Sunshine’s top five ridiculous UK holidays

“It’s a night where we burn an effigy of someone who failed at blowing up parliament, we let off fireworks to represent the gunpowder which never exploded”, I said to a guy who asked me about the origins of November 5th, his jaw was dropped the whole way through my explanation.

Oh watch out sir, people might think you're a Guy Fawkes effigy and throw you on the fire. Image: Dominic's pics

The guy, an international student at my medical school had never been told about the tradition and he just couldn’t understand why we have such a morbid holiday.  I guess reminiscing about happy times I spent as a child stuffing my dad’s clothes with leafs to make an effigy before throwing it on the fire were a little too vivid.

So bonfire night has gone down as one of my five top ridiculous UK holidays, so what else made the grade?

The Queen’s Official Birthday

Despite the Queen being born on April 21st we celebrate her “official” birthday in early June.  Well the weather is usually better in June, pefect for a parade and isn’t it always a good idea to have 2 birthdays?

Royal Variety Performance

Every year the Royal Variety Performance is held for the Royal family to watch, except every other year the Queen doesn’t bother to turn up and sends Prince Charles in her place.  To make it an even more formal affair Simon Cowell runs a tv show which picks one of the acts who will perform.

Pancake day

Traditionally Christians gave up luxury food for Lent so in preparation they used up their ingredients by making and eating pancakes right before.  Now very few people actually give up anything for lent but that won’t stop them from celebrating this holiday and thus most people still gorge on pancakes.

April Fools day

There are a number of theories about the origin of April Fools Day (some say it was invented in the book Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales).  Whatever the origin the unofficial holiday is a chance to play light hearted pranks on your loved ones, after all nothing says I love you like cling film covering the toilet seat.

Image: Dominic’s pics

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3 Responses to “Sunshine’s top five ridiculous UK holidays”

  1. RenThraysk Says:

    You cannot dis pancake day!

    Other countries/religions celebrate Shrove Tuesday too. The French call it Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday). And hence people in cities and countries around the world dressing up in shiny sparkling costumes.

    Some further suggestions…

    Why do banks need holidays?

  2. Why do we celebrate Hallowe’en and not All Hallows day?
    That’s like celebrating Christmas Eve and not Christmas Day.
    I’ve never understood it.

  3. I wouldn’t say the Royal Variety Performance is really a holiday. 😀

    Do they even do fires on fireworks night now? People used to but I think it is discouraged now because of the dangers. Fireworks of course are still popular. I suppose you could look at it as the celebration of the failure of the plot. But as with these and other traditions you mention the reason for them beginning gets lost because cultures change over time and they don’t seem to make sense anymore. But I like traditions quite often as they are a link to the past and maybe make us feel like we are part of a group more, which most of us like occasionally even if we are individualists. I’m not really a royalist however.

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