sábado, 5 de diciembre de 2009

Christmas in Britain: history and tradition

Read the text about Christmas and do the exercises below:
Christmas is Britain's most popular holiday. Its traditions and early ceremonies were rooted in pagan beliefs and date back hundreds of years. They are still part of contemporary Christmas celebrations.

The custom of sending Christmas cards to friends and family originated in Britain, too. In 1843 John Calcott Horsley designed the first one for Sir Henry Cole. Thus began a real spread of sending Christmas cards and this practice soon became an established traditon. Favoured designs were Christmas feasts, church bells, plum and turkey as well as religious themes. Every year more than a billion Christmas cards are now sent in the United Kingdom. Many of them are sold in aid for charities.
The decorated and illuminated Christmas tree gained popularity in England when Prince Albert brought this rite over from Germany. In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a picture of the Royal Family around one.
On Christmas Eve carols are often sung by groups of singers walking from house to house, and children hang a stocking on the fireplace or at the foot of their bed for Father Christmas to fill. This tradition comes from the Middle Ages when beggars were seeking for money, food or drink wandering the streets singing holiday songs.
On Christmas Day gifts are opened in the morning. Later the family will gather for the traditional Christmas dinner consisting of Brussels sprouts, fried potatoes with roast turkey, roast beef or goose. Sweet mince pie or Christmas pudding is served for dessert.
Boxing Day is on December 26th. This day takes its name from a former custom giving a Christmas box to delivery men and trades people called regularly through the year. Nowadays dustmen, milkmen, or postmen get a tip for a good service at Christmas time.
Now you can practise the new words by doing exercise 1 and exercise 2.

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