English customs and traditions 1
If you want to know more about the history of life of different countries you must study there traditions. English people carefully keep up their traditions. Many of them are connected with the capital of Great Britain — London. Thus every night the traditional ceremony of the keys takes place at the famous London Tower. At 9.53 p.m. the Chief Warder, carrying the Bloody Tower, where the present guard is waiting for them «Halt! Who goes there?» — the guards ask. Keys, marches from one Tower to another, locking the gates. The escort follows him. Then they march to the Chief Warder answers: «Queen Elisabeth`s keys». «Advance, Queen Elisabeth`s keys. All`s well. » — they are answered. At 10 sharp the Chief Warder proceeds to the Queen`s house to return the keys from the Tower. It is a tradition with English people to celebrate holidays. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Guy Fawkes Night, St. Valentines Day, etc. Christmas is more important for Englishmen than any other holiday. People travel from all parts of the country to be with their families on the 25-th of December. English people decorate Christmas trees with flashing lights, wrapping paper, glass balls, bake puddings and traditional Christmas Turkey. They decorate their houses with holly and mistletoe. Children wait for the presents from Santa Claus, a mythical man, who lives in the North pole and makes toys for children. On Christmas he visits the homes of good children and lives them presents in their socks. Children put their socks at the foot of the bed or a fireplace. Another colorful holiday is Halloween. It is celebrated for hundreds of years. On this day children dress in funny ghostly costumes and knock at the neighbor`s doors. After shouting «Trick or treat» they get gifts of candy or money. But more than 2000 years ago it wasn`t a merry holiday. It was the time when the Lord of Dead gathered the souls of dead and presented them to Druid Heaven on October 31. So people thought that all the evil forces appeared in the darkness on that day. To frighten them people made fires. So nowadays Englishmen take turnips, potatoes, pumpkins, cut holes in them and place candles inside. There is one more holiday, which has a great significance especially for young lovers it is the St. Valentine`s Day. It is celebrated on the 14-th of February. Valentine`s Day is sweethearts` day when people in love express their affections for each other. The message is — «Will you be my Valentine?» Valentines used to be for young lovers, but nowadays grandparents, cousins and friends of any age express their affection through a small gift or a card. The customs of celebrating St. Valentine`s Day dates back to the festivals called Lupercalia. There were games and dancing girl who would be his sweetheart for the coming year. It was a pagan custom, but it survived when Christianity came. In the 7-th century it got the name St. Valentine`s Day. St. Valentine`s had had a long and romantic history. The Romans carried it to England as a pagan festival, combined with the Christian religion, it formed a good tradition. Nowadays Valentine`s Day is celebrated in many countries of the world. Mostly the gifts of cards and flowers are presented on that day. These are the most exiting holidays in England, I think. As we can see they make the life of people richer and happier, make them feel proud of their country, its history and culture.