In Great Britain people attach greater importance to traditions and customs than in other European countries. Englishmen are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. The best examples are their queen, money system, etc.
There are many customs and some of them are very old. There is, for example, the Marble Championship, where the British Champion is crowned; he wins a silver cup known among folk dancers as Morris Dancing. Morris Dancing is an event where people, worn in beautiful clothes with ribbons and bells, dance with handkerchiefs or big sticks in their hands, while traditional music sounds.
Another British Customs and Traditions example is the Boat Race, which takes place on the river Thames, often on Easter Sunday. A boat with a team from Oxford University and one with a team from Cambridge University hold a race.
British people think that the Grand National horse race is the most exciting horse race in the world. It takes place near Liverpool every year. Amateur riders as well as professional jockeys can participate.
Halloween is a day on which many children dress up in unusual costumes. In fact, this holiday has a Celtic origin. The day was originally called All Halloween’s Eve British Customs and Traditions, because it happens on the 31st of October, the eve of all Saint’s Day. The Celts celebrated the coming of New Year on that day.
Another tradition is the holiday called Guy Fawkes Night. On the 5th of November, 1605, a man called Guy Fawkes planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But he was unable to realize his plan and was caught and later, hanged. On the 5th of November one can see children with figures, made of sacks and straw and dressed in old clothes. They put their figures on the bonfire, burn them, and light their British Customs and Traditions fireworks.
In the end of the year, there is the most famous New Year celebration. In London, many people go to Trafalgar Square on New Year’s Eve. There is singing and dancing at 12 o’clock on the 31st of December.
The British talk about the weather a lot. For example, “Isn’t it a beautiful morning?” or, “Very cold today, isn’t it?” They talk about the weather because it changes so often. Wind, rain, sun cloud, snow – they can all happen in a British winter or a British summer.
There are some traditions concerning British Customs and Traditions food. The Englishman likes a good breakfast. To him a good breakfast means porridge with fish, bacon and eggs, toast and marmalade, tea or coffee. It is the same day to day.
Tea is part of the prose of British life, as necessary as potatoes and bread. Seven cups of it wake you up in the morning; 9 cups will put you to sleep at night. The midday meal is called lunch. This meal consists on week-days of stew, fried fish, chops, liver or sausages, vegetables. Rice and macaroni are seldom served. From 4 to 6 there is a very light meal called British Customs and Traditions 5 o’clock tea. It is a snack of bread and butter and cups of tea with small cakes. Dinner (usually at 6 p.m.) is much like lunch and is in many families the last meal of the day. Supper is a snack of bread and cheese and cocoa.
1. Do people in Great Britain attach greater importance to customs and tradition than in other European countries?
2. What kind of event is the Marble Championship?
3. What do you know about Morris Dancing?
4. When does the Boat Race take place?
5. Where does the Grand National horse race take place? Who can take part British Customs and Traditions in it?
6. What is Halloween? When is it celebrated?
7. Who was Guy Fawkes and what did he plan to do?
8. Where do most Londoners celebrate New Year’s Eve?
9. What is the reason for British people to talk so much about the weather?
10. What does the usual breakfast of an Englishman consist of?
11. Tea is part of the prose of British life, isn’t it?
Vocabulary and Speech Exercises