Реферат: Традиции и праздники Англии

Traditions and holidays ofGreat Britain.

Every nation and everycountry has its own traditions and customs. Traditions make a nation special.Some of them are old-fashioned and many people remember them, others are partof people’s life. Some British customs and traditions are known all the world.

From Scotland to Cornwall, Britain is full of customsand traditions. A lot of them have very long histories. Some are funny and someare strange. But they are all interesting. There is the long menu of traditionalBritish food. There are many royal occasions. There are songs, saying andsuperstitions. They are all part of the British way of life.

You cannot really imagine Britain without all itstraditions, this integral feature of social and private life of the peopleliving on the British Isles that has always been an important part of theirlife and work.

English traditions can classified into several groups:traditions concerning 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, traditionalceremonies.

What about royal traditions? There are numerous royaltraditions in Britain, some are ancient, others are modern.

The Queen is the only person in Britain with twobirthdays. Her real birthday is on April 21st, but she has an“official” birthday, too. That is on the second Saturday in June. And on theQueen’s official birthday, there is a traditional ceremony called the Troopingof the Colour. It is a big parade with brass bands and hundreds of soldiers atHorse Guard’s Parade in London. A “regiment” of the Queen’s soldiers, theGuards, march in front of her. At the front of the parade there is theregiment’s flag or “colour”. Thousands of Londoners and visitors watch in HorseGuards’ Parade. And millions of people at home watch it on television. Thiscustom is not very old, but it is for very old people. On his or her onehundredth birthday, a British person gets a telegram with congratulations fromthe Queen.

Thechanging of the Guard happens every day at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s homein London. The ceremony always attracts a lot of spectators – Londoners as wellas visitors – to the British capital.

So soldiers stand on front of the palace. Each morningthese soldiers (the “guard”) change. One group leaves and anotherarrives. In summer and winter tourists stand outside the palace at 11:30 everymorning and watch the Changing of the Guard.

Traditionally the Queen opens Parliament every autumn.But Parliament, not the Royal Family, controls modern Britain. The Queentravels from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a gold carriage –the Irish 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 from theCrown Jewels, too.

Every year, there is a new Lord Mayor of London. TheMayor is the city’s traditional leader. And the second Saturday in November isalways the day for the Lord Mayor’s Show. This ceremony is over six hundredyears old. It is also London’s biggest parade.

The Lord Mayor drives tothe Royal Courts of Justice in a coach. The coach is two hundred years old. Itis red and gold and it has six horses.

As it is also a big parade, people make specialcostumes and act stories from London’s history.

In Britain as in other countries costumes and uniformshave a long history.

One is the uniform of the Beefeaters at the tower ofLondon. This came first from France. Another is the uniform of the Horse Guardsat Horse Guard’s Parade, not far from Buckingham Palace. Thousands of visitorstake photographs of the Horse Guards.

Britannia is a symbol of Britain. And she wearstraditional clothes, too. But she is not a real person.

Lots of ordinary clothes have a long tradition. Thefamous bowler hat, for example. A man called Beaulieu made the first one in1850.

One of the British soldiers, Wellington, gave his nameto a pair of boots. They have a shorter name today – “Wellies”.

There is a very specialroyal tradition. On the River Thames there are hundreds of swans. A lot ofthese beautiful white birds belong, traditionally, to the king or queen. InJuly the young swans on the Thames are about two months old. Then the Queen’sswan keeper goes, in a boat, from London Bridge to Henley. He looks at all theyoung swans and marks the royal ones. The name of this strange nut interestingcustom is Swan Upping.

There are only six publicholidays a year in Great Britain, that is days on which people need not go into work. They are: Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Spring BankHoliday and Late Summer Bank Holiday, Boxing Day.

So the most popular holidayin Britain is Christmas. Christmas has been celebrated from the earliest daysof recorded history, and each era and race has pasted a colourful sheet of newcustoms and traditions over the old.

