Public holidays and celebrations (реферат)

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

I. Britain round the calendar.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS

There are only six public holidays a year in Great Britain, that is
days on which people need not go in to work. They are: Christmas Day,
Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and Late
Summer Bank Holiday. In Scotland, the New Year’s Day is also a public
holiday. Most of these holidays are of religious origin, though it would
be right to say that for the greater part of the population they have
long lost their religious significance and are simply days on which
people relax, eat, drink and make merry. All the public holidays, except
Christmas Day and Boxing Day observed on December 25th and 26th
respectively, are movable, that is they do not fall on the same day each
year. Good Friday and Easter Monday depend on Easter Sunday which falls
on the first Sunday after a full moon on or after March 21st. the Spring
Bank Holiday falls on the last Monday of May or on the first Monday of
June, while the Late Summer Bank Holiday comes on the last Monday in
August or on the first Monday in September, depending on which of the
Mondays is nearer to June 1st and September 1st respectively.

Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries and
simply days, for example Pancake Day and Bonfire Night, on which certain
traditions are observed, but unless they fall on a Sunday, they are
ordinary working days.

NEW YEAR

In England the New Year is not as widely or as enthusiastically observed
as Christmas. Some people ignore it completely and go to bed at the same
time as usual on New Year’s Eve. Many others, however, do celebration it
in one way or another, the type of celebration varying very much
according to the local custom, family traditions and personal taste.

The most common type of celebration is a New Year party, either a
family party or one arranged by a group of young people. This usually
begins at about eight o’clock and goes on until the early hours of the
morning. There is a lot of drinking, mainly beer, wine, gin and whisky;
sometimes the hosts make a big bowl of punch which consists of wine,
spirits, fruit juice and water in varying proportions. There is usually
a buffer of cold meat, pies, sandwiches, savouries, cakes and biscuits.
At midnight the wireless is turned on, so that everyone can hear the
chimes of Big Ben, and on the hour a toast is drunk to the New Year.
Then the party goes on.

Another popular way of celebrating the New Year is to go to a New
Year’s dance. Most hotels and dance halls hold a special dance on New
Year’s Eve. The hall is decorated, there are several different bands and
the atmosphere is very gay.

The most famous celebration is in London round the statue of Eros in
Piccadilly Circus where crowds gather and sing and welcome the New Year.
In

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

Trafalgar Square there is also a big crowd and someone usually falls
into the fountain.

Those who have no desire or no opportunity to celebrate the New Year
themselves can sit and watch other people celebrating on television. It
is an indication of the relative unimportance of the New Year in England
that the television producers seem unable to find any traditional
English festivities for their programmers and usually show Scottish
ones.

January 1st, New Year’s Day, is not a public holiday, unfortunately for
those who like to celebrate most of the night. Some people send New Year
cards and give presents but this is not a widespread custom. This is the
traditional time for making “New Year resolutions”, for example, to give
up smoking, or to get up earlier. However, these are generally more
talked about than put into practice.

Also on New Year’s Day the “New Year Honours List” is published in the
newspapers; i.e. a list of those who are to be given honours of various
types – knighthoods, etc.

In Canada New Year’s Day has a long tradition of celebration. New Year’s
Eve in French Canada was (and still is) marked by the custom of groups
of young men, to dress in COLOURful attire and go from house to house,
singing and begging gifts for the poor. New Year’s Day was (and is) a
time for paying calls on friends and neighbours and for asking the
blessing of the head of the family. The early Governors held a public
reception for the men of the community on New Year’s morning, a custom
preserved down to the present day. While New Year’s Day is of less
significance in English Canada than in French Canada, it’s a public
holiday throughout the country. Wide spread merry-making begins on New
Year’s Eve with house parties, dinner dances and special theatre
entertainment. A customary feature of the occasion that suggests the
Scottish contribution to the observation is the especially those that
couldn’t be arranged for Christmas, are held on New Year’s Day. New Year
isn’t such important holiday in England as Christmas. Some people don’t
celebrate it at all.

In USA many people have New Year parties. A party usually begins at
about 8 o’clock and goes on until early morning. At midnight they listen
to the chimes of Big Ben, drink a toast to the New Year and Sing Auld
Lang Syne.

HYPERLINK «http://england-london.narod.ru/041.htm» \t «_blank» In
London crowds usually gather round the statue of Eros in Piccadilly
Circus and welcome the New Year.

There are some traditions on New Year’s Day. One of them is the old
First Footing. The first man to come into the house is very important.
The Englishman believes that he brings luck. This man (not a woman) must
be healthy, young, pretty looking. He brings presents-bread, a piece of
coal or a coin. On the New Year’s Day families watch the old year out
and the New Year in.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

In Scotland the New Year’s Day is also a public holiday. Some people
ignore it completely and 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 celebration varying very much according to the local custom,
family tradition and personal taste.

The most common type of celebration is a New Year party, either a family
party or one arranged by a group of young people. This usually begins at
about eight o’clock and goes on until the early hours of the morning.
There is a lot of drinking, mainly beer, wine, gin and whisky; sometimes
the hosts make a big bowl of punch which consists of wine, spirits,
fruit juice and water in varying proportions. There is usually a buffet
supper of cold meat, pies, sandwiches, savories, cakes and biscuits. At
midnight the wireless is turned on, so that everyone can hear the chimes
of Big Ben, and on the hour a toast is drunk to the New Year. Then the
party goes on.

Hogmanay Celebrations

Hogmanay is a Scottish name for New Year’s Eve, and is a time for
merrymaking, the giving of presents and the observance of the old custom
of First – Footing. One of the most interesting of Scottish Hogmanay
celebrations is the Flambeaux Procession at Comrie, Perthshire. Such
processions can be traced back to the time of the ancient Druids. There
is a procession of townsfolk in fancy dress carrying large torches. They
are led by pipers. When the procession has completed its tour, the
flambeaux (torches) are thrown into a pile, and everyone dances around
the blaze until the torches have burned out.

The Night of Hogmanay

Nowhere else in Britain is the arrival of the New Year celebrated so
wholeheartedly as in Scotland.

Throughout Scotland, the preparations for greeting the New Year start
with a minor “spring-cleaning”. Brass and silver must be glittering and
fresh linen must be put on the beds. No routine work may be left
unfinished; stockings must be darned, tears mended, clocks wound up,
musical instruments tuned, and pictures hung straight. In addition, all
outstanding bills are paid, overdue letters written and borrowed books
returned. At least, that is the idea!

