British culture

jeny   Monday, June 02, 2003, 01:42 GMT
In what ways is the celebration of Christmas in Britain different from that in other countries? Can u help me Britons?
Guofei Ma   Monday, June 02, 2003, 05:05 GMT
Family feasts, christmas puddings, yule logs (large logs that burn), and pantomines (odd plays to entertain Children) are the main distinguishing factors of a British Christmas.

Some Minor Differences between Christmas in the UK and Christmas in the US:
1. In the US, Children call St. Nicholas "Santa Claus". In the UK, both "Santa Claus" and "Father Christmas" are used.
2. Americans and Britons sing the carols "Away in a Manger" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem" differently. The words are the same but the melodies are different.
3. Britons don't usually have snow during Christmas whilst East Coast Americans and most Continental Europeans do.
4. There are a lot more Christmas stories for young children in the UK than in the US.

Regards, Guofei Ma
jeny   Monday, June 02, 2003, 11:30 GMT
Guofei Ma: Thank you so much for your information. I wonder whether there is any difference between Xmas in Britain and that in Asia? Is it still a religious holiday in Britain where Christian is very popular?
Lord Ponceby   Tuesday, June 03, 2003, 15:12 GMT
Christmas is always popular in Britain and is a holiday (religious) still....
However with the satanic influences of the USA xmas has become a little too commercial and has lost its innocent charm.
Guofei Ma   Tuesday, June 03, 2003, 20:11 GMT
To Jeny: Christmas in Hong Kong is perhaps more commercialised than in any other part of the world except New York. Since a minority of Hong Kong people are Christian, almost no one celebrates Christmas religiously. There are a lot of decorations, Christmas trees, and Christmas carols played from loudspeakers but apart from the holiday atmosphere, there is nothing else to Christmas in Hong Kong. I enjoyed the decorations when I was little but simultaneously yearned for a British christmas.

I don't really know much about Christmas in predominantly Christian Asian countries such as the Philipines and South Korea.

To Lord Ponceby: Yesterday, I read on a website (I forgot the URL) that less than 10% of British children associate Christmas with religion. To tell you the truth, neither do I. I am not Christian but nevertheless, I enjoy Christmas secularly and spend a good time with my family.

Regards, Guofei Ma
jeny   Wednesday, June 04, 2003, 12:02 GMT
To Guofei Ma: i'm really thankful. Like u, i have read on a website that the Christmas in Britain now becomes more commercial. However, This occasion still keeps something in religious features and facinates me.I wish I could enjoy once in Britain. thanks a lot again Guofei Ma.
Guofei Ma   Wednesday, June 04, 2003, 23:42 GMT
You're welcome, Jeny.

Christmas in Britain, no matter how traditional, still isn't as religious as Christmas in predominantly Catholic countries like France and Spain. I don't think most Britons attend midnight mass (it may be limited to Catholics, I am not sure) and most British christmas traditions, such as puddings, pantomines, and yule logs, are not religious in any way.

In my opinion, British Christmas traditions have a charm of their own that is even more fascinating than religion.
McNight   Thursday, June 05, 2003, 00:48 GMT
Like Ali G once asked a priest....."Wasn't it a coincidence that Jesus was born on christmas day?"

