What Amazon says
High Days and Holidays are special occasions, celebrations, or commemorations. They occur throughout the year, some wanted, some not, some remembered more than others. In days gone by, the passing year was marked by seasonal or religious feast days of one sort or another; in some respects, they still help define our calendar.
A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays explores a baker’s dozen of Britain’s notable occasions and traditions, from New Year onward, the things we associate with them and the stories behind each one. If you’ve ever wondered who Valentine was, where Christmas crackers come from, or thought about the Easter bunny (and who hasn’t?), A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays is for you. And, whilst this book is not just for Christmas, it does include an A-Z of the festive season. A couple of recipes have been thrown in for good measure too, as well as an agenda for your hosting your very own Burns’ Supper. Oh – and at the end is an extensive list of Britain’s Big Days and events that normally form part of Britain’s Year – through Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
So, if you’ve ever been baffled as to why some Brits do some of the things they do, or have even questioned why you do them yourself, this little book might help. Occasionally lighthearted, fascinating and useful, once you’ve read it, keep it handy to refer to when needed.
I do not live in Britain, but I love to visit the British Isles and explore all the many places of historical interest. My mother is English and so my upbringing has been English and my family has always celebrated many of the British high days and holidays mentioned in this fascinating book. I found this book and excellent guide to Britain’s many celebratory days, whether they are public holidays or not, and the insights into the origins of these days are informative and detailed.
Many of the holidays have their routes in Christianity such as Christmas, Easter, and St Andrew’s Days. I learned a lot of new history including the meaning behind Boxing Day, how Christmas Crackers [my favourite] came to be, what bird is the traditional Christmas dinner [it’s not the turkey and if you read Dickens you will know that], and why we have Christmas trees.
The book also pays tribute to other high days such as Guy Fawkes Day, I really enjoyed the historical summary of this day that is included, Halloween [did you know this celebration originated in Scotland and Europe and not predominantly the USA], Armistice Day [or red poppy day], and Valentine’s Day.
If you are interested in the history of Britain, or are planning to go to Britain on holiday, this is a most useful reference book to inform you about the customs, people, and religious beliefs of the Brits. The author shares his extensive knowledge of Britain with a good dollop of humour which makes it an even better read.
Here is a little extract about Easter to whet your appetite:
“Rabbits are not native to Britain – and neither is the Easter bunny. Mind you, some people think that the Easter bunny was really a hare, and the hare does have a history in these islands, being regarded as both unlucky and lucky since the Middle Ages. It is suggested that witches readily turn into hares, though I’ve never witnessed that myself. Julius Caesar said the Celts of Britain deemed the hare to be sacred.”
Purchase A Bit About Britain’s High Days and Holidays
Find Mike Biles
Mike has a wonderful blog where he shares lots of information about Britain and places of historical interest. You can find his latest post here: https://bitaboutbritain.com/bess-of-hardwick-and-her-halls/