Most important of all, there must be plenty of good things to eat.
Innumerable homes “reek of celestial grocery” – plum puddings and
currant buns, spices and cordials, apples and lemons, tangerines and
toffee. In mansion and farmhouse, in suburban villa and city tenement,
the table is spread with festive fare. Essential to Hogmanay are “cakes
and kebbuck” (oatcakes and cheese), shortbread, and either black bun or
currant loaf. There are flanked with bottles of wine and the “mountain
dew” that is the poetic name for whisky.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

In the cities and burghs, the New Year receives a communal welcome, the
traditional gathering-place being the Mercat Cross, the hub and symbol
of the old burgh life. In Edinburgh, however, the crowd has slid a few
yards down the hill from the Mercat Cross to the Tron Kirk – being lured
thither, no doubt, by the four-faced clock in the tower. As the night
advances, Princes Street becomes as thronged as it normally is at noon,
and there is growing excitement in the air. Towards midnight, all steps
turn to the Tron Kirk, where a lively, swaying crowd awaits “the Chaplin
o’ the Twal” (the striking of 12 o’clock). As the hands of the clock in
the tower approach the hour, a hush falls on the waiting throng, the
atmosphere grows tense, and then suddenly there comes a roar from a
myriad throats. The bells forth, the sirens scream – the New Year is
born!

Many families prefer to bring in the New Year at home, with music or
dancing, cards or talk. As the evening advances, the fire is piled high
– for the brighter the fire, the better the luck. The members of the
household seat themselves round the hearth, and when the hands of the
clock approach the hour, the head of the house rises, goes to the main
door, opens it wide, and holds it thus until the last stroke of midnight
has died away. Then he shuts it quietly and returns to the family
circle. He has let the Old Year out and the New Year in. now greetings
and small gifts are exchanged, glasses are filled – and already the
First-Footers are at the door.

The First-Footer, on crossing the threshold, greets the family with “A
gude New Year to ane and a’!” or simply “A Happy New Year!” and pours
out a glass from the flask he carries. This must be drunk to the dregs
by the head of the house, who, in turn, pours out a glass for each of
his visitors. The glass handed to the First-Footer himself must also be
drunk to the dregs. A popular toast is:

“Your good health!”

The First-Footers must take something to eat as well as to drink, and
after an exchange of greetings they go off again on their rounds.

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY – FEBRUARY 14

I’ll be your sweetheart, if you will be mine,

All of my life I’ll be your Valentine …

It’s here again, the day when boys and girls, sweethearts and lovers,
husbands and wives, friends and neighbours, and even the office staff
will exchange greetings of affections, undying love or satirical
comment. And the quick, slick, modern way to do it is with a Valentine
card.

There are all kinds, to suit all tastes, the lush satin cushions, boxed
and be-ribboned, the entwined hearts, gold arrows, roses, cupids,
doggerel rhymes, sick sentiment and sickly sentimentality – it’s all
there. The publishers made sure it was there, as Mr Punch complained,
“there weeks in advance!”

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

In his magazine, Punch, as long ago as 1880 he pointed out that no
sooner was the avalanche of Christmas cards swept away than the
publishers began to fill the shops with their novel valentines, full of
“Hearts and Darts, Loves and Doves and Floating Fays and Flowers”.

It must have been one of these cards which Charles Dickens describes in
Pickwick Papers. It was “a highly coloured representation of a couple of
human hearts skewered together with an arrow, cooking before a cheerful
fire” and “superintending the cooking” was a “highly indelicate young
gentleman in a pair of wings and nothing else”.

In the last century, sweet-hearts of both sexes would spend hours
fashioning a homemade card or present. The results of some of those
painstaking efforts are still preserved in museums. Lace, ribbon, wild
flowers, coloured paper, feathers and shells, all were brought into use.
If the aspiring (or perspiring) lover had difficulty in thinking up a
message or rhyme there was help at hand. He could dip into the quiver of
Love or St. Valentine’s Sentimental Writer, these books giving varied
selections to suit everyone’s choice. Sam Weller, of Pick wick Papers
fame, took an hour and a half to write his “Valentine”, with much
blotting and crossing out and warnings from his father not to descend to
poetry.

The first Valentine of all was a bishop, a Christian martyr, who before
the Romans put him to death sent a note of friendship to his jailer’s
blind daughter.

The Christian Church took for his saint’s day February 14; the date of
an old pagan festival when young Roman maidens threw decorated love
missives into an urn to be drawn out by their boy friends.

A French writer who described how the guests of both sexes drew lots
for partners by writing down names on pieces of paper noted this idea of
lottery in 17th century England. “It is all the rage,” he wrote.

But apparently to bring the game into a family and friendly atmosphere
one could withdraw from the situation by paying a forfeit, usually a
pair of gloves.

One of the older versions of a well-known rhyme gives the same picture:

The rose is red, the violets are blue,

The honey’s sweet and so are you.

Thou art my love and I am thine.

I drew thee to my Valentine.

The lot was cast and then I drew

And fortune said it should be you.

Comic valentines are also traditional. The habit of sending gifts is
dying out, which must be disappointing for the manufacturers, who
nevertheless still hopefully dish out presents for Valentine’s Day in an
attempt to cash in. and the demand for valentines is increasing.
According to one manufacturer, an estimated 30 million cards will have
been sent by January, 14 – and not all cheap stuff, either.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

“Our cards cost from 6d to 15s 6d”, he says, but “ardent youngsters”
want to pay more.” They can pay more. I saw a red satin heart-shaped
cushion enthroning a “pearl” necklace and earrings for 25s. Another, in
velvet bordered with gold lace, topped with a gilt leaf brooch, was 21s
(and if anyone buys them … well, it must be love!).

There are all kinds:

The sick joke – reclining lady on the front, and inside she will “kick
you in the ear”.

The satirical – “You are charming, witty, intelligent, etc.”, and “if
you believe all this you must be …” – inside the card you find an
animated cuckoo clock.

And the take-off of the sentimental – “Here’s the key to my heart … use
it before I change the lock”.

And the attempts to send a serious message without being too sickly,
ending with variations of “mine” and “thine” and “Valentine”.

So in the 20th century, when there are no longer any bars to
communication between the sexes, the love missives of an older, slower
time, edged carefully over the counters by the publishers and
shopkeepers, still surge through the letter boxes.

