Christmas preparations and all the bustle of the holiday season is characteristic of most countries of the world. Festive preps in the UK are also numerous and loud. London holds the major celebrations of the country. The city is being dressed and decorated with all the Christmas attributes: shops, cafes, hotels restaurants, homes, buildings – everything appears in lights and tinsels, wreaths and Christmas balls.
Christmas London is the streets decorated with billions of garlands and multi-coloured balls, It is theme exposures on show-windows of the largest shopping centers and the tiny private shops, pleasant music, sales (discounts reach to 70%) and the biggest and magnificent fir-tree on the Trafalgar Square. The city turns into the fantastic country where every detail of street exterior symbolizes New Year’s fuss.
The celebration of New Year in London strikes with its grandiosity. Several minutes before the midnight the well-known Big Ben starts ringing. At first the sound is muffled because they put soft soundproofing materials on it. But exactly at twelve bells start ringing loudly. British people love this holiday and they think that on Christmas Eve they say goodbye to all misfortunes, problems and failures. At first rings of a bell they open back doors of houses in order to help the Old Year to leave, and then they open the front doors to let New Year in their houses.
In English houses they serve a turkey with chestnuts, sweet potatoes with a sauce and greens, and stewed Brussels sprout with meat pies on the Christmas table. Then they serve a pudding, sweets and fruit. Every British person decorates the house with a mistletoe twig. According to the beliefs it brings harmony and happiness which will be in the house during the whole next year. Very old tradition of “the first guest” is still alive in Britain. The first guest entering the house should be a young handsome man with dark hair. He should gift money, bread, a piece of coal or salt, because all these things bring good luck. Londoners exchange cards, and each inhabitant reads the warm wishes written by a hand of the loved one.
On Christmas Eve Londoners have fun everywhere: at cafes, restaurants, in city streets. All people sing, dance, congratulate each other, exchange gifts and drink champagne. In streets there are main characters of the New Year’s Eve — Santa Claus walks up and down and with pleasure takes photos with passersby. During the whole night street dealers sell toys, penny whistles, masks.
Thousands of people come at the Trafalgar Square, because it is a center of celebrating New Year in London. As soon as Big Ben announces the beginning of New Year, great flashes of fireworks appear in the sky. Romantics invite their sweethearts to make a cruise across the Thames. The youngsters usually prefer to spend nights in London clubs. In these noisy institutions it is possible to have fun with friends and to dance, to take part in beautiful New Year’s shows. Londoners love theme parties which are offered by many hotels and restaurants in the period of holidays. Entertaining programs are usually combined with banquets and dances till the morning.
The principal event of New Year’s London is New Year’s parade in which more than 10000 musicians, dancers, clowns and acrobats participate. This New Year’s procession is considered the hugest in the world.