aster Sunday, when Christians remember the day of the crucifixion of Jesus. Date of Good Friday varies from year to year. Anglo-Saxon name of the Holy Friday (Good Friday) was “Long Friday”, because of the hard post, that was on that day, so the day seemed very long.
On this day Jesus was crucified and died for our sins.
Good Friday is a statutory holiday in most of the United Kingdom. This means that people do not work, many institutions and companies do not work too. In the churches a special three-hour service and prayer is hold, especially at 3 oclock, which is considered an hour of Jesus death. Some churches hold a dramatic reading. Church is not decorated at Good Friday, because its a day of mourning.
People traditionally eat hot cross buns - warm buns with a cross, sweet and fragrant. There is even a special ceremony for hot cross buns. Also traditionally people eat fish instead of meat on this day.
A child born in the Good Friday or Easter Sunday, blessed with invulnerability.
Many fishermen do not go to sea in a Good Friday. On this day people do not work in the field or garden.
Soaked in milk baked in the Good Friday bun treat stomach pains. Bread which is made on this day, do not stale. The bun from Good Friday will save the house from fire.
The first day of the month of May is known as May Day. It is the time of year when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom. It is said to be a time of love and romance. It is when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter. Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris dancing, crowing a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole.
Although summer does not officially begin until June, May Day marks its beginning. May Day celebrations have been carried out in England for over 2000 years. The Romans celebrated the festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer. It was held annually from April 28th to May 3rd.
The month of May has many traditions and celebrations. For the convenience of the general public, many May Day activities have now been moved to the new May Day holiday (from 1978) on the first Monday of the month. This Monday is a bank holiday, a day off school and work.
Many of the May Day celebrations take place at the weekend as well as on the May Day Monday. The weekend is known as bank holiday weekend because it comes with the extra day holiday on the Monday.
On May Day, people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer.
People danced around the tree poles in celebration of the end of winter and the start of the fine weather that would allow planting to begin.
Maypoles were once common all over England and were kept from one year to the next. Schools would practice skipping round the pole for weeks before the final show on the village greens.
The end results would be either a beautiful plaited pattern of ribbons round the pole or a tangled cats cradle, depending on how much rehearsing had been done.
A traditional dance seen throughout the month of May is Morris Dancing. It is a traditional English form of folk dancing, performed by groups of men and women.
Morris Dancing has been danced for hundreds of years, and passed down through the generations in the villages of rural England. The dances are usually performed at festivals such as May Day, Whitsun and Christmas.
There are several thoughts to the origins of Morris Dancing. The name may refer to the possibility of the form of dancing coming to England from the Moors of North Africa; or it may have been called Moorish simply because the dancers sometimes painted their faces black, and people compared this to the dark-skinned Moors.
May Day began early in the morning. People would go out before sunrise in order to gather flowers and greenery to decorate their houses and villages with in the belief that the vegetation spirits would bring good fortune.
Girls would make a special point of washing their faces in the dew of the early morning. They believed this made them very beautiful for the following year.
The rest of the day was given over to various festivities. There was dancing on the village green, archery contest and exhibitions of strength. The highlight of the day was the crowning of the May Queen, the human replica of Flora. By tradition she took no part in the games or dancing, but sat like a queen in a flower-decked chair to watch her “subjects”.
Young girls would make May Garlands. They covered two hoops, one at right angles inside the other, with leaves and flowers, and sometimes they put a doll inside to represent the goddess of Spring.
In the North of England, the first of May was a kind of late April Fooling when all sorts of pranks would take place and “May Gosling” was the shout if you managed to trick someone.