Christmas Superstitions and Customs of the UK

Christmas, like many celebratory times of the year and other significant life events, has its fair share of superstition and traditions attached to it. Hanging out Christmas stockings making sure that you have left a drink and snack out for father Christmas (not forgetting to make sure that roofing company Cheltenham based hempstedroofing have made sure that your roof is sturdy enough to support a loaded sleigh and all the reindeer!) have stood the test of time.  Some are more popular and well-known than others, and some have become a little lost in the mists of time.  Here are some of the customs that have been traditional around the UK around the Christmas season, from the ones we all know and love, to those a little more unusual…

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Make sure that decorations are taken down before the Twelfth night – It is believed that leaving decorations up beyond the twelfth night (6th January) attracts evil spirits. Many also believe that it attracts witches to come in and live in your Christmas tree if it is still up, and some even believe that failing to take them down will result in a death in the family!

At midnight between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, all the animals can talk. This was made popular by the Beatrix Potter story, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ – a festive tale about a group of mice that help a local tailor to finish off a waistcoat for Christmas Day.

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Opening the door on Christmas Day – There are many superstitions relating to this. One of them is that it is lucky to be the first to open the front door of the house at Christmas and shout out ‘Welcome Father Christmas’. This is believed to have started in Victorian times. The first person to go downstairs on the morning of Christmas Day was also considered lucky if they took a broom, opened the front door and ‘swept the trouble from the home’.

Candles play a significant part in Christmas superstitions. Many of these seem to stem from the 19th Century, such as the yule candle. This is a candle that is lit on Christmas, traditionally for the meal. It must not be lit before the correct time and was not to be snuffed out. Everyone had to remain at the table until the candle had burnt away. Another Victorian superstition surrounding candles, is that the candle must be lit on Christmas Eve night and must continue to burn overnight on Christmas Eve. If it was extinguished before bed it was said that there would be a family death that year.

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