for one mile. During their run they have to carry a 50 kg bag of coal.
11. May Day
May Day is a pagan festival. People from the United Kingdom celebrate the end of winter and welcome spring. During this celebration children dance around the maypole and sing songs.
12 . Sweeps Festival
The Sweeps Festival takes place in Kent. Traditionally Chimney Sweeps welcomed the summer and started cleaning the dirty chimneys.
13. Cheese Rolling
In May, the cheese rolling competition takes place in Gloucestershire.
14. Midsummer Day
Midsummer Day takes place on the 24th of June. In the United Kingdom people stay up until midnight to welcome Midsummer.
15. Trooping the color
The second Saturday in June is the celebration of the Queen’s official birthday. Military music echoes everywhere. There are also lots of marches taking place.
16. Dickens Festival
The Dickens Festival takes place in June in order to celebrate the life and work of the famous author.
17. Saint Swithin’s Day
Saint Swithin was the Bishop of Winchester. It is said that if it rains during this celebration, forty days of bad weather will follow.
18. Scarecrow Festival
The Scarecrow Festival is a very popular tradition in the United Kingdom. It takes place in mid-August. Life-sized scarecrows are made by the village people and displayed in plain sight.
19. Notting Hill Carnival
Another celebration that takes place in August is the Notting Hill Carnival. People dress in costumes and bands play African music.
20. The Horn Dance
The Horn Dance is an annual tradition. It is performed by six Deer-men that wear reindeer antlers.
21. Pearly King Harvest Festival
The Pearly King Harvest Festival started in the 19th century when a young boy, wearing a suit with pearly buttons tried to raise money for the poor. The boy became known as the Pearly King and the tradition spread in the whole country.
22. Punky Night
During Punky Night children carve pumpkins and compete over who has the best carved pumpkin. They also roam the streets, singing punky song.
During the 1st and 2nd of November children from the United Kingdom carry soul cakes from one door to another. The owners of the houses take the cakes and give the children pennies. The event is meant to bring good luck to both parties.
24. Bonfire Night ( Guy Fawkes Night )
During the 5th of November people make models of Guy Fawkes, the man who tried to blow up the Parliament, and burn them on huge bonfires.
25. Turning the Devil’s Stone
Another custom that takes place on Guy Fawkes Night is the turning of the devil’s stone. People from Devon turn over a six feet long stone, which stands under an ancient oak tree. It is said that this stone was dropped by the Devil when he was cast out of Heaven.
26. Tar-Barrel Racing
A custom originating from the 17th century is the Tar-Barrel Race that takes place in Devon. During this event people race down the streets and carry flaming wooden barrels of burning tar on their backs.
27. Mummers Plays
This is one of the oldest surviving Christmas traditions. This tradition is over a thousand years old. The play is based on the legend of Saint George and the dragon.
28. Winter Solstice
During the Winter Solstice people from the United Kingdom hold a lantern parade.
29. Christmas Day
On Christmas Eve, people decorate the tree and put up stockings. During Christmas Day, children wake up early to find presents in their stockings.
30. Boxing Day
Boxing Day is usually spent in front of the television. People recover from Christmas Day.
Do you know other traditions and customs from the United Kingdom?
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