Image: title

Project Britain

Christmas in Britain

by Mandy Barrow

  Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sept | Oct | Nov | Dec  
Project Britain
A British Christmas
Advent Calendars
Boxing Day
Christmas - intro
Christmas Cards
Christmas Carols
Christmas Crackers
Christmas Day
Christmas Dinner
Christmas Eve
Christmas Facts
Christmas Jokes
Christmas Plant
Christmas Pudding
Christmas Tea
Christmas Trees
Xmas Decorations
Father Christmas
Meaning of Christmas
Mince Pies
Mummers Plays
Santa Claus
Stir Up Sunday
Teaching Resources
Twelfth Night
Twelfth Day
Twelve Days of Christmas
Yule Log

 This site uses cookies. See our Cookie Policy for information
Twelfth Night Traditions
Learn about Christmas in England from the children who live in Britain Christmas traditions why do what we do at chrsitmas time

A Time for parties and to play tricks

celebrating with dancing

In the UK, people used to have parties on Twelfth Night and it was traditional to play practical jokes on your friends and neighbours. These included tricks such as hiding live birds in an empty pie case, so that they flew away when your startled guests cut open the crusts (as in the nursery rhyme "Sing A Song of Sixpence" goes, "…the pie was opened and the birds began to sing".

Twelfth Night Cake

The Twelfth Night cake was a rich and dense fruitcake which traditionally contained a bean. If you got the bean then you were King or Queen of the Bean and everyone had to do what you told them to do.

There were also other items hidden in the cake:

  • If you got a clove you were a villain.
  • If you got a twig you were a fool.
  • If you got a rag you were a tarty girl.

Turkish NightTwelfth Night Plays

Twelfth Night itself was a traditional day for plays or "mumming" and it is thought that Shakespeare's play, Twelfth night, took its name from the fact that it was first performed as part of Twelfth Night celebrations about 1601.

Find out more about Mumming

Click here to see photographs of the Twelfth Night annual seasonal celebration held in the Bankside area of London.

The Yule Log

The Yule log, lit on Christmas day, remained burning until Twelfth Night in order to bring good fortune to the house for the coming year. Its charred remains were kept, both to kindle the next year's Yule log, as well as to protect the house from fire and lightning.

Find out more about Yule logs

Traditional Foods

Traditional Twelfth Night foods served in England include anything spicy or hot, like ginger snaps and spiced ale.

A traditional Twelfth Night drink is a hot and spicy punch called wassail.

Twelth Night Celebrations Today

People in the UK still celebrate Twelfth Night today.

Many places throughout the UK carry out the Twelfth Night tradition called "Wassailing." On Twelfth Night a lot of people gather to drink to apple trees and to each others health.
Find out more

Twelfth Night Celebration in London
Each year Twelfth Night is celebrated on London's bankside riverside. To announce the celebration, the Holly Man appears from the River Thames. Afterwards the traditional St. George play is performed. At the end of the play Twelfth Night Cakes are distributed. Those who find the hidden bean or pea are crowned King and Queen for the day.
Click here to find out more and to see photographs of the celebration


previous page next page - traditions

When is Twelfth Night? | Twelfth Day | Twelfth Night Traditions

Why is it unlucky to take down decorations after Twelfth Night


email© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

Follow Project BritainTwitterFollow Mandy Barrow on TwitterGoogle Plus

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

Woodlands Junior Homework Help new website

back to the top

customs traditions britain, scotland customs and traditions, traditional british christmas dinner, christmas customs traditions, christmas traditions, british culture customs traditions, british christmas customs, british christmas carols, british christmas crackers, british christmas pudding,british christmas trees, british christmas dinner, british celebrate christmas, british royal family, chrsitmas traditions, christmas customs, england, wales, scotland, Christmas Celebrations, british traditions, british customs, british culture, December, Christmas, food, christmas dinner, mince pies, advent, christmas eve, christmas day, boxing day, 12 days of christmas, new year, christmas pudding, christmas cake, christmas carols, christmas cards, christmas stocking, pantomime, santa claus, st nicholas, christmas presents, christmas crackers, christmas trees, mistletoe, holly, ivy