Рефераты. Обычаи и традиции англо-говорящих стран

respective clans. Some of the patterns had previously been identified by

numbers only, while some were invented on the spot, as variations of the

old traditional patterns.

The term "Highland dress'' has not always meant the same thing. In the

seventeenth century the ki1t was not worn. Clansmen wrapped themselves in a

generous length of tartan cloth some sixteen feet wide. The upper portion

covered the wearer's shoulders, and it was belted at the waist, the lower

portion hanging in rough folds to the knees. In the eighteenth century,

this belted plaid was superseded by the kilt. Modern Highland dress

consists of a day-time kilt of heavy material, sometimes in a darker

tartan, worn with a tweed jacket, while for the evening finer material,

possibly in a brighter "dress" tartan, can be matched with a variety of


Food and Drink

What sort of food has Scotland to offer the stranger? Scotland produces

a number of dishes: Scots collops - a savoury dish popularly known as

"mince", small mutton pies which must be served piping hot and the immortal

haggis. And no country has a greater variety of puddings and pies, creams,

jellies, and trifles.

The excellence of Scottish soups has been attributed to the early and

long connection between Scotland and France, but there are some genuine

soups, such as Barley Broth, Powsowdie or Sheep’s Head Broth. Hotch Potch

or Harvest Broth. Baud Bree (Hare Soup) is flavoured with toasted oatmeal

and Cullen Skink is made with a smoked haddock.

Plenty of ingenuity is shown, too, in the preparation of both oatmeal

and milk. Porridge, properly made with home-milled meal and fresh spring

water, and served with thin cream or rick milk, is food for the gods.

Lastly there is the national oatcake, which is described as “a masterpiece”

by the French gastronomes.

As a nation the Scots are definitely better bakers than cooks. To beat

the best Edinburgh bakers one must go, it is said, all the way to Vienna.

There is an endless variety of bannocks and scones: soda scones, made with

buttermilk, girdle scones, potato scones, without which no Glasgow Sunday

breakfast is complete. Also the pancakes, the crumpets, the shortbread that

melts in the mouth, buns of every size and shape! They are on offer in

every bakery.

The Scottish housewife likes to buy her meat fresh and sees that she

gets it. She likes the meat off the bone and rolled, as in France, and the

Scottish butcher is an artist at his trade. Most of the cuts are different

from England and have different names. Sirloin, one would understand, but

what is Nine Holes? Steak is steak in any language, but what is Pope's


And then the puddings! The black puddings, the white puddings, the

mealy puddings. And king of puddings, the haggis! I once asked a Scot:

"What's in a haggis?" His answer was: "I know. But I know no reason why you

should. All you need to know is that it should be served with mashed

potatoes and bashed neeps (turnips), and you must drink whisky with it. You

will discover that the oatmeal in the haggis absorbs the whisky, and so you

can drink more of it. What else do you need to know?" "A recipe of

haggis", was my answer. "Hell, well, here you are", said my friend: B

ounces of sheep's liver, 4 ounces of beef suet (fat), salt and pepper, 2

onions, 1 cup of oatmeal. Boil the liver and onions in water for 40

minutes. Drain, and keep the liquid. Mince the liver finely, and chop the

onions with the suet. Lightly toast the oatmeal. Combine all the

ingredients, and moisten the mixture with the liquid in which the liver and

onions were boiled. Turn into a sheep's stomach, cover with grease-proof

paper and steam for 2 hours.

Although the Scots are not a nation of beer-drinkers in the sense that

the English are, some of the best beers in the world are brewed in the

Lowlands of Scotland. But however good Scots beer and ale are, it is

universally known that the glory of the country is whisky. Scotch whisky

was a by-product of traditional Scottish thrift. Frugal Scots farmers,

rather than waste their surplus barley, mashed, fermented and distilled it,

producing a drink at first called uisge beatha, Gaelic for "water of life",

and now simply called whisky. No one knows when the Scots learnt the art of

distilling, though it may have been before they arrived from Ireland in the

fifth century AD, for in Irish legend St Patrick taught the art. The first

mention in Scottish records of a spirit distilled from grain does not occur

before 1494.

Today there are two kinds of Scotch whisky - the original malt whisky,

made by the centuries-old pot-still process from barley that has been

"mailed" or soaked and left to germinate; and grain whisky, made from maize

as well as matted and unmalted barley. Most of the well-known brands of

Scotch whisky are blends of many different grain and malt whiskies. The

technique of blending was pioneered in Edinburgh in the 1860s, and a taste

for the new, milder blended whiskies quickly spread to England and then to

the rest of the world.

