–ефераты. Holidays and traditions in english-speaking countries

Nancy Price in a book called PaganТs Progress suggests that the

pancake was a Уthin flat cake eaten to stay the pangs of hunger before

going to be shrivenФ (to confession).

Holidays and traditions in English Ц 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.Ф

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

AshbourneТs Shrovetide Football are the best known. Shrovetide is also the

time of Student Rags.


On the 1st of March each year one can see people walking around London

with leeks pinned to their coats. ј leek is the national emblem of Wales.

The many Welsh people who live in London Ч or in other cities outside Wales

Ч like to show their solidarity on their national day.

The day is actually called Saint DavidТs Day, after а sixth century

abbot who became patron saint of Wales. David is the nearest English

equivalent to the saintТs name, Dawi.

The saint was known traditionally as Уthe WatermanФ, which perhaps

means that he and his monks were teetotallers. ј 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 DavidТs 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!


MothersТ 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 Ц 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

УMothersТ DayФ. People visit their mothers if possible and give them

flowers and small presents. If they cannot go they send a УMothersТ Day

cardФ, 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 motherТs day off.

St. PatrickТs Day

It is not a national holiday. ItТs 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 arenТt Irish themselves also wear green neckties and

hair ribbons and take part in the celebration.


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


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.

LondonТs 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 Ц 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 FoolsТ Day or All FoolsТ Day, named from the custom of playing

practical jokes or sending friends on foolsТ 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 УcuckooФ or УgowkФ, 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 henТs 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 GovernmentТs

policy, etc.

May Spring Festival

The 1st of May has also to some extent retained its old significance

Ч 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. ј Maypole was erected Ч 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 ¬еге was dancing, often Morris dancing, with the dancers dressed in

fancy costume, usually

Holidays and traditions in English Ц 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 Ч 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 oТclock 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.


During the month of June, а day is set aside as the QueenТ s official

birthday. This is usually the second Saturday in June. On this day there

takes place on Horse GuardsТ 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


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 GuardsТ parade the massed

array of the Brigade of Guards, dressed in ceremonial uniforms, await her


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 Ц 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.


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 УKiss ће QuickФ, 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 Ц 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,


Holidays and traditions in English Ц 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. Ќеге 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

УbarkersФ (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 Уbumping carsФ,

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 Ч table lamps and clocks and а hundred and one other things of


ј visit to the fair at Happy Hampstead is something not easily

forgotten. It is noisy, it is exhausting Ч but it is as exhilarating an

experience as any in the world.



УLadies and gentlemen Ч the Proms!Ф

Amongst music-lovers in Britain Ч and, indeed, in very many other

countries Ч 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 Ч 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. ј few

minutes later, when seats have been resumed, the first work of the evening


But even if seats are not to be obtained, the important parts of the

concerts can be heard Ч and are heard Ч by а very great number of people,

because the ¬¬— 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. ј season provides an anthology of


Holidays and traditions in English Ц speaking countries.

The Proms started in 1895 when Sir Henry Wood formed the QueenТs 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 Ч one shilling Ч to enter

the Promenade, where standing was the rule.

The coming of the last war ended two PromsТ traditions. The first was

that in 1939 it was nо longer possible to perform to London audiences Ч the

whole organization was evacuated to Bristol. The second was that the Proms

couldnТt return to the QueenТs Hall after the war was over Ч the QueenТs

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