The United Kingdom of Grteat Britain and Northern Ireland
British holidays and traditions
New words and word-combinations to be remembered:
to celebrate святкувати
to call називати
to try намагатись
to be held відбуватися
to participate брати участь
to follow слідувати (за ким, за чим)
It may seem surprising but the British have fewer holidays than many other countries. Some of them are named Bank Holidays due to the fact that on those days the banks are closed.
In England and Wales they comprise at present five bank holidays
New Year’s Day, Easter Monday, spring and late summer holidays at the end of May and August respectively, and Boxing Day); they also have two common holidays (Good Friday, Christmas Day). In Scotland and Northern Ireland they have six bank holidays, plus two other public holidays. The particular dates of the bank holidays are fixed annually.
New Year’s Day
It is a bank holiday though many British do not celebrate on New Year’s Eve. In Scotland New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay and is an occasion for joyous celebration. In London Scottish people gather on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral and sing at midnight.
Every spring European peoples celebrated the festival to honour the awakening of new life in nature. Christians related the rising of the sun to the resurrection of Jesus and their old spiritual rebirth. This «holy» day is celebrated in many countries of the world.
Spring andSummer Bank Holidays
The Summer Bank Holidays is the most popular holiday, because it comes at a time when children are not at school. Many families try to go away to the seaside or the country as they may indeed have done at Easter or in Spring.
This day is observed throughout the Commonwealth and dates back to November 11, 1918 when all fighting in World War I ended. It now commemorates British soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave their lives in the two World Wars. Special services are held and wreaths are laid at the Cenotaph, a war memorial at Whitehall, where thousands of Londoners observe the two-minute silence and participate in the remembrance ceremony. Similar ceremonies are held throughout the country.
In England Christmas is the most important of all the bank holidays of the year. It is celebrated much the same way as in the United States of America. On December 26, the Boxing Day, traditionally people give each other Christmas presents, which used to come in boxes, It is a very pleasant custom indeed.
Trooping the Colour
This ceremony is held on the Sovereign’s official birthday in June. This is the most colourful of all London’s annual events with the Queen riding side-saddled on a highly trained horse. On Horse Guards’ Parade in Whitehall the Queen inspects the Brigade of Guards, dressed in ceremonial uniforms. Then comes the Trooping ceremony, followed by the March past of the Guards to the music of the bands.
The State Opening of Parliament
This is another royal event at the end of November which draws thousands of spectators, who see the Queen on the drive from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in the State Coach. The public are not admitted to Parliament to see her read the' speech from the Throne, prepared for her by the Government. But the State Opening since 1966 is televised. Visitors are admitted to the Public Galleries only by the personal invitation of the Members of Parliament.
New words and word-combinations to be remembered:
to exist існувати
to cost коштувати
traffic вуличний pyx
to differ (from) відрізнятись (від)
to keep (to) дотримуватись (чогось)
characteristic feature характерна риса
quite simple дуже простий
to remind нагадувати
to fight боротися
British traditions are rather interesting and unusual. If you arrive in Great Britain, you’ll hear the word «tradition» everywhere. Englishmen have a sentimental love for things and traditions because they are old. They never throw away old things.
In many houses of Great Britain they have fireplaces and though their bedrooms are awfully cold, the English people don’t want to have central heating because they don’t want to have changes. Therefore the Yeomen-Warders are dressed in traditional medieval clothes and the traditional dress of the House Guards regiment has existed since the 12th century. This dress costs a lot of money and seems very funny nowadays but Englishmen stand for it because it’s a tradition.
If you enter the Houses of Parliament, you’ll see the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
In the House of Lords there are two rows of benches for lords and sack of wool for the Lord Chancellor to sit on. This is so because in the old times wool made England rich and powerful. In the House of Commons which is not big and quite simple, you’ll see two rows of benches for the two parties: the government — on one side and the opposition — on the other.
In front of the benches there is the strip of a carpet and when a member speaking in the House puts his foot beyond that strip, there is a shout «Order.» This dates from the time when the members had swords on them and during the discussion might want to start fighting. The word «order» reminded them that no fighting was allowed in the House.
And there are many other traditions. The traffic regulations in Great Britain differ from other countries: we keep to the left and you keep to the right. As you have already seen the English buses are very high, because they are double-decked, ail of them are red. But the houses are not very big, they are mostly two-storied buildings.
Now we are in Fleet Street. The concentration of some professions in certain streets is a characteristic feature of London. If someone works in Fleet Street, you know he is a journalist, if someone works in Harley Street, you know that he is a medical man. It is also a tradition.
Answer the following questions:
1. Why do you find these traditions unusual?
2. What other traditions do you know?