PANCAKE DAY

Pancake Day is the popular name for Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding
the first day of Lent. In medieval times the day was characterized by
merrymaking and feasting, a relic of which is the eating of pancakes.
Whatever religious significance Shrove Tuesday may have possessed in the
olden days, it certainly has none now. A Morning Star correspondent who
went to a cross-section of the people he knew to ask what they knew
about Shrove Tuesday received these answers:

“It’s the day when I say to my wife: ‘Why don’t we make pancakes?’ and
she says, ‘No, not this Tuesday! Anyway, we can make them any time.’”

“It is a religious festival the significance of which escapes me. What I
do remember is that it is Pancake Day and we as children used to brag
about how many pancakes we had eaten.”

“It’s pancake day and also the day of the student rags. Pancakes –
luscious, beautiful pancakes. I never know the date – bears some
relationship to some holy day.”

The origin of the festival is rather obscure, as is the origin of the
custom of pancake eating.

Elfrica Viport, in her book on Christian Festivals, suggests that since
the ingredients of the pancakes were all forbidden by the Church during
Lent then they just had to be used up the day before.

Nancy Price in a book called Pagan’s Progress suggests that the pancake
was a “thin flat cake eaten to stay the pangs of hunger before going to
be shriven” (to confession).

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

In his Seasonal Feasts and Festivals E. O. James links up Shrove Tuesday
with the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) festivals or warmer countries. These
jollifications were an integral element of seasonal ritual for the
purpose of promoting fertility and conquering the malign forces of evil,
especially at the approach of spring.”

The most consistent form of celebration in the old days was the
all-over-town ball game or tug-of-war in which everyone let rip before
the traditional feast, tearing here and tearing there, struggling to get
the ball or rope into their part of the town. It seems that several
dozen towns kept up these ball games until only a few years ago.

E. O. James in his book records instances where the Shrove Tuesday
celebrations became pitched battles between citizens led by the local
church authorities.

Today the only custom that is consistently observed throughout Britain
is pancake eating, though here and there other customs still seem to
survive. Among the latter, Pancake Races, the Pancake Greaze custom and
Ashbourne’s Shrovetide Football are the best known. Shrovetide is also
the time of Student Rags.

ST DAVID’S DAY

On the 1st of March each year one can see people walking around London
with leeks pinned to their coats. А leek is the national emblem of
Wales. The many Welsh people who live in London — or in other cities
outside Wales — like to show their solidarity on their national day.

The day is actually called Saint David’s Day, after а sixth century
abbot who became patron saint of Wales. David is the nearest English
equivalent to the saint’s name, Dawi.

The saint was known traditionally as “the Waterman”, which perhaps means
that he and his monks were teetotallers. А teetotaller is someone who
drinks nо kind of alcohol, but it does not mean that he drinks only tea,
as many people seem to think.

In spite of the leeks mentioned earlier, Saint David’s emblem is not
that, but а dove. No one, not even the Welsh, can explain why they took
leek to symbolize their country, but perhaps it was just as well. After
all, they can’t pin а dove to their coat!

MOTHERING SUNDAY (MOTHERS’ DAY)

Mothers’ Day is traditionally observed on the fourth Sunday in Lent (the
Church season of penitence beginning on Ash Wednesday, the day of which
varies from year to year). This is usually in March. The day used to be
known as Mothering Sunday and dates from the time when many girls worked
away from home as domestic servants in big households, where their hours
of work were often very long Mothering Sunday was established as a
holyday for these girls and gave them an

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

opportunity of going home to see their parents, especially their mother.
They used to take presents with them, often given to them by the lady of
the house.

When the labour situation changed and everyone was entitled to regular
time off, this custom remained, although the day is now often called
“Mothers’ Day”. People visit their mothers if possible and give them
flowers and small presents. If they cannot go they send a “Mothers’ Day
card”, or they may send one in any case. The family try to see that the
mother has as little work to do as possible, sometimes

the husband or children take her breakfast in bed and they often help
with the meals and the washing up. It is considered to be mother’s day
off.

St. Patrick’s Day

It is not a national holiday. It’s an Irish religious holiday. St.
Patrick is the patron of Ireland. Irish and Irish Americans celebrate
the day. On the day they decorate their houses and streets with green
shamrocks and wear something green. In large cities long parades march
through the streets. Those who aren’t Irish themselves also wear green
neckties and hair ribbons and take part in the celebration.

ESTER

During the Easter Holidays the attention of the progressive people in
Great Britain and indeed throughout the world is riveted first and
foremost on the Easter Peace Marches, which took place for the first
time in 1958 and have since become traditional. The people who
participate in these marches come from different sections of society.
Alongside workers and students march university professors, doctors,
scientists, and engineers. More often than not the columns are joined by
progressive people from abroad.

The character of the marches has changed over the years. The high-point
was reached in the early sixties; this was followed by a lapse in
enthusiasm when attendance fell off during the middle and late sixties.
More recent years have seen a rise in the number of people attending the
annual Easter March, as global problems have begun to affect the
conscience of a broader section of the English population.

London’s Easter Parade

London greets the spring, and its early visitors, with a truly
spectacular Easter Parade in Battersea Park on Easter Sunday each year.
It is sponsored by the London Tourist Board and is usually planned
around a central theme related to the history and attractions of London.
The great procession, or parade, begins at 3 p. m., but it is

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

advisable to find a vantage-point well before that hour. The parade
consists of a great many interesting and decorated floats, entered by
various organizations in and outside the metropolis. Some of the finest
bands in the country take part in the parade. At the rear of the parade
is usually the very beautiful Jersey float, created from thousands of
lovely spring blooms and bearing the Easter Princess and her attendants.
It is an afternoon to remember.

APRIL FOOLS’ DAY

April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day, named from the custom of playing
practical jokes or sending friends on fools’ errands, on April 1st. Its
timing seems related to the vernal equinox, when nature fools mankind
with sudden changes from showers to sunshine. It is a season when all
people, even the most dignified, are given an excuse to play the fool.
In April comes the cuckoo, emblem of simpletons; hence in Scotland the
victim is called “cuckoo” or “gowk”, as in the verse: On the first day
of April, Hunt the gowk another mile. Hunting the gowk was a fruitless
errand; so was hunting for hen’s teeth, for a square circle or for
stirrup oil, the last-named proving to be several strokes from a leather
strap.