On the Sunday before Christmas many churches hold acarol service where special hymns are sung. Sometimes carol singers can beheard in the streets as they collect money for charity. There are a lot of verypopular British Christmas carols. Three famous ones are: “Good KingWenceslas”, “The Holly and The Ivy” and “We Three Kings”.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people all overthe world send and receive Christmas cards. Most of people think thatexchanging cards at Christmas is a very ancient custom but it is not right. Infact it is barely 100 years old. The idea of exchanging illustrated greetingand presents is, however, ancient. So the first commercial Christmas card wasproduced in Britain in 1843 by Henry Cole, founder of the Victoria and AlbertMuseum, London. The handcoloured print was inscribed with the words ’A MerryChristmas and A Happy New Year to you’. It was horizontally rectangular inshape, printed on stout cardboard by lithography.

A traditional feature of Christmas in Britain is theChristmas tree. Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, brought the Germantradition (he was German) to Britain. He and the Queen had a Christmas tree atWindsor Castle in 1841. A few years after, nearly every house in Britain hadone. Traditionally people decorate their trees on Christmas Eve – that’sDecember 24th. They take down the decorations twelve days later, onTwelfth Night (January 5th).

An older tradition is Christmas mistletoe. People puta piece of this green plant with its white berries over a door. Mistletoebrings good luck, people say. Also, at Christmas British people kiss theirfriends and family under the mistletoe.

Those who live away try to get back home becauseChristmas is a family celebration and it is the biggest holiday of the year. AsChristmas comes nearer, everyone is buying presents for relatives and friends.At Christmas people try to give their children everything they want. And thechildren count the weeks, than the days, to Christmas. They are wondering whatpresents on December 24th. Father Christmas brings their presents inthe night. 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. Inthe traditional 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 him inNovember and December. Then on Christmas Eve he visits every house. He climbsdown the chimney and leaves lots of presents. Some people leave something forhim, too. A glass of wine and some biscuits, for example.

At Christmas everyone decorates their houses withholly, ivy colourful lamps.

In Britain the most important meal on December 25this Christmas dinner. 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 traditional meatat Christmas. But not now.

A twentieth-century British Christmas dinner is roastturkey with carrots, potatoes, peas, Brussels sprouts and gravy. There aresausages and bacon, too. Then, after the turkey, there’s Christmas pudding.Some people make this pudding months before Christmas. A lot of families havetheir own Christmas pudding recipes. Some, for example, use a lot of brandy.Others put 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 trees havered berries at Christmas time, and so people use holly to decorate their housesfor Christmas. The holly on the pudding is part of the decoration.

Crackers are also usual at Christmas dinner. Thesecame to Britain from China in the nineteenth century. Two people pull acracker. Usually there is a small toy in the middle. Often there is a joke on apiece of paper, too. Most of the jokes in Christmas crackers are not very good.Here is on example:

Customer: Waiter, there’s a frog in my soup.

Waiter: Yes, sir, the fly’s on holidays.

A pantomime is a traditional English entertainment atChristmas. It is meant for children, but adults enjoy is just as much. It is avery old form of entertainment, and can be traced back to 16thcentury Italian comedies. There have been a lot of changes over the years.Singing and dancing and all kinds of jokes have been added; but the storiesthat are told are still fairy tales, with a hero, a heroine, and a villain.

In every pantomime there are always three maincharacters. These are the “principal boy”, the “principal girl”,and the “dame”. Pantomimes are changing all the time. Every year,someone has a new idea to make them more exciting or more up-to-date.

December 26th is Boxing Day. Traditionallyboys from the shops in each town asked for money at Christmas. They went fromhouse to house on December 26th and took boxes made of wood withthem. At each house people gave them money. This was a Christmas present. Sothe name of December 26th doesn’t come from the sport of boxing – itcomes from the boys’ wooden boxes. Now, Boxing Day is an extra holiday afterChristmas Day.

Traditionally Boxing Day Hunts is a day forfoxhunting. The huntsmen and huntswomen ride horses. They use dogs, too. Thedogs (fox hounds) follow the smell of the fox. Then the huntsmen and huntswomenfollow the hounds. Before a Boxing Day hunt, the huntsmen and huntswomen drinknot wine. But the tradition of the December 26th hunt is changing.Now, some people want to stop Boxing Day Hunts (and other hunts, too). Theydon’t like foxhunting. For them it’s not a sport – it is cruel.

