Le 26/02/2021. If you work remotely – either because of the COVID-19 pandemic or because that is the nature of your...
Niveau B2 (intermédiaire)
Merry Christmas! Have you ever wondered how people in different countries celebrate Christmas? The British have different traditions from the French. Let’s find out about some of them.
In the United Kingdom, Christmas Eve is not as important as it is in France. Although some people may go carol singing, to a midnight church service or even to the pub, Christmas Day is when British people celebrate Christmas. Of course, Christmas Eve is an exciting evening for young children all over the world, the UK included! But did you know that British children normally hang their stocking at the foot of their bed, and not by the fireplace?
In the UK, a lot of families get up early on the 25th, and open their presents before breakfast. As breakfast is late, so is lunch! It is normally served between 2pm and 3pm. Most families programme their lunch around the Queen’s Christmas message at 3pm. In her message, Queen Elizabeth speaks about the events of the year from a room in her palace and wishes the nation a merry Christmas. The tradition began in 1932 when King George V read a speech written by Rudyard Kipling. The British people loved it, and so the Queen continued the tradition when she became the Monarch.
What do the British eat for lunch? The traditional turkey with stuffing, gravy, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, of course! Yorkshire pudding – is that a dessert? No – it’s a savoury pastry made from eggs, flour and milk. It’s delicious when you eat it with gravy. Dessert might be the traditional British Christmas pudding, which is made of dried fruit and spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg. The pudding is soaked in brandy and then set on fire before serving. Yum!
While Christmas decorations are the same in both France and the UK, the British have an original table decoration for the Christmas meal called crackers. Crackers are cardboard tubes, covered in coloured paper. Inside there is a small present, a silly hat and a joke. Two people pull on opposite ends of the cracker which breaks with a bang. Then they laugh at the joke and wear their hat during lunch.
After lunch, a lot of people take a nap, enjoy their presents, play board games or go for a walk together to digest their lunch. Christmas is a time for families to be together after all!
to wonder = se demander
Christmas Eve = la veille de Noël
carols = des chants de Noël
a stocking = une chaussette de Noël
a fireplace = une cheminée
stuffing = de la farce
gravy = du jus de viande
savoury pastry = crêpe épaisse salée
cinnamon = cannelle
nutmeg = de la noix de muscade
to soak = tremper
brandy = cognac
cardboard = du carton
to take a nap = faire la sieste
board games = des jeux de société