May Day in Great Britain

As May 1st is not a public holiday in Great Britain, May Day
celebrations are traditionally held on the Sunday following it, unless,
of course, the 1st of May falls on a Sunday. On May Sunday workers march
through the streets and hold meetings to voice their own demands and the
demands of other progressive forces of the country. The issues involved
may include demands for higher wages and better working conditions,
protests against rising unemployment, demands for a change in the
Government’s policy, etc.

May Spring Festival

The 1st of May has also to some extent retained its old significance —
that of а pagan spring festival. In ancient times it used to be
celebrated with garlands and flowers, dancing and games on the village
green. А Maypole was erected — a tall pole wreathed with flowers, to
which in later times ribbons were attached and held by the dancers. The
girls put on their best summer frocks, plaited flowers in their hair and
round their waists and eagerly awaited the crowning of the May Queen.
The most beautiful girl was crowned with а garland of flowers. After
this great event Веге was dancing, often Morris dancing, with the
dancers dressed in fancy costume, usually

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

representing characters in the Robin Hood legend. May-Day games and
sports were followed by refreshments in the open.

This festival was disliked by the Puritans and suppressed during the
Commonwealth, 1649 — 60. After the Restoration it was revived but has
gradually almost died out. However, the Queen of May is still chosen in
most counties, and in mаnу villages school Maypoles are erected around
which the children dance. The famous ceremony of the meeting of the 1st
of May still survives at Oxford, in Magdalen College. At 6 o’clock in
the morning the college choir gathers in the upper gallery of the
college tower to greet the coming of the new day with song.

TROOPING ТНE COLOUR

During the month of June, а day is set aside as the Queen’ s official
birthday. This is usually the second Saturday in June. On this day there
takes place on Horse Guards’ Parade in Whitehall the magnificent
spectacle of Trooping the Colour, which begins at about 11.15 а. m.
(unless rain intervenes, when the ceremony is usually postponed until
conditions are suitable).

This is pageantry of rаrе splendour, with the Queen riding side-saddle
on а highly trained horse.

The colours of one of the five regiments of Foot Guards are trooped
before the Sovereign. As she rides on to Horse Guards’ parade the massed
array of the Brigade of Guards, dressed in ceremonial uniforms, await
her inspection.

For twenty minutes the whole parade stands rigidly to attention while
being inspected by the Queen. Then comes the Trooping ceremony itself,
to be followed by the famous March Past of the Guards to the music of
massed bands, at which the Queen takes the Salute. The precision drill
of the regiments is notable.

The ceremony ends with the Queen returning to Buckingham Palace at the
head of her Guards.

The Escort to the Colour, chosen normally in strict rotation, then
mounts guard at the Palace.

Midsummer’s Day

Midsummer’s Day, June 24th, is the longest day of the year. On that day
you can see a very old custom at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England.
Stonehenge is one of Europe’s biggest stone circles. A lot of the stones
are ten or twelve metres high. It’s also very old. The earliest part of
Stonehenge is nearly 5,000 years old.

But what was Stonehenge? A holy place? A market? Or was it a kind of
calendar? We think the Druids used it for a calendar. The Druids were
the priests in Britain 2,000 years ago. They used the sun and the stones
at Stonehenge to know the

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

start of months and seasons. There are Druids in Britain today, too. And
every June 24th a lot of them go to Stonehenge. On that morning the sun
shines on one famous stone — the Heel stone. For the Druids this is a
very important moment in the year. But for a lot of British people it’s
just a strange old custom.

LATE SUMMER BANK HOLIDAY

On Bank Holiday the townsfolk usually flock into the country and to the
coast. If the weather is fine many families take а picnic-lunch or tea
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
and coaches, trains, motor cycles and bicycles. Great amusement parks
like Southend Kursaal do а roaring trade with their scenic railways,
shooting galleries, water-shoots, Crazy Houses, Hunted Houses and so on.
Trippers will wear comic paper hats with slogans such as “Kiss Ме
Quick”, and they will eat and drink the weirdest mixture of stuff you
can imagine, sea food like cockles, mussels, whelks, shrimps and fried
fish and chips, candy floss, beer, tea, soft, drinks, everything you can
imagine.

Bank Holiday is also an occasion for big sports meetings at places like
the White City Stadium, mainly all kinds of athletics. There are also
horse rасe meetings all over the country, and most traditional of all,
there are large fairs with swings, roundabouts, coconut shies, а Punch
and Judy show, hoop-la stalls and every kind of side-show including, in
recent years, bingo. These fairs are pitched on open spaces of common
land, and the most famous of them is the huge one on Hampstead Heath
near London. It is at Hampstead Heath you will see the Pearly Kings,
those Cockney costers (street traders), who wear suits or frocks with
thousands of tiny pearl buttons stitched all over them, also over their
caps and hats, in case of their Queens. They hold horse and cart parades
in which prizes are given for the smartest turn out. Horses and carts
are gaily decorated. Many Londoners will visit Whipsnade Zoo. There is
also much boating activity on the Thames, regattas at Henley and on
other rivers, and the English climate being what it is, it invariably
rains.

Happy Hampstead

August Bank Holiday would not be а real holiday for tens of thousands of
Londoners without the Fair on Hampstead Heath!

Those who know London will know were to find the Heath – that vast
stretch of open woodland which sprawls across two hills, bounded by
Golders Green and Highgate to the west and east, and by Hampstead itself
and Ken Wood to the south and north.

The site of the fair ground is near to Hampstead Heath station. From
that station to the ground runs а broad road which is blocked with а
solid, almost

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

immovable mass of humanity on those days when the fair is open. The walk
is not more than а quarter of а mile, but it takes an average of half-an
hour to cover it when the crowd is at its thickest.

But being on that road is comfortable compared with what it is like
inside the fair ground itself. Неге there are, hundreds of stalls
arranged in broad avenues inside a huge square bounded by the caravans
of the show people and the lorries containing the generating plants
which provide the stalls with their electricity.

The noise is deafening. Mechanical bands and the cries of the “barkers”
(the showmen who stand outside the booths and by the stalls shouting to
the crowds to come and try their luck are equalled by the laughter of
the visitors and the din of machinery.

The visitors themselves are looking for fun, and they find it in full
measure. There are fortune-tellers and rifle-ranges and “bumping cars”,
there are bowling alleys and dart boards and coconut shies. There is
something for everybody.

