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English customs and traditions

Almost every nation has a reputation of some kind. The English are reputed to be cold, reserved, rather haughty people. They are also known to be easy-going and fond of sports. There are certain kinds of behavior, manners and customs which are particular to England. The English are naturally polite and are never tired of saying "Thank you" and "I am sorry". They don't rush for seats in buses and trains, but they take their seats in queues at bus stops.

British people are often lucky enough to have their own small house and a garden. The love of gardens is deep-rooted in the British people. The British like growing plants in a window-box outside the kitchen or in the garden near the house. They love flowers very much. Britain is also a nation of animal lovers. They have about five million dogs, almost as many cats, 3 million parrots and other cage birds, aquarium fish - and 1 million exotic pets such as reptiles. In Britain they have special dog shops selling food, clothes and other things for dogs. There are dog hair-dressing saloons and dog cemetries. In Britain pets can send Christmas cards to their friends, birthday cards. Owners can buy for their pets jewelled nylon collars, lambswool coat for a dog, lace-trimmed panties, nightgowns, pyjamas, and so on. There are special animal hotels at the airports.

While some people can choose to fly a bit further afield for their weekends, most choose to stay in England. Those who live in cities and towns like to go out of town. They may go to stay in the country. Every Englishman is fond of the countryside and staying in a nice thatched cottage with roses round the porch and in the garden, enjoying the fresh air and bright sun. There are no crowds of people, silence and leisure. Those who stay at home try to do all the jobs they, were too busy to do during the week. Some go shopping on Saturday mornings, some do the house - washing, cleaning. Some men do and watch sporting events. Saturday evening is the best time for parties, dances, going to the cinema or theatre. On Sunday after breakfast they may go to work in the garden take their dog for a walk or play a visit to a pub. Sunday is a day for inviting friends and relatives to afternoon tea.

There are some traditions concerning food. English cooking is heavy, substantial and plain. The Englishman likes a good breakfast. To him a good breakfast means porridge with, fish, bacon and eggs, toast and marmalade, tea or coffee. 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 can be stew, fried fish, chops, liver or sausages and vegetables. Rice and macaroni are seldom served. Even at midday, the English enjoy desserts like apple tart, or hot milk pudding. Sunday lunch is a special occasion, it is a joint of beef or lamb with vegetables. That is followed by a large heavy pudding with custard. From 4 to 6 there is a very light meal called 5 o'clock tea. It is a snack of thin bread and butter and cups of tea with small cakes. This became a kind of ritual. At this time everything stops for tea. Dinner (usually at 6 p.m.) is much like lunch and is in many families the last meal of the day. However, some people still enjoy supper which is a snack of bread and cheese and cocoa. The English have a popular speciality known as fish and chips. They are bought at special fish and chips shops.


Every country and every nation has own traditions and customs. It's very important to know traditions and customs of other countries. It helps to know more about the history and line of different nations. The English are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up.

English people celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. It's the season of good will. It's the most beautiful time of the year - the time of love, joy and hopes. Christmas Day is a family holiday. All the people look forward to it, expecting something special. It is the time when all the family gets together round the Christmas tree decorated with toys and sweets. Little children believe that when they are asleep Father Christmas comes with a big bag of toys. They often hang up large stockings for the presents. All families have Christmas dinners. They eat traditional dishes - turkey, duck, pudding.

On the New Year's Day they watch the old year going out and the new year coming in. 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 Englishmen believe that he brings luck. This man (not a woman) must be healthy, young and attractive. He brings presents - bread, a piece of coal or a coin.

Another best-loved holiday is St.Valentine's Day on the 14th of February. This is the holiday of love and affection; the day of sending and giving presents to those you love. Englishmen give symbols of love - red hearts and roses, ribbons and laces to lovers and even friends and family.

In England tradition of celebrating Easter is deep-rooted in the history of the nation. Easter is a church holiday. There is a popular belief that wearing 3 new things on Easter will bring good luck. Traditionally Easter parades of people in bright new spring clothes are held on this day. Another custom is decorating eggs for children. Eggs are hidden in the yards for little children to find. Little children believe that the Easter rabbit comes and leaves eggs for them. Easter candies are made in the form of eggs, little chickens and rabbits.

Halloween is the day or evening before all Saint's Day. Children dress up in Halloween costumes and wear masks over their faces. They go out to neighbours to ask for sweets, cookies and apples. A favourite Halloween custom is to make a jack-o'-lantern (the children scrape our a pumpkin and cut the eyes, nose and mouth). They light a candle inside the pumpkin to scare their friends.

A few last words about superstitions in Britain. The people believe that if they put shoes on the table, they will have bad luck. The English won't kill a spider, especially money spiders (small red ones). This is very unlucky Some animals are also lucky: black cats brihg good luck, white horses are also lucky. The most unlucky thing is to break a mirror. This brings 7 years of bad luck. The number 13 is the most unlucky number especially Combination Friday, the 13th. According to the Act of Parliament of 1871 there are 4 bank holidays Easter Monday, whit-Monday, Dec 26th - Boxing Day. Other public holiday are Good Friday, May Day, Also there is a Pancake Day, April's Fool Day and Mother's Day.

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