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British Holidays and How To Celebrate Them

British Holidays

Summer Lettings spoke to Aveline Orban, the President of AmeriCan Society at The University of Nottingham to get her top tip for international students:

Aveline Orban
Make sure you interact with students who are from the country you’re studying in! So many international students come to Nottingham and end up making friends with other international students from the same area as them. Be confident and friendly and avoid retreating into your comfort zone of people you already know or feel you have links with. Whether it’s through society socials, halls of residence or seminar workshops, talk to the people around you and start building friendships. That way you will feel you made the most of your time abroad and really immersed yourself in the culture and experience!

So, how do I get involved with British culture you ask? Start by joining Brits in celebrating their holidays:

Bonfire Night

In 1604 a man named Guy Fawkes conspired to blow up the houses of Parliament. Luckily for King James I, his gunpowder plot failed and an annual celebration on 5 November was born in which towns light bonfires and burn stuffed, lifesize models of Guy Fawkes. Nowadays it’s more about the fireworks that accompany the bonfires. Head down to your local display with British friends. Buy sparklers and bring some money to enjoy the food stalls – try toffee apple – and fairground rides.

St. Patrick’s (‘Paddy’s’) Day

This may be the day of the patron saint of Ireland but people throughout the UK use the excuse for a party. 17 March is a day of merriment and drinking – usually Irish Guinness – in the pub, although you don’t have to have alcohol. If you want to go all out, dress in green and wear a shamrock!

Pancake Day

Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is the last Tuesday before Lent, roughly a month before the Christian festival Easter. The original purpose was to use up all rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before 40 days of fasting. Christian or not, Brits nowadays pass on fasting and just make mountains of pancakes. Join in and enjoy with traditional sugar and lemon, or nutella for something richer.

August Bank Holiday

The last Monday in August is a ‘bank holiday’ – a day when banks and most businesses are shut. To celebrate the long weekend off work, large festivals are put on throughout the UK such as Nottinghill Carnival in London and Reading & Leeds music festivals, as well as smaller events.