One of England's biggest celebrations is Guy Fawkes Night, which commemorates the defeat of an anti-government plot on November 5, 1605. English Catholics led by Guy Fawkes were caught before they could blow up the Houses of Parliament. Today, on November 5, children make stuffed figures of Guy Fawkes and ask their neighbours for "a penny for the guy." The money is used to buy fireworks and the guy is tossed into a bonfire.

The nearest Sunday to November 11, Remembrance Day, honours Britain's war dead. People wear red paper poppies that symbolize the flowers in World War I burial grounds. They attend services at churches and war memorials and observe two minutes of silence.

During the Christmas season, choirs sing carols in churches and people may go out in the evenings to sing carols in front of their neighbours' houses. On Christmas Eve, people place presents under a decorated Christmas tree and children hang stockings or pillowcases at the foot of their beds. They are hoping for gifts from Father Christmas (the English name for Santa Claus). Many families attend morning church services and listen to the Queen's Christmas message on radio or television. At midday or in the evening, families sit down to a hearty meal, with roast turkey, goose or beef, and a rich Christmas pudding made with dried fruit and nuts and crowned with flaming brandy.

Children usually have two weeks' holiday at Eastertime. Many families mark Easter Sunday by attending church services, decorating eggs and preparing a special family meal.

   Did you know?
On Boxing Day, December 26, families thank workers such as tradespeople and letter carriers with a Christmas "box," that is, a gift of money.
For centuries, England did not celebrate a special national holiday. Recently, however, St. George's Day, April 23, has been celebrated as England's national day. Some people display flags bearing the red and white cross of St. George, the country's patron saint, and exchange greeting cards.

January 1 New Year's Day
March or April Good Friday, Easter, Easter Monday
May 1 May Day
Last Monday in May Spring Bank Holiday
Last Monday in August Summer Bank Holiday
December 25, 26 Christmas Day, Boxing Day
   Did you know?
The Queen has two birthdays: her real birthday in April and an official birthday celebrated on a Saturday in June. The highlight of her official birthday is a special parade, known as the Trooping of the Colour, in London.