British life-style. Customs and traditions in the UK
Category: culturologyculturology

British life-style. Customs and traditions in the UK

1. British life-style. Customs and traditions in the UK

Предмет: «Культура страны изучаемого языка»
Преподаватель: Коноплёва Анастасия Андреевна (кафедра
теории и практики английского языка)


1. Sports and physical
2. Public holidays and
3. Royal traditions and
pageantry in London.


Sports and physical recreation have always
been popular in the UK. The United Kingdom has
given birth to a range of major international sports
including: association football, rugby (union and
league), cricket, golf, tennis, badminton, hockey,
boxing, snooker, billiards and curling. Major
individual sports include athletics, golf, motorsport,
and horseracing.


Four sports in the United Kingdom operate
high professional leagues. Football is the most
popular sport and is played from August to May.
Rugby union is also a winter sport. Cricket is played
in the summer, from April to September. Rugby
league is traditionally a winter sport, but since the
late 1990s the elite competition has been played in
the summer to minimise competition for attention
with football. There is also a professional Ice Hockey
league operating in Great Britain called the Elite Ice
Hockey League.


Football in the United Kingdom is organized
on a separate basis in each of the four countries of
the United Kingdom. Each country has a national
football association responsible for the overall
management of football within their respective
country. It has been the most popular sport in the
United Kingdom since the 1860s.


There is no United Kingdom national football
team. Each of the countries of the United Kingdom
has a national football association responsible for
the overall management of football within their
respective nation: The Football Association, (FA) is
responsible for England and the Crown
Dependencies and was founded in 1863, The
Scottish Football Association (SFA) was founded in
1873 followed by the Football Association of Wales
in 1876 and Irish Football Association (IFA) in


Cricket is known to have been played in
England since the 16th century. There are eighteen
professional county clubs, seventeen of them in
England and one in Wales. Each summer the county
clubs compete in the first class County
Championship, which consists of two leagues of
nine teams. English cricket grounds are smaller than
the largest in some other countries, but the best of
them have been modernised to a high standard. The
largest English cricket ground, Lord's in London, is
internationally regarded as the "home of cricket".


The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
is the governing body of cricket in England and
Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining
the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board
(TCCB), the National Cricket Association (NCA)
and the Cricket Council. They are full members of
the International Cricket Council.


Rugby is a style of football named after Rugby
School in the United Kingdom. It is seen in two current
sports, rugby league and rugby union. In England, rugby
union is widely regarded as an "establishment" sport,
played mostly by members of the upper and middle
classes. For example, many students at public schools
and grammar schools play rugby union. In contrast,
rugby league has traditionally been seen as a working
class pursuit. An exception to this stereotype is evident
in the neighboring countries of England and Wales.


In England rugby union is associated with the
public school system. In Wales, rugby is associated
with small village teams which consisted of coal
miners and other industrial workers playing on their
days off. In Ireland, rugby union is also associated
with private education.


British Rowing, formerly the Amateur Rowing
Association (ARA), is the governing body in
England for the sport of rowing. It is also
responsible for the development and organisation of
international rowing teams representing Great
Britain. Scottish Rowing (formerly SARA) and the
Welsh Amateur Rowing Association (WARA)
oversee governance in their respective countries,
organise their own teams for the Home International
Regatta and input to the GB team organisation.


Henley Royal Regatta is a rowing event held
every year on the River Thames by the town of
Henley-on-Thames, England. The regatta was first
staged in 1839 and proved so successful that it was
expanded to the next year. The regatta has been
known as Henley Royal Regatta since 1851, when
Prince Albert became the first royal patron. Since his
death, every reigning monarch has agreed to be the


The regatta lasts for 5 days (Wednesday to
Sunday) over the first weekend in July. The regatta
regularly attracts international crews to race. The
most prestigious event at the regatta is the Grand
Challenge Cup for Men's Eights, which has been
awarded since the regatta was first staged. The
regatta is regarded as part of the English social
season. As with other events in the season, certain
enclosures at the regatta have strict dress codes.


