|When I searched for the British Calendar on the Internet, I found the consolidation of the results was poor. I have compiled a list of dates with the help of This England's Country Calendar 2002. Where dates are variable, I have provided the 2002 dates. I have included saints' days for completeness.|
Please email with additions and suitable images for use with this text.
British Festivals - Special Days - British Celbrations - British Holidays - British Calendar
1 January New Year's Day
5 January Wassail Eve
It is said that if the sun could be seen shining through the branches of an Apple tree on December 25, Christmas Day, then the owner, if a farmer, would reap a healthy crop the following summer. If the farmer wanted to ensure that this would happen he would have put a piece of toast (grilled bread) in the fork of the tree, or the largest Apple tree in the orchard. 'Wassail Parties' were traditionally held by men of the area where cider was made, such as Somerset, England (UK). Celebrations focused on giving thanks to the wood spirits and all spirits that safeguarded the crop, culminating in songs and verses being chanted whilst the remaining cider was thrown over the trees. See http://www.mystical-www.co.uk/treesa.htm#APPLE
6 January Epiphany
Feast celebrated for the anniversary of the baptism of Christ. The eve of Epiphany is called Twelfth Night, and the day itself is sometimes referred to as Twelfth Day. It brings to a close the celebration activities of Christmas.
7 January Plough Monday ((in 2002) 1st Monday after Epiphany
The traditional day in which the new agricultural season was to begin. Celebrated with ploughboys, with faces painted black, dragging their ploughs through the villages.
10 January Margaret Thatcher Day (Falkland Islands)
17 January St. Anthony
21 January St. Agnes
22 January St. Vincent
25 January Conversion of St. Paul
25 January Burns' Night
|Robert Burns was born in this cottage at Alloway, near Ayr in 1759. It is pictured after decoration for the bicentenary of the poet's death in 1796, aged just 37.|
A Burns' Night supper must always begin with Burns' own Selkirk Grace : "Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat and we can eat, And sae the Lord be thankit."
|The menu usually consists of cock-a-leekie soup (or Scotch Broth) and haggis with "tatties and neeps" (also known as clapshot - don't ask me why!), Tipsy Laird (sherry trifle to you and me) followed by oatcakes and cheese, all washed down with liberal tots of good Scotch whisky! The haggis is "piped" in - brought in ceremoniously by the chef accompanied by a piper - and "addressed" with Burns' own Address to a Haggis poem before being cut and served. Traditional speeches and toasts punctuate the meal (...more Scotch...) and Burns' Night suppers range from the formal to the frankly uproarious excuse for yet more partying, but they all follow the same basic format. http://www.geocities.com/traditions_uk/burnsnight.html|
26 January Australia Day
27 January Septuagesima (2002). Holocaust Memorial Day
28 January St. Thomas Aquinas
1 February St. Brigid
2 February Candlemas
Christian festival in honor of the presentation of the infant Christ in the Temple and the purification of the Virgin Mary.
3 February Sexagesima (2002). St Blaise
6 February Accession of HM The Queen (1952). Waitangi Day (New Zealand). Founders' Day (Harrow).
7 February St. Apollonia
10 February Quinquagesima (2002)
12 February Shrove Tuesday (2002)
Shrove Tuesday/ Pancake Day
13 February Ash Wednesday (2002)
14 February St. Valentine's Day
17 February (2002) First Sunday in Lent
19 February Birthday of HRH Prince Andrew (1960)
1 March St. David (Wales)
2 March St. Chad
5 March St. Piran (Cornwall)
10 March Mothering Sunday (2002). Birthday of HRH Prince Edward (1964)
17 March St. Patrick (Ireland). Passion Sunday (2002)
19 March St. Joseph
20 March Vernal Equinox. St. Cuthbert
24 March Palm Sunday (2002)
25 March Lady Day
The day the Angel Gabriel is said to have announced the birth of Jesus to Mary
28 March Maundy Thursday. First Day of Passover (5762) [Jewish]
29 March Good Friday (2002)
20 March Holy Saturday (2002)
31 March Easter Day (various Sundays based on calendar events)
Commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion on Good Friday. It is the principal feast of the Christian year and also includes the period of Lent (40 days prior which begins on Ash Wednesday). Summer time begins (2002)
1 April April Fools' Day. Easter Monday (2002)
7 April William Wordsworth Born (1770). Low Sunday (2002).
19 April Primrose Day
21 April Birthday of HM The Queen (1926). St. Anslem
23 April St George's Day. William Shakespeare Born (1564)
|"I see you Stand like greyhouds in the slips,|
Straining upon the Start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry "God for Harry! England and Saint George!"
