British Traditions and Customs
Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. In Britain traditions play a more important part in the life of the people than in other countries.
English people are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. It has been the law for about three hundred years that on Sundays all the theatres are closed, no letters are delivered, and only a few Sunday papers published.
To this day an English family prefers a hoouse with a garden to a flat in a modern building. Usually there is a lawn next to a house. Holidays are especially rich in old traditions and are different in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England. Christmas is a national holiday in England, and in Scotland it is not so widely celebrated. But six days later, on New Year’s Eve the Scots begin enjoy themselves. People ask their friends to their houses and “sit the Old Year out and the Neew Year in”. When the clock begins to strike twelve, the head of the family goes to the entrance door, opens it wide and holds it open until the last stroke. Then he closes the door. He has let the Ol
A new national tradition has been born in England. Every year a large number of ancient motor-cars and motor-cycles drive from London to Brighton. Veteran cars are those which were made before 1904. Some cars look very funny. Some of them are driven by steam engine and not by petrol. This run from London to Brighton is a colourful demonstration. People are dressed in the clothes of those times. The cars start from Hyde Park early in the morning, the oldest cars leading. It is not a race, and most of the cars do not arrive in Brighton , which is only sixty miles away from London, until the evening. This demonstration takes the place onn the day of the announcement of the law in 1896 which said that a man with a flag had to walk in front of every motor-car when it moved along the streets. These were the early days of motor-cars and people were afraid of them.
On the 5th of November in almost every town and village in England you can see bonfires burning, and fireworks and rockets shooting across the skies. This has been the custom every 5th of November since 16
In 1605 James I was the king of England. He was disliked by many people. Some of his enemies decided to kill him and his ministers by blowing up the Houses of Parliament. Guy Fawkes promised to do it. Guy Fawkes and his friends put firewood and gunpowder in a cellar under the Houses of Parliament.
On the 5th of November before Parliament was over, one of the conspirators got frightened. He wrote a letter about the gunpowder plot to his friend, who was a member of Parliament. The man showed the letter to the king. The cellars were opened. The names of the conspirators were discovered and they were all put to death.
Four times a year the offices and banks in Britain are closed on a Monday. These public holidays are known as Bank Holidays. No offices, factories, schools or shops are open these days. On bank Holidays the British people like to go out from town to the seaside or to amusement parks.
The celebration of May Day (the first of May) probably began with the spring festival in India and Egypt.
In the Middle Ages the most popular custom on May Day was dancing ro
Did you Know that.
. Hyde Park is the largest and finest of London parks? It is famous for its Speaker’s Corner where different kinds of meetings take place and all kinds of people make speeches.
. about 3000 houses and 97 churches were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666?
. The main transport of London is the underground? The London underground is often called the tube, because it looks like a long narrow and dimly lit tube. The London underground stations are old and not attractive to the eye. The London under ground is very long. Its length is more than 250 miles.
. there are many street artists in London who draw their pictures right on the pavements?
. all the business, commercial and government offices in London are built in certain districts? Whitehall is the street of government offices, Fleet Street is the street where the prime Minister lives, Harley Street is the street where prominent doctors have their consulting rooms, Piccadilly Circus is a
. the Tower is guarded by Yeoman Warders? Their uniform is as it was in the 16th century. On state occasions they wear ceremonial dress: red State uniforms with golden and black stripes and a wide lace collar. Every night at 10 p.m. the ceremony of the Keys or locking up the Tower for night takes place.