The English word "Christmas" is the abbreviation of the words of Christ Mass (Mass of Christ). It celebrated the midnight of 24 to 25 December. According to tradition, the largest bell in the church one hour before midnight, says four times, and punctually at midnight all the bells begin to fight - the beginning of Christmas, the joy of the birth of Chrystusa.W England Christmas was celebrated already in the early Middle Ages. Then were born the first Christmas customs. Often they are bestowing the Christian content of the earlier pagan winter celebrations turn. Unfortunately, most of the later traditions extinct. Today's Christmas is a relatively short history - dating back to Victorian times. Certain habits, such as Christmas tree and giving gifts by St. Nicholas, are celebrated throughout the world. England also has its own, however, never encountered the practice.

Christmas Tree
The first Christmas tree brought to England Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. Richly adorned tree turned up at Windsor Castle in 1841, very excited about the queen. I quickly found themselves in others, especially the rich homes of aristocrats and wealthy middle-class representatives.
Spruce tree is a German custom, but a native z. .. England. Hailing from Devon St. Boniface, who lived in the eighth century, went to Europe to bring Christianity Germanic tribes. Ever-green fir was considered at that time in England as a symbol of Christianity and immortal God. Germanic tribes worshiped the oak, which was richly decorated in period Christmas Winter quarry. According to legend, Boniface in a gesture of opposition to the pagan celebration cut down the oak, which was to be the center of the event. To everyone's surprise cut in the trunk has grown fir. Since that time, was born in Germany, the custom of decorating fir candles that night also St.. Boniface to proclaim the faith among the Gentiles.
Into the house first tree adorned with gleaming stars reportedly brought Martin Luther. In Victorian times to the Christmas tree lit candles. The first electric lights appeared in 1895,

In the English tradition of a Christmas present is a lot of other plants, these evergreen. Holly, ivy, mistletoe and rosemary is already known in the early Middle Ages. Odganiały evil forces and symbolized the new life which reappear in the spring.

Holly - the terror of the Elves
Sharp leaves of this plant is a symbol of the crown of thorns, which Christ had in his head before his crucifixion. The red berries are a symbol of his blood. Therefore, it is sometimes called the holly bush of thorns. The most famous variety is growing in Glastonbury, where he allegedly planted St. Joseph of Arimathea (shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus had come to England to introduce Christianity here). Every year the mayors of Glastonbury and Somerset and the vicar of the local church of St. John the Baptist, cut off a twig of a shrub and send to the royal court as a table decoration.
In Scotland, a bunch of holly hung above the door, so as to keep away unruly elves. In central England, was the custom of the boys wounded a harsh hand leaf, and the number of drops of blood dropped, said the number of years, we have yet to come.

Ivy - a chance for a woman
Holly is considered a symbol of masculinity. By contrast, ivy is a symbol of femininity. This plant is not viable, must be on something to support. In this way, illustrates the weakness of a man who must rely on God. Ivy creeping up the wall of the house had to keep away witches. Ivy branch - the eve of the cut and placed on the saucer with water - augurs successful harvest in the coming year, if you survive the feast of Epiphany. Or holly, or ivy should not bring home before Christmas - it brings misfortune. After that, which of these plants were first brought, you may ask, who would rule at home for the next year - a woman or a man.

Rosemary - the demons and wild
Herb was reportedly a favorite spice of the Virgin Mary. Gives protection from evil spirits. Rosemary is an herb of friendship. His bundle thrown into the boar's head, which was the favorite after baking in the homes of the rich medieval English. Rosemary is a symbol of memory - at Christmas we remind the birthday of Jesus.

Mistletoe - berries kisses
Druidowie believed that mistletoe fell from heaven, and therefore grows on trees. In this way, bridges the celestial and spiritual, the earthly things. Therefore symbolizes the reconciliation between God and sinful humanity. The custom of kissing in public under mistletoe comes from England. You have to pull out of twigs white nightshade and give it to the person you want to kiss. When you arrive at berries, and end with kisses. Mistletoe is also a plant of friendship and reconciliation. In one of the churches in the winter celebrations were held Yokru Jemiołowa. Public sinners could then receive absolution.

In England - as in all Christian countries - there are special dishes, eaten only at Christmas. The most important meal is not - as in Poland - Christmas Eve, but the dinner served in an early morning Christmas Day.

Gourmet trinity - the head of wild boar, goose and turkey
These three burning dominated the Christmas tables of England.
According to legend, the head of boar appeared to celebrate the adventures that happen to a student from Queen's College, Oxford. Well, the first day of Christmas was attacked by a wild boar. Defending himself, threw his throat Aristotle's book, which was just under her arm. But he did not want to lose valuable work. So cut off the head of the animal and brought it to college - are given it as a roast for Sunday dinner.
For centuries, the most popular Christmas dish was roast goose. Apparently the first turkey, imported from France, King Henry VIII ate. In Scotland, this roast introduced James VI, later James I, who simply did not like geese. Day before Christmas are sold around 10 million turkeys, each weighing an average of 5 kg. So you can make a meal for at least 16 people. Turkey stuffed with chestnuts are edible mielonymi, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, roasted parsley with orange peel. In the same pot roasted small sausages wrapped in bacon slices, which are stacked next to the turkey on a platter.

