Nicholls State University

Christmas in England & Scotland 2020 – Nicholls Study Abroad

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It is usually cold and wet in England and Scotland at
Christmastime. Families welcome the warmth and cheer of a
Yule log blazing on the hearth. They decorate their homes with
holly, ivy, and other evergreens and hang a mistletoe or
“kissing bough.”
Throughout the holidays, English carolers go from house to
house at twilight ringing handbells and singing Christmas songs.
“The Holly and the Ivy” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” are
English favorites. People give the carolers treats, such as little
pies filled with nuts and dried fruits. “Father Christmas” is the
same as our Santa Claus, although he is most often seen
dressed in green.
Some in Scotland like to bake unleavened Yule bread for each
person in their family. Whoever finds a trinket in their loaf will
be blessed with good luck for the year! Other Scottish
traditions include burning a rowan twig as a way to get rid of
any bad feelings between friends or family, and the ‘first-footer’,
a special name given to the first person to arrive on Christmas
Day. To bless their guests, first-footers come with gifts such as
coal, whiskey, salt and bread. Black buns are also a popular firstfooting
gift – they’re made with raisins, currants, almonds, citrus
peel, allspice, ginger and cinnamon.
The traditional Christmas pudding popular in Scotland, England
and Ireland was originally made from meat and wine. But in
recent years, the meat has been replaced with sweets and
other ingredients. The recipe may have changed, but its
importance hasn’t. The dish is usually made five weeks before
Christmas and takes on a variety of forms.