Customs and Traditions
There are many customs and traditions in England. And I would like to tell you some of them. First tradition is called «Wrong side of the bed». When people are bad tempered we say that they must have got out of bed on the wrong side. Originally, it was meant quite literally. People belive that the way they rose in the morning affected their behaivor throughout the day. The wrong side of the bed was the left side. The left always was linked with evil. The second custom is called «Blowing out the candles». The custom of having candles on birthday cakes goes back to the ancient Greeks. Worshippers of Artemis, goddess of the moon and hunting, used to place honey cakes on the altars of her temples on her birthday. The cakes were round like the full moon. This custom was next recorded in the middle ages when German peasants lit tapers on birthday cakes, the number lit indicating the person’s age, plus an extra one to represent the light of life. From earliest days burning tapers had been endued with mystical significance and it was believed that when blown out they had the power to grant a secret wish and ensure a happy year ahead. And the last tradition I would like to tell you is called «The 5th of November». On the 5th of November in almost every otwn and village in England you will see fire burning, fireworks, cracking and lighting up the sky. You will see too small groups of children pulling round in a home made cart, a figure that looks something like a man but consists of an old suit of clothes, stuffed with straw. The children will sing: «Remember, remember the 5th of November; Gun powder, treason and plot». And they will ask passers-by for «a penny for the Guy» But the children with «the Guy» are not likely to know who or what day they are celebrating. They have done this more or less every 5th of November since 1605. At that time James the First was on the throne. He was hated with many people especialy the Roman catholics against whom many sever laws had been passed. A number of catholics chief of whom was Robert Catesby determined to kill the King and his ministers by blowing up the house of Parliament with gunpowder. To help them in this they got Guy Fawkes, a soldier of fortune, who would do the actual work. The day fixed for attempt was the 5th of November, the day on which the Parliament was to open. But one of the consperators had several friends in the parliament and he didn’t want them to die. So he wrote a letter to Lord Monteagle begging him to make some excuse to be absent from parliament if he valued his life. Lord Monteagle took the letter hurriedly to the King. Guards were sent at once to examine the cellars of the house of Parliament. And there they found Guy Fawkes about to fire a trail of gunpowder. He was tortured and hanged, Catesby was killed, resisting arrest in his own house. In memory of that day bonfires are still lighted, fireworks shoot across the November sky and figures of Guy Fawkes are burnt in the streets.