Johnson resists ‘cancellation’ of Christmas in UK to stem coronavirus

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For Mr Johnson, a leader who longs for approval, the paradox is that the public seems to support a tougher approach. Nearly half of people said they think the Christmas rules are not strict enough, according to a recent Ipsos MORI poll. About two in five said they were right and only 10 percent said they were too harsh.

These results may seem surprising, given Britain’s deep attachment to Christmas. The festivities are spread over two days, with December 26 also being a national holiday, known as Boxing Day. Some date the extravagant celebration of Christmas to the Victorian era, when it began to symbolize some of the nation’s common values.

“We have seen it symbolize the British love of home and family, their respect for tradition and the past, and a shared way of life in a society divided by class and politics,” said Martin Johnes , professor of history at the University of Swansea.

“During World War II,” he said, “some suggested that it was important to celebrate Christmas because it encapsulated everything people were fighting for.”

Giles Fraser, the rector of St. Mary’s Church in Newington, south London, agreed that Christmas plays “a central role in the cultural psyche” – so much so that he said he was not. not sure politicians who make decisions fully appreciate how central it was to people’s morale.

Mr Fraser, who works in economically disadvantaged areas of London, said the need to celebrate was particularly acute this year after deaths, illness and job losses caused by the pandemic. His own parish recently suffered a heavy blow when its parish hall collapsed after an alleged arson attack.

For Fraser, the pandemic has meant compromise planning like moving the singing of Christmas carols outside the church. But canceling Christmas would be “an existential blow to the welfare of people in a way that might not be understood elsewhere,” he said. “That’s why politicians are so reluctant to do it.”

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