Each Christmas Day, at precisely 3pm, many English people will gather around their television to watch the Queen give her annual Christmas speech to the nation. This tradition began in 1932 with George V, the current Monarch’s grandfather, giving a speech over the radio. The Christmas speech has always been given at 3pm, as the broadcast goes out to commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, India, Kenya and South Africa, and 3pm was agreed to be the most suitable time for all countries of the Empire to tune in.
In Ireland it’s traditional to place a candle in a window of your house on Christmas Eve. It is also traditional for the candle to be lit by the youngest member of the family. The candle is symbolic and meant to welcome Mary and Joseph as they travel looking for shelter. Historically, the candle would have remained lit until extinguished by someone called Mary!
Scots often call Christmas ‘Yule’ from the Old Norse ‘jól’ which was a pagan mid-winter celebration.
Scotland doesn’t have any of their own, unique, Christmas traditions as, for a long time, Christmas wasn’t a big celebration as decreed by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. In fact, Christmas day wasn’t a public holiday until 1958! In Scotland, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) remains the biggest event of the calendar year.