The famous song and the traditions of the 12 days of Christmas.... "and a Partridge in a pear tree!" Learn More
Learn English Free
British Customs, British Culture and British Traditions in January
Divorce day is the lawyers’ nickname for the first Monday back at work after the Christmas break. It seems that lots of couples contact them following the stresses of trying to organise a perfect Christmas, determined to seek new and separate lives in the New Year.
12th night is when all Christmas decorations in Britain are taken down, otherwise it is considered bad luck!
Bad weather, debt, seasonal blues and failed resolutions all mean that this day is miserable. Well, according to one scientist; Cardiff University tutor Cliff Arnalls, who says his formula proves this is the grimmest day of the year.
The formula for this day of misery reads 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA.
Where W = weather | D = debt - minus the money (d) due on January's pay day | T = the time since Christmas | Q = the period since the failure to quit a bad habit | M = general motivational levels and NA = the need to take action and do something about it.
Wassailing is an old English ritual which usually involved winter carollers going from house to house on Old Twelfth Night. They would sing to the residents in exchange for small gifts of money, food and drink (often wassail.) The people of Carhampton in Somerset reenact it an a peculiar way in order to renew the fertility of the 'family' apple tree by dancing round in a circle and singing a tradtional song and watering the tree with a wassail drink. 17th January is "old" twelfth night (before the calendar's changed).
Thesaurus day is held every year to celebrate the birthday of Peter Roget (the author of Roget's Thesaurus), who was born in 1779.
A thesaurus lists synonyms (words with the same or similar meaning) and antonyms (words with the opposite meaning) for words. It is an invaluable reference book and you can use it to improve the quality of your English and to avoid repetition in writing and speeches.
So, try using a few different words today. Learn More
On the last Tuesday of January Shetland marks the Lerwick Up Helly Aa, a fire festival, featuring the ancient practice of burning a Viking galley as a sacrifice to the sun. There's a torch-lit parade of people dressed up as Vikings too, but don't, whatever you do, try to join in.
Thousands of people are expected to descend on the UK, especially London, over the coming days for the annual January sales. Bargain-crazy shoppers queue overnight, sometimes for days, some even spending their Christmas with thermos flasks and sleeping bags, ready to pounce on the bargain of the century. Learn More