Barley is the raw material of the malt whisky distiller. The first

process in making whisky is mailing - turning barley into malt. Mailing

begins when the distiller takes delivery of the barley, usually in

September or October, soon after it has been harvested. The barley is in

grain form, and must be ripe and dry, otherwise it may turn mouldy and make

properly controlled mailing impossible. The barley is cleaned, weighed and

soaked for two or three days in tanks of water. Then it is spread on the

malting floor, where it germinates for 8-12 days, secreting an enzyme which

makes the starch in barley soluble and prepares it turning into sugar. The

barley is regularly turned over to control its temperature and rate of

germination. The warm, damp, sweet-smelling barley is passed to the kiln

for drying, which stops germination. It is spread on a base of perforated

iron and dried in the heat of a peat fire. Distillery kilns have

distinctive pagoda-shaped heads. An open ventilator at the top draws hot

air from the peat fire through the barley. This gives it a smoky flavour,

which is passed on to the whisky. The barley has now become malt - dry,

crisp, peat-flavored, different from the original barley in all but

appearance. It is ready for the next stage in the process - mashing. It is

stored in bins and then it is weighed to ensure that the right amount of

malt is passed to the mill below, where it is ground. The ground malt,

called grist, is carried up to the grist hopper and fed in measured

quantities into the mash tun. There the grist is mixed with hot water and

left to infuse. This extracts the sugar content from the malt. The sugary

water, called wort, is then drawn off through the bottom of the mash tun.

This process is repeated three times, and each time the water is at a

different temperature.

For centuries, Scotch whisky has been made from mailed barley mixed

with yeast and water, then heated in pear-shaped containers called pot

stills. The early Highland farmers who distilled their own whisky heated

their pot stills in huge copper kettles over a peat fire. Smoke from the

peat added to the whisky's flavour. Big modern distillers use basically the

same technique. The vapor that rises in the still is condensed by cooling

to make whisky. The shape of the still affects the vapor and so helps to

give the whisky its taste. The most important single influence on the taste

of Scotch whisky is probably the Scottish water. This is why distilleries

are situated in narrow glens or in remote country near a tumbling stream.

The whisky comes colorless and fiery from the spirit receiver. In the

spirit vat it is diluted to about 110 degrees proof before being run into

oak casks to mature. Today, 100 degrees proof spirit by British standards

is spirit with 37.1 per cent of alcohol by volume, and 42.9 per cent of


Scotch whisky cannot legally be sold for consumption until it has

matured in casks for at least three years. The time a whisky takes to

mature depends on the size of the casks used, the strength at which the

spirit is stored and the temperature and humidity of the warehouse. A good

malt whisky may have been left in the cask for 15 years, or even longer.

Air enters the oak casks and evaporation takes place. Eventually, the

whisky loses its coarseness and becomes smooth and mellow.

There are more than 100 distilleries in Scotland and the whisky made in

each has its own distinctive character. Some distilleries bottle part of

their spirit and sell it as a single whisky; but most whiskies go to a

blender. As many as 40 different single whiskies may be blended to make up

the whisky that is eventually sold. So specifically associated with

Scotland has whisky he-come that the mere adjective SCOTCH requires no

noun to be supplied in order that people should know what is meant.

Burns Night (25 January)

The anniversary of the poet's birth, is celebrated in every corner of

Scotland, and indeed wherever a handful of Scots is to be found. There are

hundreds of Burns Clubs scattered throughout the world, and they all

endeavour to hold Burns Night celebrations to mark the birth of Scotland's

greatest poet. The first club was founded at Greenock in 1802. The

traditional menu at the suppers is cock-a-leekie soup (chicken broth),

boiled salt herring, haggis with bashed neeps (turnips), and champit

tatties (mashed potatoes) and dessert. The arrival of the haggis is

usually heralded by the music of bagpipes. The haggis is carried into the

dining room behind a piper wearing traditional dress. He then reads a poem

written especially for the haggis! "The Immortal Memory" is toasted, and

the company stand in silent remembrance. Then fellows dancing, pipe music,

and selections from Burns's lyrics, the celebration concluding with the

poet's famous Auld tang Syne.

Loch Ness and the Monster

Whatever it is that stirs in Loch Ness, it is no newcomer. An

inscription on a fourteenth-century map of the loch tells vaguely but

chillingly of "waves without wind, fish without fins, islands that float".

"Monster" sightings are not limited to Loch Ness: Lochs Awe, Rannoch,

Lomond and Morar have all been said to contain specimens. The Loch Ness

Monster owes its great fame to the opening of a main road along the north

shore of the loch in 1933. Since then, distant views of "four shining black

humps", "brownish-gray humps" have kept visitors flocking to the loch.

People who have seen the phenomenon more closely say that it is "slug-like"

or "eel-like", with a head resembling a seal's or a gigantic snail's, while

the long neck is embellished with a horse's mane. Its length has been

estimated at anything between 8 and 23 metres, and its skin texture la

"warty" and "slimy". Close observers, too, particularly Hr George Spicer

and his wife who saw it jerking across a lochside road in 1933, have

declared it "fearful".

It is not surprising that such waters, cupped in savage hills, should

produce legends. Loch Ness is part of the Great Glen, a geological fault

that slashes across Scotland like a sword-cut. The loch itself is 24 miles

long, about a mile broad and has an average depth of 400 feet. Loch Ness

has one direct outlet to the sea, the shallow River Ness, and it is fed by

eight rivers and innumerable streams, each of which pours the peaty soil of

the hills into the loch. Consequently, the water is dark. Divers working

with powerful arc lamps 15 metres below the surface have been unable to see

for more than 3 metres around them.