In England people celebrate the New Year. But it isnot as widely or as enthusiastically observed as Christmas. Some people ignoreit completely and go to bed at the same time as usual on New Year’s Eve. Manyothers, however, do celebrate it in one way or another, the type of celebrationvarying very much according to the local custom, family tradition and personaltaste.

The most common type of celebration is a New Yearparty, either a family party or one arranged by a group of young people. Andanother popular way of celebrating the New Year is to go to a New Year’s dance.

The most famous celebration is in London round thestatue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus where crowds gather and sing and welcomethe New Year. In Trafalgar Square there is also a big crowd and someone usuallyfalls into the fountain.

Every Year the people of Norway give the city ofLondon a present. It’s a big Christmas tree and it stands in Trafalgar Square.Also in central London, Oxford Street and Regent Street always have beautifuldecorations at the New Year and Christmas. Thousands of people come to look atthem.

In Britain a lot of people make New Year Resolutionson the evening of December 31st. For example, “I’ll get up earlyevery morning next year”, or “I’ll clean, my shoes every day”. Butthere is a problem. Most people forget their New Year Resolutions on January 2nd.

But New Year’s Eve is a more important festival inScotland then it is in England, and it even has a special name. It is not clearwhere the ‘Hogmanay’ comes from, but it is connected with the provision of foodand drink for all visitors to your home on 31st December.

There is a Scottish songthat is sung all over the world at midnight on New Year’s Eve. It was writtenby Robert Burns, the famous Scottish poet, and you may find some of thetraditional words a bit difficult to understand, but that’s the way it’s alwayssung – even by English people!

It was believed that the first person to visit one’shouse on New Year’s Day could bring good or bad luck. Therefore, people triedto arrange for the person of their own choice to be standing outside theirhouses ready to be let in the moment midnight had come.

Usually a dark-complexioned man was chosen, and nevera woman, for she would bring bad luck. The first footer was required to carrythree articles: 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 “FirstFooting”.

On Bank holiday the townsfolk usually flock into thecountry and to the coast. If the weather is fine many families take a picnic –lunch or tea with them and enjoy their meal in the open. Seaside towns nearLondon, such as Southend, are invaded by thousands of trippers who come in carsand coaches, 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, candy floss,tea, fizzy drinks, everything you can imagine.

Bank holiday is also an occasion for big sports meetingat places like the White City Stadium, mainly all kinds of athletics. There arealso horse race meetings all over the country, and most traditional of all,there are large fairs with swings, roundabouts, a Punch and Judy show, hoop-lastalls and every kind of side-show including, in recent, bingo. There is alsomuch boating activity on the Thames.

Although the Christian religion gave the world Easteras we know it today, the celebration owes its name and many of its customs andsymbols to a pagan festival called Eostre. Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess ofspringtime and sunrise, got her name from the world east, where the sunrises.Every spring northern European peoples celebrated the festival of Eostre tohonour the awakening of new life in nature. Christians related the rising ofthe sun to the resurrection of Jesus and their own spiritual rebirth.

Many modern Easter symbols come from pagan time. Theegg, for instance, was a fertility symbol long before the Christian era. Theancient Persians, Greeks and Chinese exchanged eggs at their sping festivals.In Christian times the egg took on a new meaning symbolizing the tomb fromwhich Christ rose. The ancient custom of dyeing eggs at Easter time is stillvery popular.

The Easter bunny also originated in pre-Christianfertility lore. The rabbit was the most fertile animal our ances tors knew, sothey selected it as a symbol of new life. Today, children enjoy eating candybunnies and listening to stories about the Easter bunny, who supposedly bringsEaster eggs in a fancy basket.

Also there is a spectacular parade on Easter. It is atruly spectacular Easter Parade in Battersea Park. It is sponsored by theLondon Tourist Board and is usually planned around a central theme related tothe history and attractions of London. The great procession, or parade, beginsat 3 p.m. but it is advisable to find a vantage-point well before that hour.

