Here’s why there used to be so many Christmas weddings – FindMyPast December 16, 2019

I saw this earlier today on FindMyPast -Here’s why there used to be so many Christmas weddings:

Alex Cox 16 December 2019

Why did a lot of people get married on Christmas day in times gone by? The reason is not as romantic or festive as you might imagine.

You may have discovered the odd Christmas Day wedding during the course of your British and Irish family research. While this may appear to suggest that your ancestors chose the special date for its romantic meaning, the reality was usually rather more practical

.During the 18th and 19th centuries, getting married on Christmas Day itself was a popular tradition, with churches holding festive nuptials every 25 December.



However, couples who chose to opt for a Christmas Day wedding would have rarely done so out of a desire to capture a sense of seasonal romance. Christmas weddings usually occurred out of necessity as Christmas and the day after Christmas were often the only days of the year that young working-class couples were guaranteed to get off work. Even Charles Dicken’s Ebenezer Scrooge was forced to reluctantly give his long-suffering clerk, Bob Cratchett, the day off in the opening chapter of A Christmas Carol.

Is Christmas Day a bank holiday in Britain?

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are traditional holidays in the UK and are not, and never have been bank holidays. For these, they need to thank Sir John Lubbock, a banker and politician who loved his cricket and couldn’t stand the idea of competitors gaining an advantage by trading on days he and his staff went to support or play in their local village matches. He introduced the Banking Act 1871 which recognised four official bank holidays in the UK, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, the first Monday in August, and Boxing Day.

In the 1800s, most people worked six days a week and didn’t get paid when they didn’t work which, of course, the vast majority of people could ill afford. It wasn’t like today when you can simply request holidays to marry on whichever day of the year takes your fancy.

It was only with the rise of the trade unions in the 20th century that working conditions and employee rights started to improve and the tradition began to die out. However, enthusiastic reports of Christmas Day weddings can be found within our collection of historical newspapers right through the 1940s and even into the early 1950s.





About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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5 Responses to Here’s why there used to be so many Christmas weddings – FindMyPast December 16, 2019

  1. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow didn’t know that was a thing back then!

    Liked by 1 person

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