Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Christmas in the UK

Tracy, Lynda and I are GIVING JOY TO THE WORLD when one blogger will receive a $30 Target gift card from our "No Ordinary Blog Hop" giveaway! Just click on the button below for more details on how you can join this fun blog hop throughout December and try to win a Target gift card at the same time. Hurry! The last day to enter the giveaway is on Dec. 10th, but you can continue to link your blog hop posts until the end of December! HURRY only 7 more days to link up and win a $30 gift card. HURRY only 7 days left!!!!

We have been living in the UK for 2 years and there are several things that happen around the holidays that is different in the states. So I thought I would post on a few of them during the month of December.

Pantomime Season begins the end of November and continues until the end of December. We went to our first one last year and can't wait to go again this year. So what is a it? This is taken from our local newletter from the British liason to the American living in Britain explaining what a Pantomime is (I thought her explanation would be better than anything I tried to write):

This is a British tradition and is a wonderful, fun experience albeit a little eccentric. Pantomimes are nearly always based on well known children's stories such as Peter Pan, Aladdin, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty etc. Pantomimes are not only performed in some of the most prestigious theaters in the land but also many local church halls throughout the UK. Whether a lavish professional performance or a hammy local amateur dramatic production, all pantomimes are well attended and great fun.

Audience participation is a very important part of the pantomime. The audience are encouraged to "boo" whenever the villain enters the stage, argue with the Dame (who is nearly always a man) and warn the leading boy (who is nearly always a girl) when the villain is behind them by shouting out "He is behind you"

Slapstick is another important part of the British Pantomime -- the throwing of custard pies, the ugly sisters (played by men) falling over, and lots of silly costumes, including of course, the panto horse which is played by two people in a horse costume.

So how did this curious tradition come about?

Pantomime literally means "all kinds of mime". It is generally acknowledged that the British panto is modeled on the early masques of the Elizabethan and Stuart days. In the 14th century the early masques were musical, mime or spoken dramas, usually performed in a grand house although by the 17th century they were really no more than an excuse for a theme party.

The timing of the British panto at Christmas and the role reversal of the lead characters may have evolved from the Tudor "Feast of Fools" presided over by the Lord of Misrule. The Lord of Misrule, normally a commoner with a reputation of knowing how to enjoy himself was selected to direct the entertainment. The festival is thought to have originated from the benevolent Roman masters who allowed their servants to be the boss for a while.

We just got the list of Pantomimes performing in our area and we now just have to decide which one to go too.


  1. that is really cool I am tossin the idea about a study for around the world at Christmas Thanks

  2. Hi Adamant Academy I am going to be posting every Friday a post on Celebrating Christmas in England. Hope you stop by again.

  3. I'm a new follower
    Would love to have you follow back
    Copper Llama Studio

  4. Fun tradition!
    Found you through a Friday blog hop and looking forward to reading more! :)

  5. HI Anna-Marie!
    This sounds like alot of fun and a great Christmas tradition that you have! I'm sure your kids love the humor and costumes! I know mine would! I look forward to reading more of your posts about Christmas in England :) I always enjoy "living" through your life's adventures :) Clicked a vote for you as always and I love seeing your blog featured so high on the picket fence! I hope you are enjoying your Advent so far :)

  6. Thanks Jaime for following and I am following you:)

  7. Thanks calebandnicolette for stopping by and commenting:)

  8. Hi Tracy,
    We are going to a Christmas play on Tuesday this week. Still looking for a pantomime but we have narrowed it down. Just getting everyone to agreed can be a challenge:) I am going to post something about UK Christmas every Friday this month:)

  9. This reminds me of the Shakespeare plays I used to go to when I lived in England for 3 years. Especially the play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" has buffoons as an acting troop. Your pantomimes remind me of that group!

  10. Hi AM :)
    Stopping in again to say HI and voted for you! Hope you are having a great Saturday! :)

  11. Dropped by to follow you. I'm number 115!

    Love the books on your wallpaper, just wish I had the time to read once in a while :)

    Would love a follow back.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Thanks Susan for stopping by. We have yet to make it to a Shakespeare play, which is shameful as we live in England. We just haven't had an opportunity but it is on my list to do:)

  13. Hi Menopausal New Mom
    Following you back and thanks for stopping by and following:)

  14. Hi Tracy,
    Yes we are having a quiet weekend. I have two sick boys to care for:(

  15. Hi Anna-Marie,

    Sorry to hear you have sick ones :( Hope everyone feels better! I always hold my breath this time of year because I don't want to have anyone sick with such a busy December schedule and fun activities!
    Clicked a vote for you today! Happy 2nd Sunday of Advent! :)

  16. My husbands family are English and his Grandmother partakes in panto's every year. I can't wait to take the kids over there to see some!

    Thanks for linking up to Christmas Fun - Week 2 has kicked off today.

  17. Oh, I love pantos too!!!! Last year it was my first one ("Sleeping Beauty") and I can`t wait to see this year`s panto! It`s "Alladin".

  18. I have been living in Texas for four years and I MISS Panto season! We used to go every year! One of the reasons I am looking forward to un-immigrating back to Cradiff, Wales!!

  19. Wow!!!! How fun :-) There used to "madricle" that we would go to each year at's a "play" type thing with audience participation over dinner that is set in England with the King and Queen.....we looked forward to it each year.........unfortunately the guy that wqas in charge moved and no one doews it now........bummer!!!

  20. Hi Michelle
    Thanks for stopping by and visiting. We are scheduled to see Snow White for our panto and can't wait. We are going Christmas Eve.