Chapter 4 A Modern Thriving Society -Part 2 Revision


 -The UK has traditionally been a Christian country, however everyone has the right to choose their own religion. This includes the right to not practice religion at all The religious breakdown is:
  • Christian  70%
  • Muslim 4%
  • Hindu 2%
  • Other Religion 2%
  • Sikh 1%
  • Jewish less than .5%
  • Buddhist less than .5%
  • No religion practiced 21%

The official state church is the Church of England.

  • In England, there is a constitutional link between Church and State
  • The Church of England is a Protestant church that has existed since the Reformation of 1530.
    • It is called the Anglican Church in other countries, and the Episcopal Church in Scotland and the US.
    • The head of the Church of England is the reigning monarch. The spiritual head is the Archbishop of Canterbury.
    • The monarch has the right to choose the Archbishop, however in recent times the choice has been made by the Prime Minister and a group of church officials.
    • Several bishops sit on the House of Lords.

o There is also an official state church in Scotland called the Church of Scotland.

  • This is a Presbyterian Church.
  • It is governed by a group of ministers and elders.
  • There is a Moderator, who is the chairperson of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. It is a one year, appointed position.
  • There is no state church in Wales or Northern Ireland.
  • There are other Protestant groups in the UK, such as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians and Quakers. There are also other Christian denominations, most notably Roman Catholics.

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland each have a national, or patron, saint. Each saint has a special holiday. They are:

  • England: = St. George’s Day =April 23rd
  • Scotland = St Andrew’s Day = November 30th
  • Northern Ireland=St. Patrick’s Day =November 30th
  • Wales = St. David’s Day = March 1
The patron saint days in Scotland and Northern Ireland are official government holidays. In Northern Ireland, businesses are closed. In Scotland, businesses have the option of being open.Patron saint days are not official holidays in England and Wales, however there are still many parades and festivals.

– Christian festivals
o Christmas Day – December 25th

  • An official public holiday
  • This holiday celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Many people go to church on the evening of December 24th, or during the day on December 25th.
  • Many people celebrate with family gatherings in which presents are exchanged. Young children also believe that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) will bring them presents.
  • There are traditionally foods such as Christmas pudding and mince pies.

o Boxing Day – December 26th

  • This is a public holiday.

o Easter – March or April

  • This holiday marks the death of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and his rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. Both of these are government holidays.
  • The Monday after Easter (Easter Monday) is also a public holiday.
  • The 40 days before Good Friday are considered Lent. During this time many Christians reflect and prepare for Easter. The day before Lent begins is called Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. People eat pancakes because the ingredients (eggs, fat, and milk) before beginning a Lenten fast.
  • The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday. Many Christians attend a special mass in which they are marked on the forehead with a small cross of ashes. This is a symbol of death and sorrow for their sins.
  • Easter is also celebrated as a holiday for the non-religious. Chocolate eggs are often given as a symbol of new life.

– Other religious festivals
o Diwali – Celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs

  • Called The Festival of Lights
  • Celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and the gaining of knowledge.  The most famous Diwali festival is in Leicester.

o Hanukah – Celebrated by Jews

  • Celebrated for 8 days in November or December.
  • Commemorates the Jews’ struggles for religious freedom.
  • This is celebrated by lighting a candle every day for 8 days. This is to commemorate a legend in which lantern oil that should have lasted for one day, actually lasted for eight days.

o Eid al-Fitr – Celebrated by Muslims

  • Celebrates the end of Ramadan, the festival in which Muslims fast for a month. Many Muslims attend special services and meals. Thanks is given to God for the strength to complete the fast.

o Eid ul Adah – Celebrated by Muslims

  • Is celebrated to commemorate the prophet Ibrahim, who was willing to sacrifice his only son to demonstrate his commitment to God.
  • Many Muslims sacrifice an animal to eat during the festival. In Britain this must take place at a slaughterhouse.

o Vaisakhi – Celebrated by Sikhs

  • This commemorates the founding of the Sikh community known as Khalsa
  • Celebrated on April 14th.
 Other Festivals

– New Year’s Day – January 1st

  • New Year’s Day is a public holiday. People usually celebrate on the night of December 31st, which is called New Year’s Eve.
  • In Scotland, December 31st is called Hogmanay. For some Scots it is a more important holiday than Christmas. January 2nd is also a public holiday in Scotland.

-Valentine’s Day – February 14th

  • Valentine’s Day is when lovers send each other cards and gifts. Sometimes people will send anonymous gifts to someone they are secretly fond of.

– April Fool’s Day – April 1st

  • This is a day when people play lighthearted pranks and jokes until noon.
  • The television and newspapers sometimes also have articles that are April Fool jokes.

– Mothering Day/Mother’s Day – the Sunday three weeks before Easter

  • Children buy cards and gifts to honor their mothers. – Father’s Day – the 3rd Sunday in June
  • Children buy cards and gifts to honor their fathers.

– Halloween – October 31st

  • This holiday has its roots in an old pagan festival, to usher in the beginning of winter.
  • Children will dress up in costume and knock on their neighbors’ doors, playing “trick or treat”. It is customary to give them small amounts of candy (the treat) so that they will not play a trick.

– Bonfire Night – November 5th

  • This holiday marks the night in 1605 when a group of Catholics, led by Guy Fawkes, failed to assassinate the Protestant king by planting a bomb in the Houses of Parliament.
  • Some people set off fireworks at home, or go watch larger firework displays.

– Remembrance Day – November 11th


  • This is the day that people in the UK honor those that died in battle for the UK and its allies.
  • The holiday originally started after World War I, which officially ended on November 11th.
  • People often wear poppies, which were found on the battlefields of World War I.
  • At 11:00 am there are two minutes of silence, and wreaths are laid at the Cenotaph monument in Whitehall, London.
 Bank Holidays
  • –  There are other public holidays each year called bank holidays. They are of no religious significance.
  • –  Banks and many businesses are closed for the day.
  • –  These happen at the beginning of May, late May or early June, and August.
  • –  In Northern Ireland, the Battle of the Boyne is a public holiday as well.