|Traditions and holidays of Great Britain |
Traditions and holidays of Great Britain. Every nation and every country has its own traditions and customs.Traditions make a nation special. Some of them are old-fashioned and manypeople remember them, others are part of people’s life. Some Britishcustoms and traditions are known all the world. From Scotland to Cornwall, Britain is full of customs and traditions.аlot of them have very long histories. Some are funny and some arestrange. But they are all interesting. There is the long menu oftraditional British food. There are many royal occasions. There are songs,saying and superstitions. They are all part of the British way of life. You cannot really imagine Britain without all its traditions, thisintegral feature of social and private life of the people living on theBritish Isles that has always been an important part of their life andwork. English traditions can classified into several groups: traditionsconcerning the Englishmen’s private life (child’s birth, wedding, marriage,wedding anniversary); which are connected with families incomes; statetraditions; national holidays, religious holidays, public festival,traditional ceremonies. What about royal traditions? There are numerous royal traditions inBritain, some are ancient, others are modern. The Queen is the only person in Britain with two birthdays. Her realbirthday is on April 21st, but she has an “official” birthday, too. That ison the second Saturday in June. And on the Queen’s official birthday, thereis a traditional ceremony called the Trooping of the Colour. It is a bigparade with brass bands and hundreds of soldiers at Horse Guard’s Parade inLondon. а“regiment” of the Queen’s soldiers, the Guards, march in front ofher. At the front of the parade there is the regiment’s flag or “colour”.Thousands of Londoners and visitors watch in Horse Guards’ Parade. Andmillions of people at home watch it on television. This custom is not veryold, but it is for very old people. On his or her one hundredth birthday, aBritish person gets a telegram with congratulations from the Queen. The changing of the Guard happens every day at Buckingham Palace, theQueen’s home in London. The ceremony always attracts a lot of spectators –Londoners as well as visitors – to the British capital. So soldiers stand on front of the palace. Each morning these soldiers(the “guard”) change. One group leaves and another arrives. In summer andwinter tourists stand outside the palace at 11:30 every morning and watchthe Changing of the Guard. Traditionally the Queen opens Parliament every autumn. But Parliament,not the Royal Family, controls modern Britain. The Queen travels fromBuckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a gold carriage – theIrish State Coach. At the Houses of Parliament the Queen sits on a “throne”in the House of Lords. Then she reads the “Queen’s Speech”. At the StateOpening of Parliament the Queen wears a crown. She wears other jewels fromthe Crown Jewels, too. Every year, there is a new Lord Mayor of London. The Mayor is thecity’s traditional leader. And the second Saturday in November is alwaysthe day for the Lord Mayor’s Show. This ceremony is over six hundred yearsold. It is also London’s biggest parade. The Lord Mayor drives to the Royal Courts of Justice in a coach. Thecoach is two hundred years old. It is red and gold and it has six horses. As it is also a big parade, people make special costumes and actstories from London’s history. In Britain as in other countries costumes and uniforms have a longhistory. One is the uniform of the Beefeaters at the tower of London. This camefirst from France. Another is the uniform of the Horse Guards at HorseGuard’s Parade, not far from Buckingham Palace. Thousands of visitors takephotographs of the Horse Guards. Britannia is a symbol of Britain. And she wears traditional clothes,too. But she is not a real person. Lots of ordinary clothes have a long tradition. The famous bowler hat,for example. аman called Beaulieu made the first one in 1850. One of the British soldiers, Wellington, gave his name to a pair ofboots. They have a shorter name today – “Wellies”. There is a very special royal tradition. On the River Thames there arehundreds of swans. а lot of these beautiful white birds belong,traditionally, to the king or queen. In July the young swans on the Thamesare about two months old. Then the Queen’s swan keeper goes, in a boat,from London Bridge to Henley. He looks at all the young swans and marks theroyal ones. The name of this strange nut interesting custom is Swan Upping. There are only six public holidays a year in Great Britain, that isdays on which people need not go in to work. They are: Christmas Day, GoodFriday, Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday,Boxing Day. So the most popular holiday in Britain is Christmas. Christmas hasbeen celebrated from the earliest days of recorded history, and each eraand race has pasted a colourful sheet of new customs and traditions overthe old. On the Sunday before Christmas many churches hold a carol servicewhere special hymns are sung. Sometimes carol singers can be heard in thestreets as they collect money for charity. There are a lot of very popularBritish Christmas carols. Three famous ones are: “Good King Wenceslas”,“The Holly and The Ivy” and “We Three Kings”. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world send andreceive Christmas cards. Most of people think that exchanging cards atChristmas is a very ancient custom but it is not right. In fact it isbarely 100 years old. The idea of exchanging illustrated greeting andpresents is, however, ancient. So the first commercial Christmas card wasproduced in Britain in 1843 by Henry Cole, founder of the Victoria andAlbert Museum, London. The handcoloured print was inscribed with the words’аMerry Christmas and а Happy New Year to you’. It was horizontallyrectangular in shape, printed on stout cardboard by lithography. аtraditional feature of Christmas in Britain is the Christmas tree.Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, brought the German tradition (hewas German) to Britain. He and the Queen had a Christmas tree at WindsorCastle in 1841. аfew years after, nearly every house in Britain had one.Traditionally people decorate their trees on Christmas Eve – that’sDecember 24th. They take down the decorations twelve days later, on TwelfthNight (January 5th). An older tradition is Christmas mistletoe. People put a piece of thisgreen plant with its white berries over a door. Mistletoe brings good luck,people say. Also, at Christmas British people kiss their friends and familyunder the mistletoe. Those who live away try to get back home because Christmas is a familycelebration and it is the biggest holiday of the year. As Christmas comesnearer, everyone is buying presents for relatives and friends. At Christmaspeople try to give their children everything they want. And the childrencount the weeks, than the days, to Christmas. They are wondering whatpresents on December 24th. Father Christmas brings their presents in thenight. Then they open them on the morning of the 25th. There is another name for Father Christmas in Britain – Santa Claus.That comes from the European name for him – Saint Nicholas. In thetraditional story he lives at the North Pole. But now he lives in big shopsin towns and cities all over Britain. Well, that’s where children see himin November and December. Then on Christmas Eve he visits every house. Heclimbs down the chimney and leaves lots of presents. Some people leavesomething for him, too. аglass of wine and some biscuits, for example. At Christmas everyone decorates their houses with holly, ivy colourfullamps. In Britain the most important meal on December 25th is Christmasdinner. Nearly all Christmas food is traditional, but a lot of thetraditions are not very old. For example, there were no turkeys in Britainbefore 1800. And even in the nineteenth century, goose was the traditionalmeat at Christmas. But not now. аtwentieth-century British Christmas dinner is roast turkey withcarrots, potatoes, peas, Brussels sprouts and gravy. There are sausages andbacon, too. Then, after the turkey, there’s Christmas pudding. Some peoplemake this pudding months before Christmas. аlot of families have their ownChristmas pudding recipes. Some, for example, use a lot of brandy. Othersput in a lot of fruit or add a silver coin for good luck. Real Christmaspuddings always have a piece of holly on the top. Holly bushes and treeshave red berries at Christmas time, and so people use holly to decoratetheir houses for Christmas. The holly on the pudding is part of thedecoration. Crackers are also usual at Christmas dinner. These came to Britainfrom China in the nineteenth century. Two people pull a cracker. Usuallythere is a small toy in the middle. Often there is a joke on a piece ofpaper, too. Most of the jokes in Christmas crackers are not very good. Hereis on example: Customer: Waiter, there’s a frog in my soup. Waiter: Yes, sir, the fly’s on holidays. аpantomime is a traditional English entertainment at Christmas. It ismeant for children, but adults enjoy is just as much. It is a very old formof entertainment, and can be traced back to 16th century Italian comedies.There have been a lot of changes over the years. Singing and dancing andall kinds of jokes have been added; but the stories that are told are stillfairy tales, with a hero, a heroine, and a villain. In every pantomime there