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The British Christmas Traditions You Have Probably Never Heard of

After reading about these unusual events across the UK, you might want to opt for a more traditional Christmas in Worcester this year…

When you think of Christmas, you probably picture mince pies, pulling crackers, carol services by candlelight or indulging in roast turkey with all the trimmings. Others across the UK, however, will picture something very different indeed.

We have put together a list of the most unusual British traditions ahead of the festive season for your entertainment and to remind us why Christmas in Worcester is always the best option.

Mumming
Stemming from the German ‘Vermummen’, which means ‘to wrap up’, mumming is a pagan tradition where men and women swap their clothes and visit their neighbours to sing songs, dance or even perform short plays around Christmas time.

Wassailing
An oldie but a goodie. Dating back to the 15th century, people in the south west of England fill a bowl (or ‘loving cup’ as it is otherwise known) with ale, seasoned with spices and honey and pass it around the room, sharing the greeting ‘wassail’. In the past, lots would reach out to their local communities and share the cup with their neighbours… ‘tis the season of sharing after all.

Burning the Clocks
In the popular seaside town of Brighton, people celebrate the winter solstice on 21st December (the shortest day and longest night of the year) with a much more modern tradition. Since 1994, residents make paper lanterns and carry them glowing in a parade down to the seafront. Here, a roaring fire is lit and all of the lanterns that people have made are burnt to a crisp. The most beautiful thing about this event is that it was set up by Sky Charity as a way of bringing together people of all cultures to mark the festive season.

Mari Lwyd
Meaning ‘Grey Mare’ in Welsh, the tradition of Mary Lwyd entails a person dancing through the streets in a white sheet, carrying a horse’s skull on the end of a wooden pole, as people follow behind singing traditional songs. Mari Lwyd is believed to chase away bad spirits in time for the new year.

Bringing in the yule log
On Christmas Eve, some of us would forage for a log in a nearby forest and bring it home to adorn with ribbons and soak in wine. The log would then be lit and kept burning all way through the Christmas season until the twelfth night. It was said to bring good luck to those who helped find it…

Christmas Swims
Okay, so this is one that you probably have heard of, but we still think of it as an unusual tradition to enjoy in the depths of our British winter. Christmas morning sees thousands of us dive into our local (freezing cold) rivers, lakes and lidos for a wakeup call ahead of Christmas lunch – what a way to start the day.

If you would rather stick to a more traditional Christmas filled with festive food, mulled wine and cosy evenings, spend Christmas in Worcester at The Bank House.

View our Christmas Packages for a magical Christmas in Malvern