Christmas Slang Special – Days and Celebrations (Boxing Day, Hogmanay, Twelfth Night)

Hello and welcome back to a very special episode of Slang with me Louisa May Adams. This show will give you the chance to hear, understand the origins and meanings of new slang and to use it immediately!

Today we will be exploring our second Christmas topic, days and celebrations. So let’s get started…

The first is obvious, Christmas day on the 25th of December, celebrated by the majority of the world, for both religious and personal reasons. The next few important days in the winter British calendar are less widespread, so lets look at them now…

An important day for brits in winter is boxing day B-O-X-I-N-G D-A-Y. Boxing Day is a holiday that’s the day after Christmas, the 26th of December. Boxing Day dates back to the 17th century.

Historically known as when servants and tradesmen would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers. However it hasn’t been like this for a long time.

Today it is viewed as just another “Bank Holiday” which means most people get the day off work.

Nowadays people spend boxing day having a special lunch made from leftovers from the Christmas feast the day before. In Britain it is usually composed of eating, going on long walks in the country and generally relaxing with family and friends.

Another celebration to write in your British diary is Twelfth Night, T-W-E-L-F-T-H N-I-G-H-T. I know what you are thinking… hey isn’t that one of Shakespeare’s plays?

In fact Shakespeare’s play is named after the celebration because it was first performed at this festival.

Twelfth Night is a religious festival commemorating the coming of the Epiphany, the day when the nativity story tells us that the three wise men visited the baby Jesus.

There are different opinions of when this festival is celebrated, depending on which day one considers to be the first of the Twelve Days: 25 or 26 December.

The Church of England celebrates Twelfth Night on January 5th. For those less religious twelfth night is the unofficial end of the holiday season, meaning people begin to take down their Christmas trees and decorations and start go back to work!

How depressing!

A modern day belief is that it is unlucky to leave Christmas decorations hanging after Twelfth Night.

The final I want to tell you about is hogmanay H-O-G-M-A-N-A-Y Aka Scottish New Year’s.

Hogmanay is the Scot word for the last day of the year and is synonymous with the celebration of the New Year. It is normally followed by a further celebration on the morning of New Year’s Day (1 January) or, in some cases, 2 January, a special Scottish Bank Holiday.

New Year’s Eve is a global tradition but in Scotland they say good bye to the old year and welcome to new one slightly differently to the rest of the world.

The origins of Hogmanay are unclear, but may be derived from Norse and Gaelic observances.
Traditionally on Hogmanay Scots follow many customs, including gift-giving and visiting the homes of friends and neighbours. . On Hogmanay Scots eat haggis, a savoury pudding made from sheeps lung, heart and liver. Ok I know this sounds disgusting but it is in fact very delicious!

The second Hogmanay iconic tradition is singing the song “Auld Lang Syne” which has become common in many countries. “Auld Lang Syne” is a Scots poem by Robert Burns. It is now common to sing in a circle with friends and family while linking arms as the clock strikes midnight for New Year’s Day.

Although not Scottish i know my mother enjoys doing this very much so!

So which will you be celebrating this year? Hogmanay, Twelfth Night or Boxing Day? Have a think and let us know!

That’s our episode of the day, remember this is the second of four Christmas specials so tune in on Monday to hear about traditional British Christmas food.

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