English Christmas Traditions

Different Christmas Traditions And Customs,
Enbedded In The Maltese Culture

English Christmas traditions are also celebrated as in all countries. Of all these traditions today it is part of the culture of the Maltese people but also most of them by many other countries through the spread of commerce and communication.

When St Augustine and his monks sailed to the Anglo Saxons before the beginning  known as England, he had come with a purpose, to introduce Christianity to the Anglo Saxons. This was 596 AD, when he started preaching the Christian faith. Through this Christmas started to be celebrated.

The British love to decorate the Christmas trees and decorating the house with garlands. The enjoyment of Christmas music is another English custom which is also very embedded with the Maltese way of celebrating.

Father Christmas in a red and green robe is the favorite person to distribute the presents for English children, leaving presents in the stocking on Christmas Eve hanged on the fireplace. The children leaves a stocking or a pillowcase hanging at the end of the bed hoping that it will be full by the morning when they wake up.

As a tradition the gifts are not opened until the following afternoon. In Malta the tradition of Father Christmas has become part of our customs for many years. The British adopted the Christmas trees tradition from Germany during the reign of queen Victoria.

Boxing day the day after Christmas day, British children used to collect money in clay boxes and open them when they are full. This is not a tradition in Malta, but we have something similar. Boxing day in Malta is not a holiday, but work as usual. In recent years on boxing day the banks have adopted the custom to close. At the same time many businesses now-a-days close for a number of days especially between Christmas and new year.

The English Christmas traditional dinner is the roast turkey with vegetables and sauces.  Also dessert is a fruity christmas pudding with brandy sauce.  At teatime mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit. Malta is more or less the same tradition but many maltese people have adopted other traditions from various neighbouring countries.

Dinner was usually eaten at noon on Christmas day. The traditional dinner consisted of roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. Christmas fruity pudding with brandy sauce was consumed for dessert.

Although in Malta it is similar we have adopted other traditions from other countries too. Like Italy as we are very close and we have been influenced by their culture apart from our traditional sweets which are consumed especially during this time of the year.

A custom which does not existing in Malta is the mumming. In the middle ages people used to put on masks and acted Christmas plays. They were called mummers. This tradition is still vivid in towns and villages like in Portland UK.

Another custom which we do not have in Malta is a kind of porrage made from corn called Frumenty which used to be eaten the day before the feast. By time the recipie changed to egg, fruit, spice, lumps of meat and dried plums were added. The whole mixture is then wrapped in a cloth and boiled until it is ready for eating. In time this recipie developed into the present plum pudding.

The English in Malta and Christmas

English Christmas traditions did leave an impact on our Maltese society. They were in Malta from 1800 to 1964 the day when Malta acquired it’s independence. But the British armed forced left Malta on the 31st March 1979, a public holiday, where they left completely.

The impact on the Maltese society was enormous, apart from many Maltese and British got married, legislation, parliament systems, courts, schools, and business.

Throughout these years the British used Malta as a military base for their navy, and armed forces. Malta saw a massive influx of soldiers not only from Britain but from many countries which at the time were part of the British Empire, namely India, Australians, South Africa, Gibraltar, New Zealand, and many others.

All this created an entangled tradition with the old Maltese way of life during Christmas. Modern life and importation brought here the many product  that were being consumed and used for Christmas.

The Maltese started to mingle their traditions and the English together.

The Maltese are also known for their friendship and love towards their neighbour. This is shared and seen during these festive season from the way they try and organise meeting with friends and families.

The main examples are the Christmas tree, Cristmas cards, the pudding, crackers, the father christmas figure and the Advent Calendar.

The Pantomines although originated form various countries, the Maltese pantomine follows the English type theatrical entertainment.  Many many ask what is pantomine? It is a typical Christmas entertainment utilising a fairy tale or nursery story which involves music, jokes, mingled with comedy. Pantomime tickets for the December January performances are grabbed very early.  

English Christmas traditions 

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