On October 31st British people celebrateHalloween. It is undoubtedly the most colourful and exciting holiday of theyear. Though it is not a public holiday, it is very dear to those who celebrateit, especially to children and teenagers. This day was originally called AllHallow’s Eve because it fell on the eve of All Saints’ Day. The name was latershortened to Halloween. According to old beliefs, Halloween is the time, whenthe veil 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. Halloweenis a time for fun.

Few holidays tell us much of the past as Halloween.Its origins dateback to a time, when people believed in devils, witches andghosts. Many Halloween customs are based on beliefs of the ancient Celts, wholived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, andnorthern France.

Every year the Celts celebrated the Druid festival ofSamhain, Lord of the Dead and Prince of Darkness. It fell on October 31, theeve of the Druid new year. The date marked the end of summer, or the time whenthe sun retreated before the powers of darkness and the reign of the Lord ofDeath began. The Dun god took part in the holiday and received thanks for theyear’s harvest.

It was believed that evil spirits sometimes playedtricks on October 31. They could also do all kinds of damage to property. Somepeople tried to ward of the witches by painting magic signs on their barns.Others tried to frighten them away by nailing a piece of iron, such as ahorseshoe, over the door.

Many fears and superstitions grew up about this day.An old Scotch superstition was that witches – those who had sold their souls tothe devil – left in their beds on Halloween night a stick made by magic to looklike themselves. Then they would fly up the chime attended by a black cat.

In Ireland, and some other parts of Great Britain, itwas believed, that fairies spirited away young wives, whom they returned dazedand amnesic 366 days later.

When Halloween night fell, people in some placesdressed up and tried to resemble the souls of the dead. They hoped that theghosts would leave peacefully before midnight. They carried food to the edge oftown or village and left it for the spirits.

In Wales, they believed that the devil appeared in theshape of a pig, a horse, or a dog. On that night, every person marked a stoneand put it in a bonfire. If a person’s stone was missing the next morning, heor she would die within a year.

Much later, when Christianity came to Great Britainand Ireland, the Church wisely let the people keep their old feast. But it gaveit a new association when in the 9th century a festival in honour ofall saints (All Hallows) was fixed on November 1. In the 11thcentury November 2 became All Souls’ Day to honour the souls of the dead,particularly those who died during the year.

Christian tradition included the lighting of bonfiresand carring blazing torches all around the fields. In some places masses offlaming staw 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 ancienttraditions, though their significance has long since disappeared.

A favourite Halloween custom is to make ajack-j’-lantern. Children take out the middle of the pumpkin, cut hole holesfor the eyes, nose and mouth in its side and, finally, they put a candle insidethe pumpkin to scare their friends. The candle burning inside makes the orangeface visible from far away on a dark night – and the pulp makes a deliciouspumpkin-pie.

People in England and Ireland once carved out beets,potatoes, and turnips to make jack-o’-lanterns on Halloween. When the Scots andIrish came 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 Irishlegend, jack-o’-lanterns were named for a man called Jack who was notorious forhis drunkenness and being stingy. One evening at the local pub, the Devilappeared to take his soul. Clever Jack persuaded the Devil to “have one drinktogether before we go”. To pay for his drink the Devil turned himself into asixpence. Jack immediately put it into his wallet. The Devil couldn’t escapefrom it because it had a catch in the form of a cross. Jack released the Devilonly when the latter promised to leave him in peace for another year. Twelvemonths later, Jack played another practical joke on the Devil, letting him downfrom a tree only on the promise that he would never purse him again. Finally,Jack’s body wore out. He could not enter heaven because he was a miser. Hecould not 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 the dark.He put it into a turnip and, as the story goes, is still wandering around theearth with his lantern.

Halloween is something called Beggars’ Night or Trickor Treat night. Some people celebrate Beggars’ Night as Irish children did inthe 17th century. They dress up as ghosts and witches and go intothe streets to beg. And children go from house to house and say: “Trick ortreat!”, meaning “Give me a treat or I’ll play a trick on you”. Somegroups of “ghosts” chant Beggars’ Night rhymes:

Trick or treat,

Smell our feet.

