England, a major part of United Kingdom, celebrates New Year on the day of January 1, i.e. the first day of the first month of the Georgian calendar. The date was declared as the New Year in 1752.
Before 1752, England celebrated its New Year on Christmas Day, i.e. 25th December. History of England celebrated different dates as New Year in different time periods.
However, one common aspect is the great vigor and enthusiasm associated with New Year celebrations.
People enthusiastically wait for the time of the New Year to arrive; more so because it offers them a chance to carry forward their celebration mood of Christmas ahead and higher with the New Year celebrations.
New Year Celebrations in England
In the present time, the most common trend is to organize a house party on the New Year midnight where everyone from the family and close friends is invited to be a part of it. Also, special midnight parties organize in discotheques, pubs, clubs, and bars also see crowd passionately participating in it.
New Year day also see lot of theme parties, cruises, troupes, carnivals, live concerts, and salsa dance celebrations occurring in different parts of England. Among these, cruises and theme parties saw a large crowd coming from far distant places including foreign land. The New Year celebrations in England are considered to be incomplete, more specifically without the special cruise ride.
New Year Arrival
As soon as the clock in the midnight rings twelve, everyone present in the party, on the road, in the house hoot, shout, whistle, and create noise to mark the arrival of the New Year. It is followed by greeting everyone around by hugs and kisses. A drinking toast is raised by everyone in concert to officially get into the celebration grove.
Lavish meals are served, champagne flows in, creative fireworks are done, and everyone gets into the singing and dancing atmosphere on the biggest night of the year. New Year Parade which initiates on the noon of the New Year day saw thousands of people participating in it, with dancers, drummers, acrobats, musicians, and entertainers. The parade moves through the streets of Whitehall, Pall Mall, and eventually concluding at Berkley square.
Traditional Celebrations of New Year in England
In England, there is a traditional belief that whosever first arrives at the threshold of the household will be the one bringing good luck to the lives of the inhabitants of the household living in, for the entire coming year. The tradition is called as ‘First Footing’. As a part of ‘First Footing’ tradition, England people pray for young, healthy, handsome, and a dark haired male to be their first arriver of the New Year. However, a woman, a blonde, or a red colored person is not welcome for the day, as they are considered to bring bad luck for the entire year.
More so, if that person carries coal, money, bread, salt, or holy mistletoe with him, then it is considered to be a sign of a good luck and prosperity for the rest of the year. Traditionally, the first footer is meant to follow and abide by certain customs and traditions. Few of them as mentioned in legends states that the first footer should always enter into the house from the front door, and should exit from the back door. Also, the first footer, without speaking or wishing to anyone or vice versa, should place the fuel (as carried along) on fire, should place loaf on the table, and should pour in water for the head of the household. Tradition also calls for gifting of the mistletoe by the visitor to any household member.
Other New Year Traditions in England
There is also a popular tradition of exchanging New Year gifts while wishing each other. However, with Christmas day falling few days before the New Year day, this tradition of exchanging gifts is now less followed. Then, there is a tradition of ‘burning of bush’, which is considered to be a symbol of burning of all past evils and making a new beginning. Other than this, the New Year morning see young kids waking up early, and then making rounds of neighborhood while singing New Year celebration sings. Traditionally, whosoever does not sings before the noon of the New Year day is referred as a fool.