That tells you the situation of christmas in Britain in once sentence. Britain is probably the least religious country out of all the western countries and christmas is probably more enjoyable because of it.
jeny   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 03:42 GMT
Guofei Ma, How about Xmas Day in ur country? Im from Vietnam where Catholics is not so popular as in some other countries in Asia like Korea, Hongkong, etc. I think that in a large part of Asia, Xmas or Catholics is still so far to understand. For them Budda is more familiar than Jesus.Maybe because Jesus originated from Roman Church (western country) and Budda did from India (eastern one).
HiyaKiani   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 04:20 GMT
Merry Meet
I'm an American and only 16. Hope I don't sound too childish about this. To tell you the truth, I wouldn't love Xmas as much if it was all religious and all because it would take away the good (should I say "fun"?) spirit and everyone would be all serious. I like sharing and giving gifts to my crew at school. It also would leave out people who are not of Christian-related faith, like me.
I just think of christmas as a day of giving gifts (and in my case, recieving gifts. tee hee :) and on Xmas Day I never had one thought about God or Jesus or religion at all. Just the "A new car!!!"(*yaayy*) and "Harry Potter poster!" (*squeal!*) is what I think about. It may be innocent and commercialized but nowadays alot of things are that way.
It fustrates me a bit that the majority Christian Amer. people would over-do Xmas because of their feeling of satanic or heathenistic threat and it made me think of Xmas all wrong when I was young but I say "whatever" now and call it paranoia.
Another thing I wan't to say is how it saddens me that people would compare other cultures' way of celebrating Xmas and choosing what is better because it's disrespectful to that culture and thier way of doing things (with the exception of America, I criticize us since we don't do alot of things right, and according to the rest of the world, from what I hear, the American ways aren't much liked. J/K!)

Merry Part and Blessed Be
Ashley   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 05:55 GMT
What would make Christmas being celebrated religiously so "unfun"? I celebrate it as the unofficial birthday my my Lord and Saviour. Just because something is linked to a religion does not make it a chore to celebrate. You owe you thanks to the Magi for bringing their gifts to the newborn Jesus 2,000 years ago. That's why you get your Harry Potter posters and cars. So, in a way, you are already celebrating the religious side of Christmas subconsciously.
I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about ["It fustrates me a bit that the majority Christian Amer. people would over-do Xmas because of their feeling of satanic or heathenistic threat and it made me think of Xmas all wrong when I was young but I say "whatever" now and call it paranoia."]. I've never seen this. You are young.
Clark   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 06:54 GMT
Amen, to that Ashley. Most people do not appreciate the true meaning of Christmas.
Maria   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 12:44 GMT
I think in Britain mostly catholics go to midnight mass and not usually Anglicans, but then again I've never been to an Anglican service (Only Catholic), so I wouldn't know. Christmas is becoming increasingly commercialised in Britain; if u were to look back to the early 1900's you would see a different picture....with lots of snow! :-)....Last Christmas we did get some snow, up in Yorkshire anyway!
Guofei Ma   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 19:01 GMT
Jeny, I am a British citizen from Hong Kong but I have been living in the United States for three years. Therefore, there are three places that I could call "my country". I believe I have already told you about Christmas in HK and UK. As for Christmas in the US, there are so many different religions and races that it is almost impossible to describe any special national characteristics of the holiday. What I can state quite confidently is that it is much less commercialised than Christmas in Hong Kong. It is probably a little more commericalised than Christmas in the UK. Most Americans eat dinner with the family on Christmas Eve or Christmas day and unwrap presents on Christmas Day. Some American children hang up their stockings and eagerly await Santa Claus' presents.

Most people in Hong Kong and China are more familiar with Buddha than Jesus but they still celebrate Christmas non-religiously, due to the great commercialism surrounding the festival.

Kiki, you don't need to worry about sounding childish. I am fourteen years old.

Maria, according to what I've read on the Met Office's website, you were very lucky indeed last Christmas. Congratulations on having a White Christmas in Yorkshire!

Best Wishes to all and a Merry Christmas half a year in advance!
Guofei Ma
Kabam   Saturday, June 07, 2003, 19:49 GMT
Christmas was primarly a pagan feast. The Romans converted it in the official feast of the Birth of Jesus Christ much later.
Though there's a real christian tradition of Christmas for it has been celebrated for centuries.
The commercial side that has develloped has allowed this tradition to be adopted almost everywhere (it's celebrated in Japan, Israel, ... or even by French moslims). But this doesn't mean that the commercial side prevails in non christian famillies.
I think this holiday means much to most part of the people who celebrate it, not only christian people (and I mean no offence to them).
I mean I don't think there's a good and a bad way to celebrate Christmas. This feast is for everyone who want to celebrate it.