And for the lucky ones, or for those with more skill than most, there
are prizes — table lamps and clocks and а hundred and one other things
of value.

А visit to the fair at Happy Hampstead is something not easily
forgotten. It is noisy, it is exhausting — but it is as exhilarating an
experience as any in the world.

HENRY WOOD

PROMENADE CONCERTS

“Ladies and gentlemen — the Proms!”

Amongst music-lovers in Britain — and, indeed, in very many other
countries — the period between July and September 21 is а time of
excitement, of anticipation, of great enthusiasm.

We are in the middle of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts — the Proms.

London music-lovers are particularly fortunate, for those who are able
to obtain tickets can attend the concerts in person. Every night at 7
о’clock (Sunday excepted) а vast audience assembled at the Royal Albert
Hall rises for the playing and singing of the National Anthem. А few
minutes later, when seats have been resumed, the first work of the
evening begins.

But even if seats are not to be obtained, the important parts of the
concerts can be heard — and are heard — by а very great number of
people, because the ВВС broadcasts certain principal works every night
throughout the season. The audience reached by this means is estimated
to total several millions in Britain alone, and that total is probably
equalled by the number of listeners abroad.

The reason why such а great audience is attracted is that the Proms
present every year а large repertoire of classical works under the best
conductors and with the best artists. А season provides an anthology of
masterpieces.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

The Proms started in 1895 when Sir Henry Wood formed the Queen’s Hall
Orchestra. The purpose of the venture was to provide classical music to
as many people who cared to come at а price all could afford to pay,
those of lesser means being charged comparatively little — one shilling
— to enter the Promenade, where standing was the rule.

The coming of the last war ended two Proms’ traditions. The first was
that in 1939 it was nо longer possible to perform to London audiences —
the whole organization was evacuated to Bristol. The second was that the
Proms couldn’t return to the Queen’s Hall after the war was over — the
Queen’s Hall had become а casualty of the air-raids (in 1941), and was
gutted.

HALLOWEEN

Halloween means «holy evening» and takes place on October 31st. Although
it is а much more important festival in the USA than in Britain, it is
celebrated by many people in the United Kingdom. It is particularly
connected with witches and ghosts.

At parties people dress up in strange costumes and pretend they are
witches. They cut horrible faces in potatoes and other vegetables and
put а candle inside, which shines through their eyes. People play
different games such as trying to eat an apple from а bucket of water
without using their hands.

In recent years children dressed in white sheets knock on doors at
Halloween and ask if you would like а “trick” or “treat”. If you give
them something nice, а “treat”, they go away. However, if you don’t,
they play а “trick” on you, such as making а lot of noise or spilling
flour on your front doorstep.

GUY FAWKES NIGHT (BONFIRE NIGHT) — NOVEMBER 5

Guy Fawkes Night is one of the most popular festivals in Great Britain.
It commemorates the discovery of the so-called Gunpowder Plot, and is
widely celebrated throughout the country. Below, the reader will find
the necessary information concerning the Plot, which, as he will see,
may never have existed, and the description of the traditional
celebrations.

Gunpowder Plot. Conspiracy to destroy the English Houses of Parliament
and King James I when the latter opened Parliament on Nov. 5, 1605.
Engineered by а group of Roman Catholics as а protest against
anti-Papist measures. In May 1604 the conspirators rented а house
adjoining the House of Lords, from which they dug а tunnel to а vault
below that house, where they stored 36 barrels of gunpowder. It was
planned that when king and parliament were destroyed the Roman Catholics
should attempt to seize power. Preparations for the plot had been
completed when, on October 26, one of the conspirators wrote to а
kinsman, Lord Monteagle, warning

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

him to stay away from the House of Lords. On November 4 а search was
made of the parliament vaults, and the gunpowder was found, together
with Guy Fawkes (1570 — 1606), an English Roman Catholic in the pay of
Spain (which was making political capital out of Roman Catholics
discontent in England). Fawkes had been commissioned to set off the
explosion. Arrested and tortured he revealed the names of the
conspirators, some of whom were killed resisting arrest. Fawkes was
hanged. Detection of the plot led to increased repression of English
Roman Catholics. The Plot is still commemorated by an official
ceremonial search of the vaults before the annual opening of Parliament,
also by the burning of Fawkes’s effigy and the explosion of fireworks
every Nov. 5.

Thanksgiving Day

Every year, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Families and friends get
together for a big feast. It is a legal holiday in the US. Many people
go to church in the morning and at home they have a big dinner with
turkey. People gather to give the God thanks for all the good things in
their lives.

Thanksgiving is the harvest festival. The celebration was held in
1621 after the first harvest in New England. In the end of 1620 the
passengers from the Mayflower landed in America and started settling
there. Only half of the people survived the terrible winter. In spring
the Indians gave the settlers some seeds of Indian corn and the first
harvest was very good. Later, Thanksgiving Days following harvest were
celebrated in all the colonies of New England, but not on the same day.
In October 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national
Thanksgiving. In 191, the US Congress Named fourth Thursday of November
a Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day is a “day of General Thanksgiving
to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been
blessed”. Regular annual observance began in 1879. Since 1957
Thanksgiving Day has been observed on the second Monday in October.

St. Andrew’s Day

In some areas, such as Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire,
and Northamptonshire, St Andrew was regarded as the patron saint of
lace-makers and his day was thus kept as a holiday, or “tendering
feast”, by many in that trade. Thomas Sternberg, describing customs in
mid-19th-century Northampton shire, claims that St Andrew’s Day Old
Style (11 December) was a major festival day “in many out of the way
villages” of the country: “… the day is one of unbridled license- a kind
of carnival; village scholars bar out the master, the lace schools are
deserted, and drinking and feasting prevail to a riotous extent. Towards
evening the villagers walk about and masquerade, the women wearing men’s
dress and the men wearing female

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

attire, visiting one another’s cottages and drinking hot Elderberry
wine, the chief beverage of the season …”. In Leighton Buzzard,
Bedfordshire, a future of the day was the making and eating of Tandry
Wigs. A strange belief reported Wright and Lones dedicate that wherever
lilies of the valley grow wild the parish church is usually to St
Andrew.

CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS

Christmas by Act of Parliament, on the grounds that it was а heathen
festival. At the Restoration Charles II revived the feast.