are always three main characters. These arethe “principal boy”, the “principal girl”, and the “dame”. Pantomimes arechanging all the time. Every year, someone has a new idea to make them moreexciting or more up-to-date. December 26th is Boxing Day. Traditionally boys from the shops in eachtown asked for money at Christmas. They went from house to house onDecember 26th and took boxes made of wood with them. At each house peoplegave them money. This was a Christmas present. So the name of December 26thdoesn’t come from the sport of boxing – it comes from the boys’ woodenboxes. Now, Boxing Day is an extra holiday after Christmas Day. Traditionally Boxing Day Hunts is a day for foxhunting. The huntsmenand huntswomen ride horses. They use dogs, too. The dogs (fox hounds)follow the smell of the fox. Then the huntsmen and huntswomen follow thehounds. Before a Boxing Day hunt, the huntsmen and huntswomen drink notwine. But the tradition of the December 26th hunt is changing. Now, somepeople want to stop Boxing Day Hunts (and other hunts, too). They don’tlike foxhunting. For them it’s not a sport – it is cruel. In England people celebrate the New Year. But it is not as widely oras enthusiastically observed as Christmas. Some people ignore it completelyand go to bed at the same time as usual on New Year’s Eve. Many others,however, do celebrate it in one way or another, the type of celebrationvarying very much according to the local custom, family tradition andpersonal taste. The most common type of celebration is a New Year party, either afamily party or one arranged by a group of young people. And anotherpopular way of celebrating the New Year is to go to a New Year’s dance. The most famous celebration is in London round the statue of Eros inPiccadilly Circus where crowds gather and sing and welcome the New Year. InTrafalgar Square there is also a big crowd and someone usually falls intothe fountain. Every Year the people of Norway give the city of London a present.It’s a big Christmas tree and it stands in Trafalgar Square. Also incentral London, Oxford Street and Regent Street always have beautifuldecorations at the New Year and Christmas. Thousands of people come to lookat them. In Britain a lot of people make New Year Resolutions on the evening ofDecember 31st. For example, “I’ll get up early every morning next year”, or“I’ll clean, my shoes every day”. But there is a problem. Most peopleforget their New Year Resolutions on January 2nd. But New Year’s Eve is a more important festival in Scotland then it isin England, and it even has a special name. It is not clear where the‘Hogmanay’ comes from, but it is connected with the provision of food anddrink for all visitors to your home on 31st December. There is a Scottish song that is sung all over the world at midnighton New Year’s Eve. It was written by Robert Burns, the famous Scottishpoet, and you may find some of the traditional words a bit difficult tounderstand, but that’s the way it’s always sung – even by English people! It was believed that the first person to visit one’s house on NewYear’s Day could bring good or bad luck. Therefore, people tried to arrangefor the person of their own choice to be standing outside their housesready to be let in the moment midnight had come. Usually a dark-complexioned man was chosen, and never a woman, for shewould bring bad luck. The first footer was required to carry threearticles: a piece of coal to wish warmth, a piece of bread to wish food,and a silver coin to wish wealth. In some parts of northern England thispleasing custom is still observed. So this interesting tradition called“First Footing”. On Bank holiday the townsfolk usually flock into the country and tothe coast. If the weather is fine many families take a picnic – lunch ortea with them and enjoy their meal in the open. Seaside towns near London,such as Southend, are invaded by thousands of trippers who come in cars andcoaches, trains and bicycles. Great amusement parks like Southend Kursoaldo a roaring trade with their scenic railways, shooting galleries, water-shoots, Crazy houses and so on. Trippers will wear comic paper hats withslogans, and they will eat and drink the weirdest mixture of stuff you canimagine, sea food like cockles, mussels, whelks, fish and chips, candyfloss, tea, fizzy drinks, everything you can imagine. Bank holiday is also an occasion for big sports meeting at places likethe White City Stadium, mainly all kinds of athletics. There are also horserace meetings all over the country, and most traditional of all, there arelarge fairs with swings, roundabouts, a Punch and Judy show, hoop-la stallsand every kind of side-show including, in recent, bingo. There is also muchboating activity on the Thames. Although the Christian religion gave the world Easter as we know ittoday, the celebration owes its name and many of its customs and symbols toa pagan festival called Eostre. Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess ofspringtime and sunrise, got her name from the world east, where thesunrises. Every spring northern European peoples celebrated the festival ofEostre to honour the awakening of new life in nature. Christians relatedthe rising of the sun to the resurrection of Jesus and their own spiritualrebirth. Many modern Easter symbols come from pagan time. The egg, forinstance, was a fertility symbol long before the Christian era. The ancientPersians, Greeks and Chinese exchanged eggs at their sping festivals. InChristian times the egg took on a new meaning symbolizing the tomb fromwhich Christ rose. The ancient custom of dyeing eggs at Easter time isstill very popular. The Easter bunny also originated in pre-Christian fertility lore. Therabbit was the most fertile animal our ances tors knew, so they selected itas a symbol of new life. Today, children enjoy eating candy bunnies andlistening to stories about the Easter bunny, who supposedly brings Eastereggs in a fancy basket. Also there is a spectacular parade on Easter. It is a trulyspectacular Easter Parade in Battersea Park. It is sponsored by the LondonTourist Board and is usually planned around a central theme related to thehistory and attractions of London. The great procession, or parade, beginsat 3 p.m. but it is advisable to find a vantage-point well before thathour. On October 31st British people celebrate Halloween. It is undoubtedlythe most colourful and exciting holiday of the year. Though it is not apublic holiday, it is very dear to those who celebrate it, especially tochildren and teenagers. This day was originally called All Hallow’s Evebecause it fell on the eve of All Saints’ Day. The name was later shortenedto Halloween. According to old beliefs, Halloween is the time, when theveil between the living and the dead is partially lifted, and witches,ghosts and other super natural beings are about. Now children celebrateHalloween in unusual costumes and masks. It is a festival of merrymaking,superstitions spells, fortunetelling, traditional games and pranks.Halloween is a time for fun. Few holidays tell us much of the past as Halloween. Its originsdateback to a time, when people believed in devils, witches and ghosts.Many Halloween customs are based on beliefs of the ancient Celts, who livedmore than 2,000 years ago in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, andnorthern France. Every year the Celts celebrated the Druid festival of Samhain, Lord ofthe Dead and Prince of Darkness. It fell on October 31, the eve of theDruid new year. The date marked the end of summer, or the time when the sunretreated before the powers of darkness and the reign of the Lord of Deathbegan. The Dun god took part in the holiday and received thanks for theyear’s harvest. It was believed that evil spirits sometimes played tricks on October31. They could also do all kinds of damage to property. Some people triedto ward of the witches by painting magic signs on their barns. Others triedto frighten them away by nailing a piece of iron, such as a horseshoe, overthe door. Many fears and superstitions grew up about this day. An old Scotchsuperstition was that witches – those who had sold their souls to the devil– left in their beds on Halloween night a stick made by magic to look likethemselves. Then they would fly up the chime attended by a black cat. In Ireland, and some other parts of Great Britain, it was believed,that fairies spirited away young wives, whom they returned dazed andamnesic 366 days later. When Halloween night fell, people in some places dressed up and triedto resemble the souls of the dead. They hoped that the ghosts would leavepeacefully before midnight. They carried food to the edge of town orvillage and left it for the spirits. In Wales, they believed that the devil appeared in the shape of a pig,a horse, or a dog. On that night, every person marked a stone and put it ina bonfire. If a person’s stone was missing the next morning, he or shewould die within a year. Much later, when Christianity came to Great Britain and Ireland, theChurch wisely let the people keep their old feast. But it gave it a newassociation when in the 9th century a festival in honour of all saints (AllHallows) was fixed on November 1. In the 11th century November 2 became AllSouls’ Day to honour the souls of the dead, particularly those who diedduring the year. Christian tradition included the lighting of bonfires and carringblazing torches all around the fields. In some places masses of flamingstaw were flung into the air. When these