We want something

Good to eat.

In big cities Halloweencelebrations often include special decorating contests. Young people areinvited to soap shop-windows, and they get prizes for the best soap-drawings.

In old times, practical jokes were even moreelaborate. It was quite normal to steal gates, block house doors, and coverchimneys with turf so that smoke could not escape. Blame for resulting chaoswas naturally placed on the “spirits”.

At Halloween parties the guests wear every kind ofcostume. Some people dress up like supernatural creatures, other prefershistorical or political 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 date back to the harvest festivals of very ancient times. One of themost popular is called bobbing for apples. One child at a time has to getapples from a tub of water without using hands. But how to do this? By sinkinghis or her face into the water and biting the apple!

Another game is pin-the-tail-on-the –donkey. One childis blind folded and spun slowly so that he or she will become dizzy. Then thechild must find a paper donkey haging on the wall and try to pin a tail ontothe back.

And no Halloween party is complete without at leastone scary story. It helps too create an air of mystery.

Certain fortunetelling methods began in Europehundreds of years ago and became an important part of Halloween. For example,such object as a coin, a ring, and a thimble were baked into a cake or otherfood. It was believed that the person who found the coin in the cake wouldbecome wealthy. 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 evilspirits. They know that evil spirits do not break steps, spill garbage or pulldown fences. 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 Welshpeople. It’s St. David’s Day. He’s the “patron” or national saint of Wales. OnMarch 1st, the Welsh celebrate St. Davids Day and wear daffodils inthe buttonholes of their coats or jackets.

On February 14th it’s Saint Valentine’s Dayin Britain. It is not a national holiday. Banks and offices do not close, butit is a happy little festival in honour of St. Valentine. On this day, peoplesend Valentine cards to their husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends. Youcan also send a card to a person you do not know. But traditionally you mustnever write 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 ofall ages by the exchanging of “valentines”.

Saint Valentine was a martyr but this feast goes backto pagan times and the Roman feast of Lupercalia. The names of young unmarriedgirls were put into a vase. The young men each picked a name, and discoveredthe identity of their brides.

This custom came to Britain when the Romans invadedit. But the church moved the festival to the nearest Christian saint’s day:this was Saint Valentine’s Day.

Midsummer’s Day, June 24th, is the longestday of the year. On that day you can see a very old custom at Stonehenge, inWiltshire, England. Stonehenge is on of Europe’s biggest stone circles. A lotof the stones are ten or twelve metres high. It is also very old. The earliestpart of Stonehenge is nearly 5,000 years old. But what was Stonehenge? A holyplace? A market? 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 start ofmonths and seasons. There are Druids in Britain today, too. And every June 24tha lot of them go to Stonehenge. On that morning the sun shines on one famousstone – the Heel stone. For the Druids this is a very important moment in theyear. But for a lot of British people it is just a strange old custom.

Londoners celebrate carnivals. And one of them isEurope’s biggest street carnival. A lot of people in the Notting Hill area ofLondon come from the West Indies – a group of islands in the Caribbean. And fortwo days 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 day andnight.

April 1st is April Fool’s Day in Britain.This is a very old tradition from the Middle Ages (between the fifth andfifteenth centuries). At that time the servants were masters for one day of theyear. They gave orders to their masters, and their masters had to obey.

Now April Fool’s Day is different. It is a day for jokesand tricks.

One of the most interesting competitions is theuniversity boat race.

Oxford and Cambridge are Britain’s two oldestuniversities. In the nineteenth century, rowing was a popular sport at both ofthem. In 1829 they agreed to have a race. They raced on the river Thames andthe Oxford boat won. That started a tradition. Now, every Spring, theUniversity Boat Race goes from Putney to Mortlake on the Thames. That is 6,7kilometres. The Cambridge rowers wear light blue shirts and the Oxford rowerswear dark blue. There are eight men in each boat. There is also a “cox”.The cox controls the boat. Traditionally coxes are men, but Susan Brown becamethe first woman cox in 1981. She was the cox for Oxford and they won.