Thoroughbred horseracing racing originated
under Charles II of England as the "sport of kings".
Nowadays it occupies a key place in British sport,
probably ranking in the top four or five sports in
terms of media coverage. There are sixty racecourses
in Great Britain and annual racecourse attendance
exceeds six million. The sport in Great Britain is
governed by the British Horseracing Authority. The
town of Newmarket is considered the centre of
English racing, largely because of the famous
Newmarket Racecourse.


There are two forms of the sport: flat racing
and national hunt racing. National hunt racing can
be further divided into hurdling and steeplechasing.
Flat races can be run under varying distances and on
different terms. Historically, the major flat racing
countries were Australia, England, Ireland, France
and the United States, but other countries, such as
Japan, have emerged in recent decades. Some
countries and regions have a long tradition as major
breeding centers, namely Ireland.


Ascot Racecourse is a famous English
racecourse, located in the small town of Ascot,
Berkshire, used for thoroughbred horse racing. It is
one of the leading racecourses in the United
Kingdom, hosting 9 of the UK's 32 annual Group 1
races. The course is closely associated with the
British Royal Family. Ascot today stages twenty-six
days of racing between the months of May and
October inclusive. The most prestigious race is the
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes run
over the course in July.


Modern competitive golf originated in Scotland.
Some historians trace the sport back to the Roman
game, in which participants used a bent stick to hit a
stuffed leather ball. The game is thought to have been
introduced into Europe during the Middle Ages. The
oldest surviving rules of golf were compiled in 1744 for
the Company of Gentlemen Golfers. The world's oldest
golf tournament is The Open Championship, which
was first played in 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club, in
Ayrshire, Scotland. In the early 20th century British
golfers were the best in the world, winning nearly all of
the U.S. Open championships before World War I.


Golf is the sixth most popular sport in the
United Kingdom. The Open Championship is played
each July on a number of British golf courses. There
is even the British Golf Museum located in St.
Andrews, Scotland. The museum, which opened in
1990, documents the history of golf from Medieval
times to the present, including the men's and
women's games, British and international, both
professional and amateur. Exhibits include historic
equipment, art work, documentation, the history of
the Royal and Ancient Golf Club.


Tennis is another sport which originated in the
United Kingdom, first originating in the city of
Birmingham between 1859 and 1865 as "lawn
tennis". Tennis is enjoyed by millions of recreational
players. It is also a popular worldwide spectator
sport, especially the Grand Slam tournaments (also
referred to as the "Majors"): the Australian Open
played on hard courts, the French Open played on
red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts,
and the US Open played also on hard courts.


The Championships, Wimbledon, "The
Wimbledon Championships" or simply Wimbledon
(also informally known as "The British Open"), is
the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and widely
considered to be the biggest and the most prestigious.
It has been held at the All England Club in
Wimbledon, London since 1877. One of the four
Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the other three
majors being the Australian Open, French Open and
US Open. Wimbledon is the only Major still played
on grass, the game's original surface, which gave the
game its original name of "lawn tennis".


The tournament takes place over two weeks in
late June and early July, culminating with the Ladies'
and Gentlemen's Singles Final, scheduled for the
second Saturday and Sunday respectively.


Public holidays and celebrations
A great number of customs and traditions date
back to the early days of Great Britain and we can
justly say that they are the reflection of the country's
history and the people's psychology. To know the
customs and traditions means to understand the
people, their art and culture better. In the matter of
holidays the British are less well off than other


There are eight public holidays a year in Great
Britain, that is days on which people need not go in
to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New
Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day,
Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank
Holiday. Most of these holidays are of religious
origin, though it would be true to say that for the
greater part of the population they have long lost
their religious significance and are simply days on
which people relax, eat, drink and make merry.


All the public holidays, except Christmas Day
and Boxing Day observed on December 25 and 26
respectively, are movable, that is they do not fall on
the same date each year. Good Friday and Easter
Monday depend on Easter Sunday which falls on the
first Sunday after a full moon on or after March 21.
May Day falls on the first Monday in May. The
Spring Bank Holiday falls on the last Monday of
May, while the Late Summer Bank Holiday comes
on the last Monday in August.


The Christmas Day in the United Kingdom is
celebrated on December 25, as well as in the most of
European countries.
Many of the British modern Christmas customs
and traditions are directly derived from pagan
ceremonies belonging to ancient midwinter feasts.
One of the oldest is probably the decoration of
houses with greenery. Evergreens, which are symbols
of undying life, were commonly used to adorn the
dwellings. The Christmas Tree is traditionally a
symbol of Christmas.


The giving of presents and the exchange of
Christmas cards are almost equally essential parts of
the Christmas festival in Britain today.
Father Christmas is the traditional gift-bringer
in the United Kingdom. Originally he was Odin, one
of the pagan gods that were brought to the British
Isles from the ancient Scandinavia.


Another feature of the Christmas time in
Britain is represented by carols, which are the
popular and happy songs of the Christian religion. In
many towns, the people gather round the communal
Christmas tree, or in the town hall, to sing carols
under the leadership of the local clergy, or of the


A pantomime is a traditional English
entertainment at Christmas. It is meant for
children, but adults enjoy just as much. It is a
very old form of entertainment, and can be traced
back to 16th century Italian comedies. Harlequin
is a character from these old comedies.


December 26 is Boxing Day. Traditionally
boys from the shops in each town asked for money at
Christmas. They went from house to house on
December 26 and took boxes made of wood with
them. At each house people gave them money. This
was a Christmas present. So the name of December
26 doesn't come from the sport of boxing - it comes
from the boys' wooden boxes. Now, Boxing Day is
an extra holiday after Christmas Day.


The celebration of New Year’s day differs
according to the district. In the south of England, the
festival of Christmas, lasting 12 days from December
25, runs on well into the New Year. The decorations
of coloured streamers and holly, put up round the
walls, and of course the fir-tree, with its candles or
lights, are not packed away until January 5. On the
evening of December 31, people gather in one
another's homes, in clubs, in pubs, in restaurants, and
hotels, in dance halls and institutes.


The first visitor to enter a house on New Year's
morning is commonly known in Great Britain as the
First Foot. Wherever he appears, he is a personage
of great importance. He may be a chance caller, or he
may be the ceremonial First Foot who comes on
purpose to let the New Year into the house and bring
good luck to the family. Whichever he is, he is
traditionally supposed to influence the fortunes of the
householders in the following twelve months.


In the north and in Scotland, particularly, the
New Year known as Hogmanay, is very well kept
up. The ceremonies are similar. The visitor is
entertained with cakes and ale. At the parties on New
Years Eve and also on Burns night, when they
commemorate their national poet (January 25), the
Scottish people enjoy eating their famous haggis.
This is a pudding, made from the heart, liver and
lungs of sheep or calf, minced suet, onions, oatmeal
and seasoning, and cooked in the animals stomach. It
is brought into the banqueting-hall or dining room to
the accompaniment of the bagpipes.


Easter is a Christian spring festival that is
usually celebrated in March or April. The name for
Easier comes from a pagan fertility celebration. The
word "Easter" is named after Easter, the AngloSaxon goddess of spring. Many people go outdoors
on Easter morning hoping to see the sun dance.
There is also a custom of putting on something new
to go to church on Easter morning.People celebrate
the holiday according to their beliefs and their
religious denominations. Christians commemorate
Good Friday as the day that Christ died and Easter


Eggs, chickens, rabbits and flowers are all
symbols of new life. Chocolate and fruit cake
covered with marzipan show that fasting is over.
Wherever Easter is celebrated, there Easter eggs are
usually to be found. In England Easter is a time for
giving and receiving of presents that traditionally
take the form of an Easter egg. Easter egg is a real
hard-boiled egg dyed in bright colors or decorated
with some elaborate pattern.