Pudding - burning treat
Preparation of this unique British delicacy that the whole ceremony. On the last Sunday in September to a huge stone bowl should move thirteen ingredients that symbolize Christ and the twelve apostles. They are: flour, beef tallow, the tonsils, the three kinds of raisins (raisin, currant and sultana), breadcrumbs, sugar, eggs, rum, grated carrot, candied cherries and lemon juice. Everything should be mixed with a wooden spoon, using the traffic from east to west. This is to celebrate the three kings (known in England, the three wise men) who came to Bethlehem to pay homage to Jesus. Each family member must be at least once stir the mass, even infants (with the help of parents) - because it ensures success in the coming year. The best time to express some thoughts upon request - if anyone do not zdradzimy, it certainly would be fulfilled. The contents of bowl wrapped in a cotton material, cooked by steaming 5-6 hours, and after removing from the fire is put to the pantry.
Every week should remove the pudding, stir again, add a little rum, and again set aside in cold place. After three months, is ready. In the morning the first day of Christmas pudding once cooked by steaming - this time by 2-3 hours. Removed on a platter, clearing cream and sherry (or rum), wearing a sprig of holly still hot entering the table. Then extinguishes the light, and alcohol and a bunch of burns - a truly remarkable sight. After a while the lights are lit again, and you can already enjoy a treat. Cake is always throwing a coin - usually silver. Lucky finder can be sure that next year will be successful.
In the Middle Ages, Christmas pudding looked completely different. It was boiled mutton and beef, which were thrown raisins, prunes, wine, and roots. Food was like a thick soup consistency. In the seventeenth century, more and more frequently on the tables started to plum pudding, but the Puritans saw it as a "bad habit". Renaissance Christmas pudding has announced a special decree in 1714, King George I. The current formula is derived - as well as other English traditions - from the Victorian era.

Crackers - explosive surprises
After eating pudding it's time to launch crackersów. This custom is the origin of a purely commercial. Invented it in 1850, Tom Smith, watching the rising up of fire and sparks slamming pieces of wood. Had the idea to fix this phenomenon in the toy - to the delight of children. Crackers are several inches long on the roll of cardboard wrapped in decorative paper. Pulled the ends of two people shot inside a hidden hood. After the collapse of the two parts runs a small gift to the table (its value depends on the price of crackers or the generosity of the hosts), postcard with some joke is not top flight and paper crown, which necessarily must be put on the head.

Mince Pies - ciasteczkowa Cradle
These are small round muffins stuffed with a special mass - mostly fried raisins, finely chopped apples and orange peel. They are served for tea, or tea. Ever had an oval shape - to commemorate the birthplace, where he slept in a stable - and stuffed them with meat.
During the Christmas period - from the first day of Christmas to the Epiphany - twelve to eat these cookies. This is to ensure the success of next year. On the eve of one child put muffins with a glass of sherry beside the fireplace. This is for Santa Claus - that the gifts could bring to eat before continuing their route.

But Christmas is not just overeating time at the table ...

Socks by the fireplace
In Victorian times with a fireplace burning in the timber constituted a central living room. When the family gathered in the evenings. Especially during the Advent season, when day after day dedicated to jointly lit a candle for measuring days until Christmas.
Mention suspended for gifts socks appeared for the first time in the Oxford Dictionary in 1854, before the holidays children fought on a piece of all their requests and wrzucały it to fire. The shape of the smoke Nicholas malców read requests. Gifts are usually extracted in the morning on the first day of the holidays. Reciprocal gift giving is only a symbol of the greatest gift which humanity has received from God - Jesus.

Boxing Day
This day began to celebrate in the Middle Ages, around 800 years ago. Then in the churches emptied cans, or boxes, to which the faithful poured donations. Money divided among the poorest parishioners. So it was a charity days. The most popular Christmas carol sung that day is "Good King Wencelas. Tells the story of the emperor celebrującym Boxing Day in the hut a poor family, with whom he shared the king's delicacies.
On this day in wealthy homes service was free, and providers of various services would come for Christmas tip. Over time, this day became a holiday for all.

This traditional British presentation has nothing to do with what is called in Polish mime. Appeared in England in the eighteenth century and refers to the Italian form del'arte divertido. Traditionally, a mixture of fairy tales, folk legends and tales of Arab. Clowns entertain the spectators and harlequins. The story is generally very simple, and at the forefront in the struggle between good and evil, one man playing the role of woman and young boy dress dresses up a woman. Prime Minister pantomime took place in wealthy homes in the Boxing Day ever.
They performed it not only invited for this occasion professional actors, but also generally younger family members. During the Second World War, when in the Windsor Castle Royal Guard unit stationed in pantomime with a large acquisition played Princess Elizabeth, the present queen.
Pantomime character has changed dramatically in the second half of the nineteenth century, when it became popular theater and musicals. Fashion for mime enveloped the whole of society. Today, take part in it actors, but also children and celebrities. Although this is a show designed mainly for children, for the purposes of adult contemporary topics included are often not devoid of political elements. All this is very loud i. .. a street market.

Christmas Cards
In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant, he wondered how widespread among ordinary people have recently launched Public Post. Cartoonist John Horeley'a persuaded that designed a special card to celebrate Christmas. In the first year of a thousand pieces, one for each szylingu.
First printed card appeared in 1846, have become very popular in the 60s of the XIX century. Received cards hung around the fireplace with pride on special sznureczkach. Their number talked about the popularity of the family. Suspended over the fireplace cards were part of home decoration. Disappeared as a whole Christmas decor January 6 - the Feast of Epiphany. Oversight of the deadline, especially on the floor, leaving at least one of the Christmas tree needles, had the misfortune to bear.