British American Group

Holidays Unique to Britain

Posted on: November 19, 2006

St. David’s Day – [March 1]
Patron Saint of Wales; Wales’ National Day (See: SAINTS)

Commonwealth Day – [March 12 or second Monday of March]
An annual event during which all the fifty-four member countries of the Commonwealth celebrate their links with one another. HM The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth.

HM The Queen’s Birthday – [April 21]
The (actual) birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was born in 1926 on this day, however her official national birthday is in June and celebrated with the Trooping the Color ceremony.

St. George’s Day – [April 23]
Patron Saint of England; England’s National Day (See: SAINTS)

May Day – [May 1]
A traditional May day celebration is the Maypole Dance. On May day, people cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer. People danced around them in celebration of the end of winter. People would decorate their homes and the entire village with flowers and greenery.

Victory at Trafalgar – [October 21]
In 2005, a series of events around the UK marked the bicentenary (200th) anniversary of the battle of Trafalgar. Celebrations were held in Portsmouth during June and July, and at St Paul’s Cathedral (where Nelson is entombed) and, of course, in Trafalgar Square in London in October.

Guy Fawkes Day [England] – November 5th
“Remember, remember, the fifth of November.” This chant helps you to remember the fateful day that Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament, but he was caught and tried for treason. In commemoration of the failed “Gun Powder” plot, Britons throw an effigy of Fawkes into a bonfire. The night is also celebrated with fireworks.

Remembrance Sunday [Sunday closest to the 11th of November]
Sometimes referred to as Armistice Day, this particular date was chosen in recognition of the end of World War I. The end of WWI came in 1918, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour (11am on the 11th of November). Today Remembrance Sunday is used to remember all those who have given their lives serving Britain.

St. Andrew’s Day [30th November]
Patron Saint of Scotland; Scotland’s National Day (See: SAINTS)

Burns Supper [Scotland ] – January 25th
A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday (January 25), sometimes referred to as ‘Burns Night’.

Up Helly Aa [Scotland] is any of a variety of fire festivals held in Shetland annually in the middle of winter. The arrival of the Vikings, who came to Shetland just over 1000 years ago, is celebrated on the last Tuesday of January every year with the largest fire festival in Europe. There is a large procession of men carrying torches through villages and towns, dressed in all sorts of costumes. This parade culminates with the torches being thrown into a replica Viking longship. The longship is sent out to sea, a nod to the Viking Burial rituals which involved sending the dead into the sea (remember Lord of The Rings?).

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