Image: decorations in a Christmas tree

20 Questions Quiz: Autumn and Winter Traditions

Test your knowledge of autumn and winter traditions with this quiz.

  • 2. When Stonehenge was first built, at which point in the circle would the sun have set on the winter solstice?

    Answer: Between the two uprights of the tallest trilithon, at the head of the sarsen horseshoe

    It would then have dropped down into the Altar Stone, a sandstone block which was placed across the solstice axis. Today, this effect has been lost because one half of the trilithon has fallen at some point in the history of the monument. Analysis of a laser survey of Stonehenge has shown that those stones that frame the solstice axis were the most carefully worked and shaped using hammerstones, creating vertical sides that framed the movement of the sun.


  • 4. Answer

    Answer: Warkworth Castle

    Warkworth Castle was the favoured residence of the powerful Percy family from the 14th to the 17th centuries. As the Earls (and later Dukes) of Northumberland, they were among the greatest landowners in northern England. After the unsuccessful attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, Thomas Percy died of a bullet wound during a last stand against soldiers at Holbeach House on 8 November.

  • 6. What is the Yorkshire name for trick or treating?

    Answer: Mischief Night

    Mischief Night involved dressing up in disguises and costumes and knocking on the doors of neighbours, making ghostly noises and then running away. The naughty boys and girls carried glowing lanterns while making their mischief.

  • 7. What’s the name of the first Monday after Twelfth Night?

    Answer: Plough Monday

    As well as marking the end of the 12 days of Christmas, Plough Monday was the start of the agricultural year. Equipment such as ploughs were often blessed to ensure a fruitful year and ‘plough candles’ were burned in churches to bring blessings to farmers.

  • 12. Who ‘invented’ Father Christmas in 1616?

    Answer: Ben Jonson

    Ben Jonson’s play Christmas, His Masque contains a character who’s the personification of Christmas. This figure continued to represent the English spirit of Christmas until Santa Claus arrived from the USA in the 19th century and the two figures merged.

  • 13. On which day in the festive period did the Tudors traditionally exchange gifts?

    Answer: New Year’s Day

    As well as exchanging gifts between friends and family, the monarch also expected lavish presents from courtiers. The master of the Jewel House would record all the gifts that were given and received, which were then transferred on to ‘gift rolls’ – paper or vellum documents that were stored in the Jewel House.

  • 14. Answer

    Answer: It popularised Christmas trees in England

    While Victoria and Albert weren't the first royals to put up what we know today as a Christmas tree (this honour goes to George III’s wife Queen Charlotte), they’re closely linked to the tradition because they were illustrated standing beside a decorated tree with their children. The engraving was published in the press in the 1840s and meant that people across the country started putting up their own decorated trees.