Shakespeare, Henry V (1599) act 3, sc. 1, 1.31
25 April St. Mark. Anzac Day
29 April St. Catherine
1 May St. Philip & St. James. Traditional May Day
5 May Rogation Sunday (2002)
6 May May Day (2002) - traditionally 1 May
England: The festivals begun in Italy reached their height in England during the Middle Ages. On the first day of May, English villagers awakened at daybreak to roam the countryside gathering blossoming flowers and branches. A towering maypole was set up on the village green. This pole, usually made of the trunk of a tall birch tree, was decorated with bright field flowers. The villagers then danced and sang around the maypole, accompanied by a piper. Usually the Morris dance was performed by dancers wearing bells on their colorful costumes. Often the fairest maiden of the village was chosen queen of the May. Sometimes a May king was also chosen. These two led the village dancers and ruled over the festivities. In Elizabethan times, the king and queen were called Robin Hood and Maid Marian. Maypoles were usually set up for the day in small towns, but in London and the larger towns they were erected permanently. They were considered heathen eyesores by the Puritans. May Day festivals became so gay and wild that the Puritans were able to force the government to forbid them. They soon sprang up again, however, and still continue in many English villages. Today in London children go from house to house bringing flowers in return for pennies. After the pennies are collected, they are thrown into a wishing well. Special wishes are made with hopes they will be granted. The pennies are later collected and given to different charitable organizations. http://www.umkc.edu/imc/mayday.htm
8 May Furry Day (Cornwal). VE-Day (1945)
9 May Liberation Day (Channel Islands). Ascension Day (2002) (Thursday, 40 days after Easter)
In Christian belief, the departure of Jesus Christ from the earth 40 days after his resurrection from the dead.
12 May Sunday After Ascension (2002)
14 May St. Matthias
17 May Feast of Weeks Shavuot (5762) [Jewish]
19 May Whit Sunday (2002). St. Dunstan. Pentecost (2002) 7th Sunday (50th day) after Easter. A festival commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit and a common time for administration of the sacrament of baptism. In the Anglican churches, it is also called Whitsunday in allusion to the white robes worn by the newly baptized.
24 May Empire Day (British Commonwealth Day). Queen Victoria Born (1819)
25 May St. Bede
26 May St. Augustine of Canterbury (Apostle of England). Trinity Sunday (2002).
29 May Oak Apple Day
This day is Oak Apple Day and remembers the time when the future King Charles II escaped his roundhead pursuers by hiding in an oak tree. Sprigs of oak leaves are traditionally worn in memory of the king's lucky escape. http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/Red_Herring/dances/29th-of-may-tune.html
30 May Corpus Christi
2 June Coronation Day (1953)
3 June Commemoration of HM The Queen's Golden Jubilee (2002)
4 June Founders' Day (Eton)
5 June St. Bonniface
8 June Official Birthday of HM The Queen (2002)
9 June St. Colomba
10 June Birthday of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (1921)
11 June St. Barnabas
13 June St. Anthony
14 June St. Basil
15 June Magna Carta Signed (1215)
16 June Fathers' Day (2002). Liberation Day (Falkand Isands)
18 June Battle of Waterloo (1815)
21 June Birthday of HRH Prince William (1982). Summer Solstice
22 June St. Alban.
24 June Midsummer Day. St. John The Baptist
29 June St. Peter & St. Paul
1 July Canada Day
3 July St. Thomas
4 July Independence Day (USA)
6 July St. Thomas More
11 July St. Benedict
15 July St. Swithin
22 July St. Mary Magdalen
23 July St. Bridget
25 July St. James & St. Christopher
26 July St. Anne
31 July St. Ignatius Loyola
1 August Lammas
Traditional celebration of the harvest which also became known as the "Load Mass" for the Church where the harvest was sanctified. Aug 1st, time of the first reaping, this marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. The Celts reckoned their days as starting at sundown the night before, so this Sabbat starts at sundown on July 31. The true astrological time for this Sabbat is 15 degrees Leo, which usually falls around the 6th of August. This is when days start to shorten and marks the time of less and less sunlight until fall equinox, when light and dark are equal. http://www.whitemtns.com/~tarna/lammas.html
6 August Transfiguration of Our Lord
10 August St. Lawrence
11 August St. Claire
12 August The Glorious Twelth
14 August Falkland Day
15 August Birthday of HRH The Princess Royal (1950). Feast of the Assumption. VJ-Day (1945)
20 August St. Bernard
24 August St. Bartholomew
31 August St. Aidan
1 September St. Giles
2 September Great Fire of London (1666)
3 September War Declared (1939). St. Gregory the Great
7 September Jewish New Year AM 5763 Rosh Hashanah
8 September The Blessed Virgin Mary
15 September Birthday of HRH Prince Henry (1984). Battle of Britain Day
16 September Day of Atonement Yom Kippur (5763) [Jewish]
21 September St. Matthew. First Day of Tabernacles Succoth (5763) [Jewish]
23 September Autumnal Equinox
26 September Dominion day (New Zealand)
27 September St. Vincent & St. Paul
28 September St. Wencelaus. Grandparents' Day
29 September St. Michael & All Angels (Michaelmas Day)
Old English name for the feast day of Saint Michael and All Angels. Christian feast of St. Michael the Archangel, celebrated in the Western churches on September 29 and in the Eastern (Orthodox) Church on November 8. In the Roman Catholic Church, it is the Feast of SS. Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels; in the Anglican Church, its proper name is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels.
4 October St. Francis
10 October St. Paulinus
12 October St. Wilfred
13 October St. Edward (King & Confessor)
14 October Battle of Hastings (1066)
17 Octboer St. Ignatius
18 October St. Luke
21 October Trafalgar Day (1805)
25 October Battle of Agincourt (1415)
27 October Summer time Ends (2002)
28 October St. Simon & St. Jude
31 October All Hollows' Eve (Halloween)
In the past, people believed that the spirits of dead people appeared on this day. Today children celebrate Halloween by dressing up as witches and ghosts and going 'trick or treating.' They go out in groups and knock on people's doors, shouting 'Trick or treat!' People usually give them sweets or small presents as a treat.
1 November All Saints' Day
Also All hallows or Hallowmas, in honor of God and all his saints.
2 November All Souls' Day
In the Roman Catholic church, a festival along with prayers and almsgiving, to assist souls in purgatory.
5 November Guy Fawkes' Night - Bonfire Night
In Britain, people light bonfires and let off fireworks on 5th November. Traditionally this is done to remember the time when Guy Fawkes tried (but failed) to destroy the British Houses of Parliament with gunpowder in the 17th century.
10 November Remembrance Sunday (2002)
11 November Armistice Day. Martinmas.
Used for a period of warm weather in late autumn. Comparable in the United States to an Indian Summer. Celebrated also as Saint Martins day.
14 November Birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales (1948)
17 November St. Hilda & St. Hugh
20 November Wedding Aniversary of HM The Queen (1947). St. Edmund
30 November St. Andrew (Scotland). Festival of Lights Chanucah (5763) [Jewish]
1 December Advent Sunday (2002)
6 December St. Nicholas
7 December St. Ambrose
8 December Battle Day (Falkland Islands)
9 December John Milton Born (1608)
16 December Jane Austen Born (1775)
22 December Winter Solstice
24 December Christmas Eve
25 December Christmas Day
Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
26 December St. Stephen. Boxing Day
Traditionally, the day the gentry would give presents, usually money in small boxes, to servants, tradespeople, and others of humble life. Originally was the first weekday after Christmas but generally celebrated the day after.
27 December St. John the Evangelist
28 December Holy Innocents
30 December Rudyard Kipling Born (1865)
31 December New Year's Eve
These periods of time where used to designate when law courts were officially in session. They were also used as academic sessions at Oxford and Cambridge. The law terms were officially renamed "sessions" in 1873, but were commonly referred to by the terms throughout the century.
- Hilary Term (started in January)
Named after Saint Hilary of Poitiers, a Christian Bishop.
(Law sittings 11 Jan - 27 Mar)
- Easter Term (started in March)
(Law sittings 9 Apr - 21 May)
- Trinity Term (started in June)
(Law sittings 14 Jun - 31 Jul)
- Michaelmas (started in October)
(Law sitting 1 Oct - 20 Dec)