ceremonies were over, everyonereturned home to feast on the new crop of apples and nuts, which are thetraditional Halloween foods. On that night, people related their experiencewith strange noises and spooky shadows and played traditional games. Halloween customs today follow many of the ancient traditions, thoughtheir significance has long since disappeared. аfavourite Halloween custom is to make a jack-j’-lantern. Childrentake out the middle of the pumpkin, cut hole holes for the eyes, nose andmouth in its side and, finally, they put a candle inside the pumpkin toscare their friends. The candle burning inside makes the orange facevisible from far away on a dark night – and the pulp makes a deliciouspumpkin-pie. People in England and Ireland once carved out beets, potatoes, andturnips to make jack-o’-lanterns on Halloween. When the Scots and Irishcame to the United States, they brought their customs with them. But theybegan to carve faces on pumpkins because they were more plentiful in autumnthan turnips. Nowadays, British carve faces on pumpkins, too. According to an Irish legend, jack-o’-lanterns were named for a mancalled Jack who was notorious for his drunkenness and being stingy. Oneevening at the local pub, the Devil appeared to take his soul. Clever Jackpersuaded the Devil to “have one drink together before we go”. To pay forhis drink the Devil turned himself into a sixpence. Jack immediately put itinto his wallet. The Devil couldn’t escape from it because it had a catchin the form of a cross. Jack released the Devil only when the latterpromised to leave him in peace for another year. Twelve months later, Jackplayed another practical joke on the Devil, letting him down from a treeonly on the promise that he would never purse him again. Finally, Jack’sbody wore out. He could not enter heaven because he was a miser. He couldnot enter hell either, because he played jokes on the Devil. Jack was indespair. He begged the Devil for a live coal to light his way out of thedark. He put it into a turnip and, as the story goes, is still wanderingaround the earth with his lantern. Halloween is something called Beggars’ Night or Trick or Treat night.Some people celebrate Beggars’ Night as Irish children did in the 17thcentury. They dress up as ghosts and witches and go into the streets tobeg. And children go from house to house and say: “Trick or treat!”,meaning “Give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you”. Some groups of“ghosts” chant Beggars’ Night rhymes: Trick or treat, Smell our feet. We want something Good to eat. In big cities Halloween celebrations often include special decoratingcontests. Young people are invited to soap shop-windows, and they getprizes for the best soap-drawings. In old times, practical jokes were even more elaborate. It was quitenormal to steal gates, block house doors, and cover chimneys with turf sothat smoke could not escape. Blame for resulting chaos was naturally placedon the “spirits”. At Halloween parties the guests wear every kind of costume. Somepeople dress up like supernatural creatures, other prefers historical orpolitical figures. You can also meet pirates, princesses, Draculas,Cinderellas, or even Frankenstein’s monsters at a Halloween festival. At Halloween parties children play traditional games. Many games dateback to the harvest festivals of very ancient times. One of the mostpopular is called bobbing for apples. One child at a time has to get applesfrom a tub of water without using hands. But how to do this? By sinking hisor her face into the water and biting the apple! Another game is pin-the-tail-on-the –donkey. One child is blind foldedand spun slowly so that he or she will become dizzy. Then the child mustfind a paper donkey haging on the wall and try to pin a tail onto the back. And no Halloween party is complete without at least one scary story.It helps too create an air of mystery. Certain fortunetelling methods began in Europe hundreds of years agoand became an important part of Halloween. For example, such object as acoin, a ring, and a thimble were baked into a cake or other food. It wasbelieved that the person who found the coin in the cake would becomewealthy. The one who found the ring would marry soon, but the person whogot the thimble would never get married. Unfortunately now most people do not believe in evil spirits. Theyknow that evil spirits do not break steps, spill garbage or pull downfences. If property is damaged, they blame naughty boys and girls. Today,Halloween is still a bad night for the police… March 1st is a very important day for Welsh people. It’s St. David’sDay. He’s the “patron” or national saint of Wales. On March 1st, the Welshcelebrate St. Davids Day and wear daffodils in the buttonholes of