An annual Britishtradition, which captures the imagination of the whole nation is the London toBrighton Car Rally in which a fleet of ancient cars indulges in a lightheartedrace from the Capital to the Coast.

When the veteran cars set out on the London – Brightonrun each November, they are celebrating one of the great landmarks in thehistory of motoring 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, was withdrawnin 1896, and on November of that year there was a rally of motor-cars on theLondon — Brighton highway to celebrate the first day of freedom – EmancipationDay, as it has known by motorists ever since.

Emancipation is still on the first Sunday of themonth, but nowadays there is an important condition of entry – every car takingpart must be at least 60 years old.

The Run is not a race. Entrants are limited to amaximum average speed of 20 miles per hour. The great thing is not speed butquality of performance, and the dedicated enthusiasts have a conversation alltheir own.

The Highland Games – this sporting tradition isScottish. In the Highlands (the mountains of Scotland) families, or “clans”,started the Games hundreds of years ago.

Some of the sports are the Games are international:the high jump and the long jump, for example. But other sports happen only atthe Highland Games. One is tossing the caber. “Tossing” means throwing,and a “caber” is a long, heavy piece of wood. In tossing the caber youlift the caber (it can be five or six metres tall). Then you throw it in frontof you.

At the Highland Games a lotof men wear kilts. These are traditional Scottish skirts for men. But they arenot all the same. Each clan has a different “tartan”. That is the name for thepattern on the kilt. So at the Highland Games there are traditional sports andtraditional instrument – the bagpipes. The bagpipes are very loud. They sayScots soldier played them before a battle. The noise frightened the soldiers onother side.

The world’s most famous tennis tournament isWimbledon. It started at a small club in south London in the nineteenthcentury. Now a lot of the nineteenth century traditions have changed. Forexample, the women players don’t have to wear long skirts. And the men playersdo not have to wear long trousers. But other traditions have not changed atWimbledon. The courts are still grass, and visitors still eat strawberries andcream. The language of tennis has not changed either.

There are some British traditions and customsconcerning their private life. The British are considered to be the world’sgreatest tea drinkers. And so tea is Britain’s favourite drink. The Englishknow how to make tea and what it does for you. In England people say jokingly:‘The test of good tea is simple. If a spoon stands up in it, then it is strongenough; if the spoon starts to wobble, it is a feeble makeshift’.

Every country has its drinking habits, some of whichare general and obvious, others most peculiar. Most countries also have anational 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. (British beer is always warm). An important custom in pubs is“buying a round”. In a group, one person buys all the others a drink. This is a“round”. Then one by one all the people buy rounds, too. If they are withfriends, British people sometimes lift their glasses before they drink and say:“Cheers”. This means “Good luck”.

In the pubs in south-west England there is anothertraditional drink-scrumpy.

Pub names often have a long tradition. Some come fromthe thirteenth or fourteenth century. Every pub has a name and every pub has asign above its door. The sign shows a picture of the pub’s name.

And as you know, theBritish talk about the weather a lot. They talk about the weather because itchanges so often. Wind, rain, sun, cloud, snow – they can all happen in aBritish winter – or a British summer.

Hundreds of years ago, soldiers began this custom.They shook hands to show that they did not have a sword. Now, shaking hands isa custom in most countries.

Frenchman shake hands every time they meet, and kisseach other on both cheeks as a ceremonial salute, like the Russians, whileEnglishmen shake hands only when they are introduced, or after a long absence.

Victorian England made nearly as many rules about handshaking as the Chinese did about bowing. A man could not offer his hand first alady; young ladies did not shake men’s hands at all unless they were oldfriends; married ladies could offer their hands in a room, but not in public,where they would bow slightly.

I have chosen the topic British customs traditionsbecause I enjoy learning the English language and wanted to know more aboutBritish ways of life and traditions. Working on this topic I have to conclusionthat British people are very conservative. They are proud pf their traditionsand carefully keep them up. It was interesting to know that foreigners comingto England are stuck at once by quite a number of customs and peculiarities.

So I think of Britain as a place a lot of differenttypes of people who observe their traditions.


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