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Festivals and Customs

Will Christmas really be Christmas?

I wonder what books and films and plays you most associate with Christmas. Not to mention Christmas songs and carols. I think many of us have traditions that go back years and are as important a part of the festivities as the crackers and mince pies.  And each generation establishes new ones. When I was … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Legacies | 2 Comments

Christmas trees and memories

Among the many boxes of other people’s memories stored in my attic are a few that hold my own. At Christmas, when we bring down the boxes of decorations, some of these take the spotlight for a few days. Every year one particular small, faded Christmas tree sits on my dining room mantelpiece; it belonged … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Miscellaneous | Tags: | Leave a comment

Some Victorian weddings

I have just heard of a wedding taking place this summer which is to cost £55,000, a shocking expenditure in my opinion.  But will it be any more festive than some of the weddings  that took place between 1863 and 1870, uniting various members of my family then resident in Merioneth, North Wales? The most … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, Festivals and Customs | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Those round robin Christmas letters

I don’t know when the habit of round robin Christmas letters began but I recently found our first one, from 1996.    The cause of this phenomenon is clear from our opening sentence – ‘since we now have a [another] new computer complete with laser printer, we thought we might celebrate by telling everybody about … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Legacies | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Whither Whitsun?

This year Whit Sunday fell on 18 May.  When I was a child, half term in the Summer Term was Whit Week, but it only occurred to me the other day that this is no longer the case.  Since 1971, we have had the Spring Bank Holiday on the last Monday in May, and most … Continue reading »

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24th May – Day of the Slavic Writers

The “Day of Bulgarian Education, Culture and Slavonic Script” is a traditional Bulgarian holiday which takes place annually on 24th May.  A national holiday, it celebrates Bulgarian culture, literature and the Cyrillic alphabet.  The “alphabet” part of this holiday is important and sometimes the day is referred to simply as “Alphabet, Culture and Education Day”. … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Journeys | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

1st May – Labour Day

The “1st of May” is a day known by a variety of names throughout the more than 80 countries in the world where the holiday is celebrated today.  “Labour Day”, “International Workers’ Day” and “May Day” are some of the most common ways we refer to the holiday.  Traditionally observed by “the working class”, working … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Journeys | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Spring lamb

My family history being bound up with wool textile manufacture in Yorkshire I have taken an interest in the raw product – sheep’s wool.  My ancestors were only interested in the fleeces and not the earlier stages of animal husbandry.  But flocks grazing on hillsides were a common sight in the 19th century and even … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Men of God, and of Commerce | 3 Comments

Lady Day, quarter days and fiscal years

A Will made in 1808 by one John Bradley of Newhouse, Huddersfield, stipulated payments to his wife Jane (nee Burnley) ‘on the four most usual feasts or days of payment in the year, that is to say the feasts of the nativity of Saint John the Baptist, Saint Michael the Archangel, the birth of our … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

When Laura met Tom

How easily one new fact can illuminate our ancestors’ lives. For the launch of our Faber Academy Anthology in June 2012, I wrote the following fictionalised piece, which was based on the serendipitous discovery that my great grandparents had attended the same event several years before they married, and may well have met there for … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, Festivals and Customs | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment