Monday, April 22News For London

Christmas traditions around the world: How Londoners celebrate Christmas

As December approaches, fairy lights and Christmas trees are spring up all over the capital. But that’s not all. Our reporters are looking at how Londoners celebrate Christmas this year, describing their unique traditions and cuisine.

The capital is known as one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the world, as the last 2021 Census data showed.

More than a third of Londoners were born abroad, and over 300 languages are being spoken around the city.

Credits: Teo Coroiu
H&M Home gets very festive as Christmas approach

The data released by the Census in 2021 shows that 46.2% of residents identified as Asian, Black, mixed, or ‘other’ ethnic groups. Further, 17.0% are identified as white ethnic minorities.

Being in London as an international can always be difficult, especially around Christmas time. However, people are not easily intimidated by this; they will try to bring their traditions to England if they cannot return home.

But before we look at some international traditions, we must familiarise ourselves with the most common British traditions.

Christmas crackers have been around for a long time since they were invented by Tom Smith, a sweet maker, in 1850, and it’s a must at every family dinner. The festive table decorations are pulled apart to reveal a small gift, party hat, riddle, or joke.

The famous mince pie dates to the Middle Ages, initially filled with minced meat and chopped fruit; however, that changed in the last couple of centuries, and Londoners are now filling them with a mix of dried fruits and spices.

The Christmas family dinner is not exactly a dinner without the famous turkey. The tradition has an interesting story, as it started when farmers needed their cattle for milk and would often save their chickens to lay eggs.

The Christmas pudding is another cuisine that wouldn’t be missed during dinner and is usually made of currants, raisins, prunes, spices, wine, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Traditionally, a silver coin is placed in the middle of it, and whoever finds it is said to bring luck to them.

Westminster World asked Londoners about their Christmas traditions and how they would celebrate this year.