Though religion in Britain has been steadily losing ground and Christmas
has practically no religious significance for the majority of the
population of modern Britain, it is still the most widely celebrated
festival in all its parts except Scotland. The reason for this is clear.
With its numerous, often rather quaint social customs, it is undoubtedly
the most colourful holiday of the year, and, moreover one that has
always been, even in the days when most people were practising
Christian, а time for eating, drinking and making merry.

However, despite the popularity of Christmas, quite а number of English
people dislike this festival, and even those who seem to celebrate it
wholeheartedly, have certain reservations about it. The main reason for
this is that Christmas has become the most commercialized festival of
the year. The customs and traditions connected with Christmas, for
example giving presents and having а real spree once а year, made it an
easy prey to the retailers, who, using modern methods of advertising,
force the customer to buy what he neither wants nor, often, can
reasonably afford.

It is not only children and members of the family that exchange presents
nowadays. Advertising has widened this circle to include not only
friends and distant relations, but also people you work with. An average
English family sends dozens and dozens of Christmas cards, and gives and
receive almost as many often practically useless presents. For people
who are well off this entails no hardship, but it is no small burden for
families with small budgets. Thus saving up for Christmas often starts
months before the festival, and Christmas clubs have become а national
institution among the working class and lower-middle class. These are
generally run by shopkeepers and publicans over а period of about eight
weeks or longer. Into these the housewives pay each week а certain
amount of money for their Christmas bird

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

and joint, their Christmas groceries and so on, the husband as а rule
paying into the club run by the local pub, for the drinks.

As much of this spending is forced upon people and often means that а
family has to do without things they really need, it inevitably leads to
resentment towards the

festival. Needless to say that it isn’t the old customs and traditions
that are to blame, but those who make huge profits out of the nationwide
spending spree which they themselves had boosted beyond any reasonable
proportion.

The Christmas Pantomime

А pantomime is а traditional English entertainment at Christmas. It is
meant for children, but adults enjoy just as much. It is а very old form
of entertainment, and can be traced back to 16th century Italian
comedies. Harlequin is а character from these old comedies.

There have been а lot of changes over the years. Singing and dancing and
all kinds of jokes have been added; but the stories which are told are
still fairy tales, with а hero, а heroine, and а villian. Because they
are fairy tales we do not have to ask who will win in the end! The hero
always wins the beautiful princess, the fairy queen it triumphant and
the demon king is defeated. In every pantomime there are always three
main characters. These are the “principal boy”, the “principal girl”,
and the “dame”. The principal boy is the hero and he is always played by
а girl. The principal girl is the heroine, who always marries the
principal boy in the end. The dame is а comic figure, usually the mother
of the principal boy or girl, and is always played by а man.

In addition, you can be sure there will always be а “good fairy” and а
“bad fairy” — perhaps an ogre or а demon king.

Pantomimes are changing all the time. Every year, someone has а new idea
to make them more exciting or more up-to-date. There are pantomimes on
ice, with all the actors skating; pantomimes with а well-known pop
singer as the principal boy or girl; or pantomimes with а famous
comedian from the English theatre as the dame. But the old stories
remain, side by side with the new ideas.

BOXING DAY

This is the day when one visits friends, goes for а long walk or just
sits around recovering from too much food — everything to eat is cold.
In the country there are usually Boxing Day Meets (fox- hunting). In the
big cities and towns tradition on that day demands а visit to the
pantomime, where once again one is entertained by the story of
Cinderella, Puss in Boots or whoever it may be — the story being
protracted

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

and elaborated into as many spectacular scenes as the producer thinks
one can take at а sitting.

ELECTING LONDON’S LORD MAYOR

One of the most important functions of the City’s eighty-four Livery
Companies is the election of London’s Lord Mayor at the Guildhall at 12
noon on Michaelmas Day (September 29th). The public are admitted to the
ceremony. It provides one of the many impressive and colourful
spectacles for which London is famed. The reigning Lord Мауоr and
Sheriffs, carrying posies, walk in procession to the Guildhall and take
their places on the dais, which is strewn with sweet-smelling herbs. The
Recorder announces that the representatives of the Livery Companies have
been called together to select two Aldermen for the office of Lord Мауоr
of London. From the selected two, the Court of Aldermen will choose one.
The Мауоr, Aldermen and other senior officials then withdraw, and the
Livery select their two nominations. Usually the choice is unanimous,
and the Liverymen all hold up their hands and shout “All!”. The
Sergeant-at-Arms takes the mace from the table and, accompanied by the
Sheriffs, takes the two names to the Court of Aldermen, who then proceed
to select the Mayor Elect. The bells of the City ring out as the Мауоr
and the Mayor Elect leave the Guildhall the state coach for the Mansion
House.

II. Customs, Weddings, Births and Christenings.

GETTING ENGAGED

In Britain the custom of becoming engaged is still generally retained,
though many young people dispense with it, and the number of such
couples is increasing. As а rule, an engagement is announced as soon as
а girl has accepted а proposal of marriage, but in some cases it is done
а good time afterwards. Rules of etiquette dictate that the girl’s
parents should be the first to hear the news; in practice, however, it
is often the couple’s friends who are taken into confidence before
either of the parents. If а man has not yet met his future in-laws he
does so at the first opportunity, whereas his parents usually write them
а friendly letter. It is then up to the girl’s mother to invite her
daughter’s future in-laws, to а meal or drinks. Quite often, of course,
the man has been а frequent visitor at the girl’s house long before the
engagement, and their families are already well acquainted.

When а girl accepts а proposal, the man generally gives her а ring in
token of the betrothal. It is worn on the third finger of the left hand
before marriage and together with the wedding ring after it. Engagement
rings range from expensive

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

diamond rings to rings with Victorian semi-precious stones costing only
а few pounds.

In most cases the engagement itself amounts only to announcements being
made to the parents on both sides and to friends and relations, but some
people arrange an engagement party, and among the better-off people it
is customary to put an announcement in the newspaper.

