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English Diary

British Customs, British Culture and British Traditions in November

English Diary for November
1st Nov

All Saints Day

Seemingly All Saints' Day was begun to honour all the saints, known and unknown (which is quite a feat). It acts as an antidote to Halloween, and kind of gives Christians the chance to catch up on any missed celebrations of saints' feasts during the year, so no one need feel left out.

2nd Nov

All Souls Day

All Souls' Day is a day in which prayers are offered for all the pious dead. It is not widely celebrated in the UK, however In Cheshire and Shropshire, many people still go out souling on All Souls Day (although nowadays they are unlikely to be given the specially made soul cakes which were once distributed on this day). In the 1950's, children still referred to the apples, biscuits and coins they received as soul cakes.

5th Nov

Bonfire Night

If you thought terrorism was a newly created phenomenon, think again. Bonfire night is a celebration of the failed "Gunpowder plot" to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Nowadays it's just an excuse for lots of fireworks and bonfire parties. It brings lots of government warnings on the dangers of fireworks, and of course bonfires too. Learn More

8th Nov

The Lord Mayor's Show

Each year a new mayor is elected and by tradition he or she must travel from the City to Westminster to promise to serve the king or queen (on the second Saturday in November). The parade is viewed by over 500,000 people who line the route.

A famous saying coined by this event is "After the Lord Mayor's show comes the muck and cart." Which means that someone has to sweep up the mess after the parade. Learn More

11th Nov

Martinmas (or Martlemas)

If the weather is very cold today, then according to legend the winter will be a mild one. An old saying goes - "If Martlemas ice will bear a duck Then look for a winter of mire and muck.". In other words if a nearby pond is frozen enough so that a duck can walk on it then the winter will be mild.

It is actually the feast day of St. Martin of Tours: St Martin reputedly met Satan on a trip to Rome. He changed the Devil into a donkey and rode him into Rome. The donkey said: Signa te signa. Temere me tangis et angis./ Roma tibi subito motibus ibit amor. (Cross thyself, you plague and vex me without need; for by my efforts you are about to reach Rome, the object of your travel.) Each of the Latin sentences is a palindrome, that means they read the same forwards or backwards.
Another English superstition says that if you stand at the back of the parish church, one can see an aura around the heads of those who will die before the next Martinmas! (Hmm - I thought they wanted to get people into church!

11th Nov

Armistice Day

(see also Remembrance Sunday)

A two minute silence is observed at 11am on 11th day of the 11th month. The significance of this time and day is it is when the peace agreement was signed at the end of the First World War. Nowadays the two-minute silence is to remember all people who have died in any war, this includes the Second World War, the Falklands War, the Gulf War, and conflicts in Bosnia, Rwanda and Kosovo.

Two minutes doesn't seem long, does it? But it is amazing what thoughts you can have in two minutesof silent thought over the futility of violence. Photos of Remembrance Day

2nd Sunday in November

Remembrance Sunday

A two-minute silence is held every year to commemorate all those who have fallen in battle. This two minute silence is usually observed at war memorials, cenotaphs and religious services and shopping centres throughout the country. Learn More

20th Nov

Guinness World Record Day

All over the world fantastic feats will be attempted and you can be a part of it by setting yourself a record to attempt, but don't forget to register on their website. Learn More

20th Nov

Stir up Sunday

Christmas pudding should be made well in advance and it's good luck to help stir one. This festive tradition of stirring the mixture and making a wish is called Stir up Sunday. Learn More

26th to 27th Nov

Ludlow Medieval Christmas Fayre

Ludlow Castle, Ludlow, Shropshire gets everyone into the swing of Christmas with a good old fashioned fayre. Starting with a floodlit evening parade on Saturday. The fayre features stallholders in medieval costume selling handcrafted goods, historical items and delicious food and drink. The Castle will be festooned with seasonal greenery and bustling with life as jesters, musicians, dancers and puppeteers mingle with visitors to recreate the atmosphere of medieval times. Learn More

30th Nov

St Andrew's Day

St. Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland and his feast day is on November 30th, giving Scotsmen (and women) the world over another excuse to celebrate. Learn More

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