The day preceding Lent is known as Shrove
Tuesday, or Pancake Day. Shrove Tuesday recalls
the day when people went to church to confess
before Lent. But now the day is more generally
connected with relics of the traditional feasting
before the fast. Shrove Tuesday is famous for
pancake celebration.


Mothering Sunday is the fourth Sunday in
Lent. It is customary to visit one's mother on that
day. Mother ought to be given a present - tea, flowers
or a simnel cake. It is possible to buy the cake, they
are sold in every confectionery. But it is preferable to
make it at home. The way Mothering Sunday is
celebrated has much in common with the
International Women's Day celebration in our


The May 1 has also to some extent retained its
old significance - that of a pagan spring festival. In
ancient times it used to be celebrated with garlands
and flowers, dancing and games on the village green.
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 a garland of
flowers. After this great event there was dancing,
with the dancers dressed in fancy costume, usually
representing characters in the Robin Hood legend.
May-Day games and sports were followed by
refreshments in the open.


British bank holidays are Public Holidays. The
name Bank Holiday comes from the time when
banks were shut and so no trading could take place.
On Bank holiday the townsfolk usually flock into the
country and to the coast. If the weather is fine many
families take a 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 and


On October 31 British people celebrate
Halloween. Though it is not a public holiday, it is
very dear to those who celebrate it, especially to
children and teenagers. This day was originally
called All Hallow's Eve because it fell on the eve of
All Saints' Day. The name was later shortened to
Halloween. According to old beliefs, Halloween is
the time, when the veil between the living and the
dead is partially lifted, and witches, ghosts and other
super beings are about. It is a festival of
merrymaking, superstition spells, fortunetelling,
traditional games and pranks.


Royal traditions and pageantry in London
British people are proud of ceremonies of the
national capital. Many of them are world famous and
attract numerous tourists from all over the world. They
include daily ceremonies and annuals.
The spectacular ceremony of Changing the
Guard at Buckingham Palace attracts numerous
spectators from the country and tourists from different
parts of the world. The Guard is changed at 11.30 a.m.
daily. It is formed from one of the regiments of Foot
Guards. A band leads the new guard from Wellington or
Chelsea barracks to the palace forecourt and after the
ceremony it leads the old guard back to their barracks.


The Ceremony of the Keys dates back 700
years and has taken place every night during that
period. Only a limited number of visitors are
admitted to the ceremony each night. Application to
see it must be made at least forty - eight hours in
advance at the Constable's office in the Tower.
Visitors with the permission are admitted at 9.40
p.m. and leave at 10 p.m.


The splendid civic event known as the Lord
Mayor's show is watched by many thousands of
people, who throng the streets of the City of London
to see this interesting procession and admire its
glittering pageantry. The ceremony is the gesture of
pride in the City's history and strength as a world
commercial centre. The ceremony seems still more
bright and colorful because it is always held on the
second Saturday in November when the city is often
wrapped in mist or rain. This occasion is attended by
many of the most prominent people in the country
and is usually televised. The Prime Minister delivers
a major speech.


Remembrance Day is observed throughout
Britain in commemoration of the British soldiers and
airmen who lost their lives during the two World Wars.
On that day, the second Sunday in November, special
services are held in the churches and wreaths are laid at
war memorials throughout the country, where a great
number of people gather to observe the two-minute
silence and to perform the annual Remembrance Day
ceremony. The silence begins at the first stroke of Big
Ben 11 o'clock, and is broken only by the crash of distant
artillery. Then comes the march past the memorial of exservicemen and women, followed by an endless line of
ordinary citizens who have come here with their personal
wreaths and their sad memories.


On that day artificial poppies, a symbol of
mourning, are traditionally sold in the streets
everywhere, and people wear them in their
buttonholes. The money collected in this way is later
used to help the men who had been crippled during
the war and their dependants. The most magnificent
ceremony is held in London, in a memorial to those
who died during the two world wars. On
Remembrance Day the ceremony is attended by the
monarch and royal family, statesmen and politicians,
representatives of the armed forces and


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