Over the past 40 years, sightings have been claimed by more than 1000

people. Most of the sightings were in bright sunlight conditions of flat

calm, and several of the witnesses were trained observers - soldiers,

doctors, seamen. Though many of the sightings were from a distance,

witnesses have been convinced they were looking at a large animal, most of

whose body was hidden beneath the water.

If it exists, it is most unlikely that the Loch Ness monster is a

single animal. A prehistoric creature, living alone in Loch Ness, cut off

from others of its kind, would have to be millions of years old. For the

species to survive there must be quite a large colony. The colony theory

is also supported by nearly simultaneous sightings in different parts of

the loch. According to naturalists, the chances of the creature being a

reptile are remote. Though Loch Ness never freezes, its temperature never

rises above 6°C and this would be too cold for any known species. Also,

reptiles breathe air, and would have to surface more frequently than the

monster appears to. Though most zoologists deny the possibility that a

large and unknown animal might be living in Loch Ness, it is remarkable

that the mystery continues; and it is perhaps more exciting than any final

scientific solution.

Scottish Weddings

Everybody knows about Gretna Green, the famous Scottish village just

beyond the border. In the old days runaway couples escaped from England to

Gretna Green to get married. The practice started in the year 1774. In that

year a bill was passed in England forbidding marriages of person under

eighteen without their parents’ consent. In Scotland the legal age limit

was sixteen - and still is for that matter. What is more, until the year

1856 the young couple could be married at once at any place in Scotland,

without having to stay there for some time.

You may ask why all those young people chose Gretna Green for their

wedding. After all, there are many romantic places in Scotland. The answer

is simple. Gretna Green was the nearest village across the Scottish border,

only ten miles of Carlisle, on the main highway. To get there took the

least time and the least money.

The blacksmith at Gretna Green was always ready to perform the marriage

ceremony at a small fee. The formalities were very simple. All that was

needed was a declaration made by the young couple in the presence of two

witnesses. Visitors of Gretna Green can still see the old blacksmith’s

shop and the famous marriage room in it.

The old tradition is still remembered. Many young couples who cannot

get married in England because they are under age still think it romantic

to go to Gretna Green. But today they must have enough money to stay there

for three weeks.

Highland Games

Perhaps the most distinctive event at a Highland Gathering is “Tossing

the Caber” - or, as the sixteenth-century writer called it, “throwing the

bar”. The caber is the trunk - of a fir tree 20 feet long and ten inches

(25 cm) thick at the bigger end. Its weight is about 100 kilos and it needs

two or three men to lift it upright with the thick end at the top. The

competitor then lakes hold of it and rests it against his shoulder. He

takes two or three steps and then throws it so that it turns a complete

somersault. The straightest throw, that is nearest to 12 o’clock in

direction, gets the most points. If none of the competitors is able to toss

the caber, a bit is sawn off the end, and then, if necessary, another bit,

until at last one competitor succeeds.

Another feat of strength is throwing the hammer. This has a long handle

and weighs ten kilos. The competitor is not allowed to run, he stands still

and sweeps it round and round his head several times.

For all events, except races, the kilt must be worn. For highland

dances, of which there are many varieties, the competitors wear full

highland dress. This includes a smart jacket worn with coloured buttons and

a “sporran” or purse made of fur, which hangs at the waist. The mast

difficult and intricate of the dances is the sword-dance, performed over a

pair of crossed swords which must not be touched by the dancer’s feet.


Wales is the country in the west of Great Britain. It is mainly a

mountainous land with a chiefly agricultural economy and an industrial and

coal-mining area in the south. The landscape is beautiful. Many English

people move to Wales when they retire.

Cardiff, a large city in the south, was chosen as the capital of Wales

in 1955, mainly because of its size. Since 1536, Wales has been governed by

England and the heir to the throne of England has the title of Prince of

Wales, but Welsh people have strong sense of identity. There is a Welsh

National party which wants independence from the United Kingdom and the

Welsh language is still used in certain parts of the country.

Welsh is an ancient Celtic language, similar to Breton, spoken in

Brittany, France. In the 60’s Welsh was given equal status with English as

an official language and is used in the law courts. It is taught in school

and some TV program is broadcast in Welsh. However, only about 20% of the

population speaks Welsh.

St. David’s Day (1st March)

Dewi (“David” in English), was the son of a Welsh chieftain. He was

brought up as a Christian and went abroad to learn more about the life of a

monk. Then he returned to Wales and founded many monasteries which became

centers of religion and learning in the Welsh countryside. The monks lived

a simple life of player, growing their own herbs and vegetables and

offering generous hospitality to anyone in need. Because David’s holiness

and his inspiring teaching, he was made a bishop. The center of his

bishopric was in the settlement we now know as St. David’s on the Western

tip of the country of Dyfed.

David is thought to have died on 1st march, AD 589, and his shrine at

St. David’s was a place of pilgrimage in the Middle Ages. Later, when

people of North and South Wales became one nation, he was chosen as the

patron saint of Wales.

A legend tells how David suggested that his people should wear a leek

in their bonnets during battles so that they could be easily recognized;

Welsh Guards are still distinguished by a green and white plume in their

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