theircoats or jackets. On February 14th it’s Saint Valentine’s Day in Britain. It is not anational holiday. Banks and offices do not close, but it is a happy littlefestival in honour of St. Valentine. On this day, people send Valentinecards to their husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends. You can alsosend a card to a person you do not know. But traditionally you must neverwrite your name on it. Some British newspapers have got a page forValentine’s Day messages on February 14th. This lovely day is widely celebrated among people of all ages by theexchanging of “valentines”. Saint Valentine was a martyr but this feast goes back to pagan timesand the Roman feast of Lupercalia. The names of young unmarried girls wereput into a vase. The young men each picked a name, and discovered theidentity of their brides. This custom came to Britain when the Romans invaded it. But the churchmoved the festival to the nearest Christian saint’s day: this was SaintValentine’s Day. Midsummer’s Day, June 24th, is the longest day of the year. On thatday you can see a very old custom at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England.Stonehenge is on of Europe’s biggest stone circles. аlot of the stones areten or twelve metres high. It is also very old. The earliest part ofStonehenge is nearly 5,000 years old. But what was Stonehenge? а holyplace? аmarket? Or was it a kind of calendar? Many people think that theDruids used it for a calendar. The Druids were the priests in Britain 2,000years ago. They used the sun and the stones at Stonehenge to know the startof months and seasons. There are Druids in Britain today, too. And everyJune 24th a lot of them go to Stonehenge. On that morning the sun shines onone famous stone – the Heel stone. For the Druids this is a very importantmoment in the year. But for a lot of British people it is just a strangeold custom. Londoners celebrate carnivals. And one of them is Europe’s biggeststreet carnival. аlot of people in the Notting Hill area of London comefrom the West Indies – a group of islands in the Caribbean. And for twodays in August, Nutting Hill is the West Indies. There is West Indian foodand music in the streets. There is also a big parade and people dance dayand night. April 1st is April Fool’s Day in Britain. This is a very old traditionfrom the Middle Ages (between the fifth and fifteenth centuries). At thattime the servants were masters for one day of the year. They gave orders totheir masters, and their masters had to obey. Now April Fool’s Day is different. It is a day for jokes and tricks. One of the most interesting competitions is the university boat race. Oxford and Cambridge are Britain’s two oldest universities. In thenineteenth century, rowing was a popular sport at both of them. In 1829they agreed to have a race. They raced on the river Thames and the Oxfordboat won. That started a tradition. Now, every Spring, the University BoatRace goes from Putney to Mortlake on the Thames. That is 6,7 kilometres.The Cambridge rowers wear light blue shirts and the Oxford rowers wear darkblue. There are eight men in each boat. There is also a “cox”. The coxcontrols the boat. Traditionally coxes are men, but Susan Brown became thefirst woman cox in 1981. She was the cox for Oxford and they won. An annual British tradition, which captures the imagination of thewhole nation is the London to Brighton Car Rally in which a fleet ofancient cars indulges in a lighthearted race from the Capital to the Coast. When the veteran cars set out on the London – Brighton run eachNovember, they are celebrating one of the great landmarks in the history ofmotoring in Britain – the abolition of the rule that every “horselesscarriage” had to be preceded along the road by a pedestrian. This extremelyirksome restriction, imposed by the Locomotives on Highways Act, waswithdrawn in 1896, and on November of that year there was a rally of motor-cars on the London - Brighton highway to celebrate the first day of freedom– Emancipation Day, as it has known by motorists ever since. Emancipation is still on the first Sunday of the month, but nowadaysthere is an important condition of entry – every car taking part must be atleast 60 years old. The Run is not a race. Entrants are limited to a maximum average speedof 20 miles per hour. The great thing is not speed but quality ofperformance, and the dedicated enthusiasts have a conversation all theirown. The Highland Games – this sporting tradition is Scottish. In theHighlands (the mountains of Scotland) families, or “clans”, started theGames hundreds of years ago. Some of the sports are the Games are international: the high jump andthe long jump, for example. But other sports happen only at the HighlandGames. One