UK New Year Traditions

Making New Years Resolutions by the BBC

This BBC resource provides a lesson plan complete with activities to support PSHE lesson on the new year and making resolutions

Where has the year gone?  It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year, and pretty soon we’ll be doing it all over again.
Whether you plan on partying in Preston, celebrating in Cardiff or getting glammed up in Glasgow, there are some traditions you won’t be able to escape. Here, we explain the stories behind some of the UK’s weird and wonderful New Year traditions.


Auld Lang Syn
Wherever you’re celebrating this year, chances are your New Year revelry will include singing Auld Lang Syne when the clock strikes midnight. Penned by Scottish writer Robert Burns in 1788, the lyrics were put to a traditional tune after Burns’ death and quickly became an international anthem

While there are many interpretations of the lyrics, it’s widely considered to be a song of reunion and reconciliation, encouraging us to reflect on times past and move forward together.

In the final verse, the song states: “And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!/And gie’s a hand o’ thine!”. At this point, it’s traditional to cross hands. Although many do this all the way through the song, tradition dictates that it should only happen after the line.


First-foot
If you’re celebrating New Year in Scotland or Northern England, don’t forget about the first-foot tradition. This is the belief that the first person to enter the home on New Year’s Day will be the bringer of good luck for the coming year.

While it sounds like a simple tradition, there are actually lots of rules to follow! The first-footer must not be in the house at the stroke of midnight, and you’ll also need to consider who the first-footer will be. Traditionally, tall, dark-haired men are said to be the luckiest, while females and fair-haired men are believed to be unlucky in some areas of the UK.

The first-footer is expected to bring a gift too, like a coin for financial prosperity, bread for food, salt for flavour, coal for warmth or a drink for cheer.

New Year Kiss
What is New Year without a kiss at midnight? Although the tradition is common, there are a number of different beliefs around it. Some believe that the person we kiss at midnight will set the tone for the rest of the year.

Others believe that kissing a loved one at midnight will strengthen the relationship you have in the New Year. Some people also attribute the tradition to the masked balls that take place on New Year’s Eve in Europe.

The masks represent the evil spirits from the past year, with the kiss acting as purification once the mask is removed.
Who knew the midnight kiss could be so significant?!

Calennig
New Year in Wales is celebrated with Calennig, a tradition which takes place on New Year’s Day. In the past, children would call from door-to-door bearing good wishes for the household for the year ahead. They would sing songs and carry skewered apples, with corn and sprigs of evergreen. In return, they would receive a Calennig, or a New Year’s gift. This would usually be money or food. This tradition is still followed in some areas of Wales

Fire festivals
If you’d prefer to heat things up this year, head to Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and experience the fireball parade. The free event dates back over 100 years and sees a parade of individuals swinging fireballs above their heads. It’s a real sight to behold — but why do they do it?

The parade is traditionally a cleansing ritual, with the flames said to burn away bad spirits from the previous year, helping to purify the New Year.

Making New Years Resolutions by the BBC

 

All About Christmas

All About Christmas by Topmarks.co.uk

As always the guys at Topmarks have put together a really well presented package. There’s everything you need to know about Christmas contained here…

You can find out why Christians celebrate Christmas and explore the timeline of the Christmas period from Advent to Epiphany.

From the story of the Nativity to individual sections about Advent, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Epiphany and even how to make Christingles, all aspects of the formal side of the festival are covered.

The section on customs covers Santa Clause, Christmas carols, card, Christmas pudding, Christmas trees and mistletoe.

Finally there is a host of activities with Christmas Games, Songs and stories and ‘how to’ advice on the production of cards, Christingles and even a dancing Rudolph!

You can get the low down on Santa, his reindeer and the elves as well as a whole host of puzzles and printables to see you through the madness that occurs once the Christmas postbox comes out… 🙂

All About Christmas by Topmarks.co.uk

 

Shape : Creating Squares

Shape : Creating Squares by wild.maths.org

In this game, each player takes it in turn to put a dot on a grid. Whoever manages to deploy four dots that can be connected to complete a square is the winner.

The game can be for two players or a single player can play against the computer.

Once you’ve played the game a few times (and lost!) against the computer you begin to look for the strategies the computer is using to beat you and use them against your opponents.

Who knows, you might even beat the computer one day?

This game works well on tablets – even on my old iPad! A great activity to fill a few minutes at the end of a session or at the end of the day in the couple of minutes before the bell rings…

Creating Squares by wild.maths.org

Times Tables : Tables Master

Tables master Transum.org

Tablesmaster is a great way for students to practise individual times tables.

Played it every day it will help improve numeracy skills, mathematical proficiency and mental strength.

All times tables are included from 2x up to 13x (for the show-offs!)

There is also a printable page on which to record personal best times for completing times tables activities.

This activity is tablet friendly and plays really well on my elderly iPad.

Tables master Transum.org

Mental Maths : Beat the Clock by Transum.org

Mental Maths : Beat the Clock by Transum.org

Answer the questions in the puzzle as fast as possible.

Pupils type their answers into the boxes provided then press the ENTER or TAB key to move to the next box on a desktop or just tap on a tablet.

Any wrong answers can be corrected but the clock is ticking.

When all of the questions are answered  the page may be printed as evidence or a screen grab could be placed in an ePortfolio Maths file.

This page is designed to be printed if you would prefer to work offline using pen or pencil without the time pressure it is possible. There are multiple levels listed below

Mental Maths : Beat the Clock by Transum.org
  • Level 1 – Addition of single digit numbers
  • Level 2 – Subtraction of numbers less than 20
  • Level 3 – Addition and subtraction of numbers less than 30
  • Level 4 – Multiplication facts up to twelve times twelve
  • Level 5 – Division facts in tables up to twelve.
  • Level 6 – Mixed Multiplication and Division
  • Level 7 – All four operations, two terms
  • Level 8 – All four operations, two terms, harder
  • Level 9 – All four operations, three terms

Mental Maths : Magic Square

Magic Square by Transum.org

A classic magic square puzzle in which pupils are asked to arrange 9 numbers in a 3×3 grid so that all the lines across, all the lines down and the two diagonals add up to the same number. this works on my elderly iPad as well as other tablets.

In a subtle twist the target number is not given, though in Level 1 the numbers are 1-9 as in the classic end of term brain teaser.

There are six levels in total with progressively more difficult numbers which should keep your Maths wizards buzy!

In addition there is an option for a random square and also an intriguing UNmagic square where the object is to AVOID any of the lines adding up to the same number.

All the puzzles provide instant feedback which, when errors are made, can be a great stimulus for discussion amongst the mathematical high fliers in your group.

Magic Square by Transum.org