Holidays and traditions in english-speaking countries

: 4/13

And the attempts to send a serious message without being too sickly, ending with variations of mine and thine and Valentine.

So in the 20th century, when there are no longer any bars to communication between the sexes, the love missives of an older, slower time, edged carefully over the counters by the publishers and shopkeepers, still surge through the letter boxes.


Pancake Day is the popular name for Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding the first day of Lent. In medieval times the day was characterized by merrymaking and feasting, a relic of which is the eating of pancakes. Whatever religious significance Shrove Tuesday may have possessed in the olden days, it certainly has none now. A Morning Star correspondent who went to a cross-section of the people he knew to ask what they knew about Shrove Tuesday received these answers:

Its the day when I say to my wife: Why dont we make pancakes? and she says, No, not this Tuesday! Anyway, we can make them any time.

It is a religious festival the significance of which escapes me. What I do remember is that it is Pancake Day and we as children used to brag about how many pancakes we had eaten.

Its pancake day and also the day of the student rags. Pancakes luscious, beautiful pancakes. I never know the date bears some relationship to some holy day.

The origin of the festival is rather obscure, as is the origin of the custom of pancake eating.

Elfrica Viport, in her book on Christian Festivals, suggests that since the ingredients of the pancakes were all forbidden by the Church during Lent then they just had to be used up the day before.

Nancy Price in a book called Pagans Progress suggests that the pancake was a thin flat cake eaten to stay the pangs of hunger before going to be shriven (to confession).

Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.

In his Seasonal Feasts and Festivals E. O. James links up Shrove Tuesday with the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) festivals or warmer countries. These jollifications were an integral element of seasonal ritual for the purpose of promoting fertility and conquering the malign forces of evil, especially at the approach of spring.

The most consistent form of celebration in the old days was the all-over-town ball game or tug-of-war in which everyone let rip before the traditional feast, tearing here and tearing there, struggling to get the ball or rope into their part of the town. It seems that several dozen towns kept up these ball games until only a few years ago.

E. O. James in his book records instances where the Shrove Tuesday celebrations became pitched battles between citizens led by the local church authorities.

Today the only custom that is consistently observed throughout Britain is pancake eating, though here and there other customs still seem to survive. Among the latter, Pancake Races, the Pancake Greaze custom and Ashbournes Shrovetide Football are the best known. Shrovetide is also the time of Student Rags.


On the 1st of March each year one can see people walking around London with leeks pinned to their coats. leek is the national emblem of Wales. The many Welsh people who live in London or in other cities outside Wales like to show their solidarity on their national day.

The day is actually called Saint Davids Day, after sixth century abbot who became patron saint of Wales. David is the nearest English equivalent to the saints name, Dawi.

The saint was known traditionally as the Waterman, which perhaps means that he and his monks were teetotallers. teetotaller is someone who drinks n kind of alcohol, but it does not mean that he drinks only tea, as many people seem to think.

In spite of the leeks mentioned earlier, Saint Davids emblem is not that, but dove. No one, not even the Welsh, can explain why they took leek to symbolize their country, but perhaps it was just as well. After all, they can't pin dove to their coat!


Mothers Day is traditionally observed on the fourth Sunday in Lent (the Church season of penitence beginning on Ash Wednesday, the day of which varies from year to year). This is usually in March. The day used to be known as Mothering Sunday and dates from the time when many girls worked away from home as domestic servants in big households, where their hours of work were often very long Mothering Sunday was established as a holyday for these girls and gave them an

Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.

opportunity of going home to see their parents, especially their mother. They used to take presents with them, often given to them by the lady of the house.

When the labour situation changed and everyone was entitled to regular time off, this custom remained, although the day is now often called Mothers Day. People visit their mothers if possible and give them flowers and small presents. If they cannot go they send a Mothers Day card, or they may send one in any case. The family try to see that the mother has as little work to do as possible, sometimes

: 1/05/2007