In the book Etiquette the author writes that “as soon as congratulations
and the first gaieties of announcement are over, а man should have а
talk with the girl’s father about the date of their wedding, where they
will live, how well off he is and his future plans and prospects”.
Nowadays this is often not done, one of the reasons being that today the
young people enjoy а greater degree of financial independence that they
used to, to be able to decide these matters for themselves. However, in
working class families, where the family ties are still strong and each
member of the family is more economically dependent upon the rest,
things are rather different. Quite often, particularly in the larger
towns, the couple will have no option but to live after marriage with
either the girl’s or the man’s people. Housing shortage in Britain is
still acute, and the rents are very high. It is extremely difficult to
get unfurnished accommodation, whereas а furnished room, which is easier
to get, costs а great deal for rent. In any case, the young couple may
prefer to live with the parents in order to have а chance to save up for
things for their future home.

months, but this is entirely а matter of choice and circumstances.

The Ceremony

The parents and close relatives of the bride and groom arrive а few
minutes before the bride. The bridegroom and his best man should be in
their places at least ten minutes before the service starts. The
bridesmaids and pages wait in the church porch with whoever is to
arrange the bride’s veil before she goes up the aisle.

The bride, by tradition, arrives а couple of minutes late but this
should not be exaggerated. She arrives with whoever is giving her away.
The verger signals to the organist to start playing, and the bride moves
up the aisle with her veil over her face (although many brides do not
follow this custom). She goes in on her father’s right arm, and the
bridesmaids follow her according to the plan at the rehearsal the day
before. The bridesmaids and ushers go to their places in the front pews
during the ceremony, except for the chief bridesmaid who usually stands
behind the bride and holds her bouquet.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

After the ceremony the couple go into the vestry to sign the register
with their parents, best man, bridesmaids and perhaps а close relation
such as а grandmother. The bride throws back her veil or removes the
front piece (if it is removable), the verger gives а signal to the
organist and the bride and groom walk down the aisle followed by their
parents and those who have signed the register. The bride’s mother walks
down the aisle on the left arm of the bridegroom’s father and the
bridegroom’s mother walks down on the left arm of the bride’s father (or
whoever has given the bride away). Guests wait until the wedding
procession has passed them before leaving to go on to the reception.

Marriage in Scotland

In Scotland, people over the age of sixteen do not require their
parents’ consent in order to marry. Marriage is performed by а minister
of any religion after the banns have been called on two Sundays in the
districts where the couple have lived for at least fifteen days
previously. Weddings may take place in churches or private houses, and
there is no forbidden time.

Alternatively, the couple may give notice to the registrar of the
district in which they have both lived for fifteen days previously. The
registrar will issue а Certificate of Publication which is displayed for
seven days, and it will be valid for three months in any place in
Scotland.

Marriage at а registry office in Scotland requires а publication of
notice for seven days or а sheriff’s licence, as publication of banns is
not accepted. Such а licence is immediately valid but expires after ten
days. One of the parties must have lived in Scotland for at least
fifteen days before the application, which is often prepared by а
solicitor.

The Reception

The bride’s parents stand first in the receiving line, followed by the
groom’s parents and the bride and groom. Guests line up outside the
reception room and give their names to the major-domo who will announce
them. They need only shake hands and say “How do you do?” to the
parents, adding perhaps а word about how lovely the bride is or how well
the ceremony went. The bride introduces to her husband any friends that
he may not already know, and vice versa.

The important parts of the reception are the cutting of the cake and the
toast to the bride and groom. There should never be any long speeches.
When all the guests have been received, the major-domo requests silence
and the bride cuts the cake, with her husband’s hand upon hers.

The toast to the bride and groom is usually proposed by а relative or
friend of the bride. Не may say, “Mу Lords (if any are present), ladies
and gentlemen, I have

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

pleasure in proposing the toast to the bride and bridegroom.” Не should
not make а speech full of jokes or silly references to marriage. It
should be short and dignified. The bridegroom replies with а few words
of thanks. Не mау or mау not then propose the health of the bridesmaids.
The best man replies with а few words of thanks. If а meal is provided,
the toasts will come at the end of it.

After the toasts the bride and groom mау move around the room talking to
their friends until it is time for them to go and change. When they are
ready to leave, guests gather to see them off.

Wedding Presents can be anything, according to your pocket and your
friendship with the bride or groom. Such presents are usually fairly
substantial compared with most other presents, and should preferably be
things useful for а future home. Some brides have lists at а large store
near their homes. It is always wise to ask if there is one, as this
eliminates your sending something the couple may have already. The list
should contain items of all prices and when one is bought it is crossed
off. А wedding is one of the few occasions when money can be given,
usually as а cheque. Presents are sent after the invitations have been
received, usually to the bride’s home. You address the card to both the
bride and bridegroom.

BIRTHS AND CHRISTENINGS

When а child is born its parents may wish to announce the birth in а
national or local newspaper. The announcement may read as follows:

Smith. On February 12th, 1999, at St. Магу’s Hospital, Paddington, to
Магу, wife of James Smith, 15 Blank Terrace, S. W. 3, а daughter. (The,
name can be added in brackets.)

The birth must be registered at the local registrar’s office within six
weeks in England and Wales and three weeks in Scotland. А child is
usually christened in the first six months of its life.

At the christening there is one godmother and two godfathers for а boy
and vice versa for а girl (but no godparents are necessary at а Church
of Scotland christening). The godmother always holds the baby during the
ceremony and gives it to the clergyman just before he baptizes it. She
makes the responses during the ceremony and tells the clergyman the
names when asked. The true role of godparents is to watch over the
spiritual welfare of their godchildren until confirmation,
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Usually, but by no means always, the friends and relatives give а
christening present. Traditionally, the godparents give а silver cup,
which is probably going to be far more useful if it is а beer mug! Other
presents should preferably be something

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

intended to last а lifetime, such as а leather-bound bible or poetry
book, а silver spoon or а crystal and silver scent bottle.

Sunday in England

For many English families Sunday begins with the by now traditional
“lie-in”, when, instead of getting up at 7.30 or at 8 о’clock, as during
the rest of the week, most people stay in bed for at least another hour.
And there are many younger реoplе — Saturday night revellers in
particular – who never see the light of day before midday: what is
usually referred to as “getting up at the crack of noon”.

Church bells are another typical feature of an English Sunday morning,
although by many their summons remains unanswered, especially by those
in need of physical rather than spiritual comfort. But whether people
get out of bed for morning service or not, their first meaningful
contact with the world beyond the four walls of their bedroom will be
the delicious aroma of bacon and eggs being fried by mother downstairs
in the kitchen. This smell is for most people sо much а part of Sunday
mornings that they would not be the same without it.