is tossing the caber. “Tossing” means throwing, and a “caber” isa long, heavy piece of wood. In tossing the caber you lift the caber (itcan be five or six metres tall). Then you throw it in front of you. At the Highland Games a lot of men wear kilts. These are traditionalScottish skirts for men. But they are not all the same. Each clan has adifferent “tartan”. That is the name for the pattern on the kilt. So at theHighland Games there are traditional sports and traditional instrument –the bagpipes. The bagpipes are very loud. They say Scots soldier playedthem before a battle. The noise frightened the soldiers on other side. The world’s most famous tennis tournament is Wimbledon. It started ata small club in south London in the nineteenth century. Now a lot of thenineteenth century traditions have changed. For example, the women playersdon’t have to wear long skirts. And the men players do not have to wearlong trousers. But other traditions have not changed at Wimbledon. Thecourts are still grass, and visitors still eat strawberries and cream. Thelanguage of tennis has not changed either. There are some British traditions and customs concerning their privatelife. The British are considered to be the world’s greatest tea drinkers.And so tea is Britain’s favourite drink. The English know how to make teaand what it does for you. In England people say jokingly: ‘The test of goodtea is simple. If a spoon stands up in it, then it is strong enough; if thespoon starts to wobble, it is a feeble makeshift’. Every country has its drinking habits, some of which are general andobvious, others most peculiar. Most countries also have a national drink.In England the national is beer, and the pub “pub”, where people talk, eat,drink, meet their friends and relax. The word “pub” is short for “public house”. Pubs sell beer. (Britishbeer is always warm). An important custom in pubs is “buying a round”. In agroup, one person buys all the others a drink. This is a “round”. Then oneby one all the people buy rounds, too. If they are with friends, Britishpeople sometimes lift their glasses before they drink and say: “Cheers”.This means “Good luck”. In the pubs in south-west England there is another traditional drink-scrumpy. Pub names often have a long tradition. Some come from the thirteenthor fourteenth century. Every pub has a name and every pub has a sign aboveits door. The sign shows a picture of the pub’s name. And as you know, the British talk about the weather a lot. They talkabout the weather because it changes so often. Wind, rain, sun, cloud, snow– they can all happen in a British winter – or a British summer. Hundreds of years ago, soldiers began this custom. They shook hands toshow that they did not have a sword. Now, shaking hands is a custom in mostcountries. Frenchman shake hands every time they meet, and kiss each other onboth cheeks as a ceremonial salute, like the Russians, while Englishmenshake hands only when they are introduced, or after a long absence. Victorian England made nearly as many rules about hand shaking as theChinese did about bowing. аman could not offer his hand first a lady;young ladies did not shake men’s hands at all unless they were old friends;married ladies could offer their hands in a room, but not in public, wherethey would bow slightly. I have chosen the topic British customs traditions because I enjoylearning the English language and wanted to know more about British ways oflife and traditions. Working on this topic I have to conclusion thatBritish people are very conservative. They are proud pf their traditionsand carefully keep them up. It was interesting to know that foreignerscoming to England are stuck at once by quite a number of customs andpeculiarities. So I think of Britain as a place a lot of different types of peoplewho observe their traditions. Литература: 1. Голицынский Ю. “Great Britain” изд. «Каро» г. С.-Петербург, 1999г.; 2. Колуфман К.И. «Страницы Британской истории» изд. «Титул» г. Обнинск, 1999г.; 3. Костенко Г.Т. “Reader for summer” изд. «Просвещение» г. Москва 1985г.; 4. Миньяр-Белоручева А.П. «Английский язык для абитуриентов и школьников» изд. «Московский лицей» 1999г.; 5. Ощепкова В.В. “Britain in Brief” изд. «Лист» г. Москва 1999г.; 6. Рис-Пармен “Christmas”, журнал «Англия» №69 стр. 113-119; 7. Рис-Парнал Хиларн “Hello and goodbye”, журнал «Англия» №73 стр. 115- 117; 8. Рис-Парнал «Рождество», журнал «Англия» №77 стр.107-109; 9. Стивен Раблей “Customs and traditions in Britain” изд. “Longman Group”, ИК, 1996г.; 10. Усова Г.С. “British history” изд. «Лань» г. С.-Петербург 1999г.; 11. Хишунина Т.Н. “Customs, traditions and holidays in Britain” изд. «Просвещение» г.С.-Петербург 1975г.; 12. 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