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What are important holidays and celebrations in the UK?

In the previous blog, we discovered what Shrove Tuesday was and how this special day became the modern celebration called 'Pancake Day.' But that was only one of many UK celebrations! Read on, to learn how the Scots celebrate New Year and what food Brits eat Guy Fawkes Night.

1. New Year’s Eve

This is a big celebration all over the world, but countries like Scotland call it a different name and have their own traditions.

Fun Facts!

· In Scotland New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay. Scots celebrate this night a little differently.

· The tradition is to have a family party and at midnight, one person will leave the house by the back door and enter again via the front door, with gifts.

· This action brings good luck to the family for the rest of the year.

2. Easter Weekend

This celebration began as a religious holiday and it still is, but everyone celebrates Easter in the UK. Unlike other countries, painting boiled eggs is not the main focus of this holiday - chocolate eggs are!

· In the UK, an Easter Egg Hunt is a traditional activity that families or communities organize for Easter Sunday.

· Children (and adults too!) search for chocolate or painted eggs that the are hidden in a garden or park. The idea is to collect as many as possible.

· Another tradition is to buy new clothes to wear on Easter Sunday. This act is meant to bring good luck to a person for the rest of the year.

3. Guy Fawkes Night

This event happens on the 5th of November and celebrates the capture of Guy Fawkes in 1605, after he planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament using gunpowder!

Traditional food on Guy Fawkes Night are:

Toffee apples

Black peas

Treacle toffee

Parkin (ginger) cake

Traditional activities include:

Bonfires and fireworks.

Bob apple – this is a fun game where apples are placed in a large bowl of water.

The aim is to ‘catch’ one of the apples in your mouth with your hands behind your back!

Fun Facts!

· Guy Fawkes' real name was Guido, and he lived in York before moving to London.

· This historical character is the also the inspiration for the main character of the film V for Vendetta.

4. Christmas Day.

There are lots of similarities between Christmas Day in the UK and Thanksgiving in the US. For example, the tradition for both events is to eat a turkey roast dinner with family or friends.

Fun Facts!

· Christmas dinner is usually followed by Christmas pudding. This is a heavy fruit pudding that contains brandy. It is traditional to set the pudding on fire for a few seconds before serving!

· There is an added tradition that people still do today. Before the pudding is cooked, a silver coin will be pushed inside and the person who finds this will have good luck.

· In the 14th century, they used a dried bean instead of a sliver coin. The person who found this bean was ‘king or queen for a day’!

These are just a few of holidays and celebrations in the UK. There are many special food events throughout the year.

At IQBar Global, we are constantly adding new content in the form of free webinars on YouTube to help you, the learner, level up your English skills. The Culture Course will also feature upcoming topics such as British Cities, Accents, Places to Live and more! In the meantime, check out the Culture Cooking Show, our guide to making British dishes at home!

We hope you've enjoyed this series of blogs on British Food Culture but it wouldn't be an IQ Blog if we didn't end with a quiz :). How much can you remember?

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We hope you have enjoyed this blog. As always, you will progress more by reading, listening and practising your English so make sure you check out IQ Global for free resources and our YouTube channel. See you next time!

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