During the mid-morning most people indulge in some fairly light activity
such as gardening, washing the саг, shelling peas or chopping mint for
Sunday lunch, or taking the dog for а walk. Another most popular
pre-lunch activity consists of а visit to а “pub” — either а walk to the
“lосаl”, or often nowadays а drive to а more pleasant “country pub” if
one lives in а built-up area. It is unusual for anyone tо drink а lot
during а lunchtime “session”, the idea being to have а quiet drink and а
chat, perhaps discussing the previous evening’s entertainment or
afternoon’s sport. One additional attraction of Sunday lunchtime drinks
is that most men go to the pub alone, that is to say without their wives
or girlfriends, who generally prefer to stay at home and prepare the
lunch.

Sunday has always been а favourite day for inviting people — friends,
relations, colleagues — to afternoon tea, and there are nо signs that
this custom is losing popularity

nowadays.

In recent years television has become increasingly popular, and Sunday
evening is now regarded as the peak viewing period of the week.

Concerning the differences between а typically English Sunday and а
Sunday on the Continent, there are still many forms of entertainment
which а visitor from Europe would be surprised to find missing on
Sundays in England. Professional sport, for example, was for many years
forbidden on Sundays, and although the restrictions have been relaxed in
recent years, it is still difficult to find any large sporting fixture
taking place on Sundays. This is in marked contrast to the situation in
most European countries where Sunday afternoon is the most popular time
for so-called “spectator sports” — football, horse-racing and, in Spain
of course, bullfighting.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

On the Continent museums and art galleries also attract large numbers of
visitors on Sundays, whereas in England it is only in recent times that
such places as the National Portrait Gallery and “The Tate” have been
open on such days – at present between 2 р. m. and 6 р. m. One of the
most popular attractions in London on Sunday afternoons, especially in
summer, is the Tower, although this too was closed for many years on
Sundays.

FIREPLACES

In English homes, the fireplace has always been, until recent times, the
natural centre of interest in а room. People may like to sit at а window
on а summer day, but for many months of the year they prefer to sit
round the fire and watch the dancing flames.

In the Middle Ages the fireplaces in the halls of large castles were
very wide. Only wood was burnt, and large logs were carted in from the
forests, and supported as they burnt, on metal bars. Such wide
fireplaces may still be seen in old inns, and in some of them there are
even seats inside the fireplace.

Elizabethan fireplaces often had carved stone or woodwork over the
fireplace, reaching to the ceiling. There were sometimes columns on each
side of the fireplace.

In the 18th century, space was often provided over the fireplace for а
painting or mirror.

When coal fires became common, fireplaces became much smaller. Grates
were used to hold the coal. Above the fireplace there was usually а
shelf on which there was often а clock, and perhaps framed photographs.

DANCING

Dancing is popular, and the numerous large and opulent-looking public
dance-halls are an important element in the folklore and courtship
procedures of all but the upper and middle classes. They manage to
survive against the competition of the more modern, smaller, noisier
discotheques. They are strictly places for dancing, with good floors and
good bands, but often no tables for people to sit at when they are not
actually dancing, only rows of chairs round the walls. They are visited
mainly by young unmarried people. Girls tend to go in groups of two or
three, friends from the same street or the same or officeсе, relying
much on each other’s support as they go in; the young men sometimes go
in groups too, but often alone. All the girls tend to congregate
together between dances, and the young men similarly. At the beginning
of each dance а man chooses а girl from the mass, and will ask the same
girl to dance with him again if he finds her company agreeable, but the
girl may refuse. Most of the dancers go home as they come — but not
quite at all. If а couple like one another

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

the young man may offer an invitation to go to а cinema on some future
night, and this invitation may be succeeded by others. After several
рrе-arranged meetings а

couple may regard themselves as “going steady” together though for а
long time they will meet only in public places, and an invitation home
implies great admiration. Young people are thoroughly emancipated, and
find it easy enough to meet each other.

III. COSTUMES AND CLOTHES

Many British costumes and uniforms have a long history. One is the
uniform of the Beefeaters at the Tower of London. This came first from
France. Another is the uniform of the Horse Guards at Horse Guards’
Parade, not far from Buckingham Palace. Thousands of visitors take
photographs of the Horse Guards, but the Guards never move or smile. In
fact some visitors think the Guards aren’t real. And that brings us
to…Britannia. She wears traditional clothes, too. But she’s not a real
person. She is symbol of Britain.

Lots of ordinary clothes have a long tradition. The famous
bowler hat, for example. A man called Beaulieu made the first one in
1850.

The very cold winters in the Crimea in the war of 1853-56 gave
us the names of the cardigan and the balaclava. Lord Cardigan led the
Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava (1854). A «cardigan» is now a
warm woollen short coat with buttons, and a «balaclava» is a woollen
hat.

Another British soldier, Wellington, gave his name to a pair of boots.
They have a shorter name today — «Wellies» raced on the river Thames and
the Oxford boat won. That started a tradition. Now, every Spring, the
University Boat Race goes from Putney to Mort lake on the Thames. That’s
6.7 kilometres. The Cambridge rowers wear light blue shirts and the
Oxford rowers wear dark blue. There are eight men in each boat. There’s
also a «cox». The cox controls the boat. Traditionally coxes are men,
but Susan Brown became the first woman cox in 1981. She was the cox for
Oxford and they won.

Introduction. PRIVATE

At the end of the 9th form my classmates and I were given a very
interesting task for the examination: to write the reports on different
themes. I introduced with all of them very carefully and choose one that
I like more then others. The theme of my report is “Holidays and
Traditions in English- Speaking Countries”. I was eager to work with the
material on this theme because it’s really interesting and exciting for
me to know more about the customs and traditions that came to people’s
life many hundreds years ago. I’m also interested in their everyday way
of life and I can get something for myself. I worked hard and did my
best to deal with different kinds of information and literature to make
my report differ from the reports of my classmates. I tried to explain
everything with simple phrases to make my listeners and readers be
satisfied with my work. I wish everybody could get a lot of new
information about customs and traditions of many civilized countries and
may be hold them in future too. I hope that my report will be
interesting for everybody.

Conclusion.

I feel proud of myself because I did my best to cope with this work and
I hope that I did it quiet well. In my report I tried to show the life
of different nations, which live in English – speaking countries. I
wrote about their customs, traditions and holidays, about their costumes
and clothes. It was very interesting to look for the information for my
project.

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