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Traditions and holidays of Great Britain.
Every nation and every country has its own traditions and customs.
Traditions make a nation special. Some of them are old-fashioned and
many people remember them, others are part of people’s life. Some
British customs and traditions are known all the world.
From Scotland to Cornwall, Britain is full of customs and traditions. A
lot of them have very long histories. Some are funny and some are
strange. But they are all interesting. There is the long menu of
traditional British food. There are many royal occasions. There are
songs, saying and superstitions. They are all part of the British way of
You cannot really imagine Britain without all its traditions, this
integral feature of social and private life of the people living on the
British Isles that has always been an important part of their life and
English traditions can classified into several groups: traditions
concerning the Englishmen’s private life (child’s birth, wedding,
marriage, wedding anniversary); which are connected with families
incomes; state traditions; national holidays, religious holidays, public
festival, traditional ceremonies.
What about royal traditions? There are numerous royal traditions in
Britain, some are ancient, others are modern.
The Queen is the only person in Britain with two birthdays. Her real
birthday is on April 21st, but she has an “official” birthday, too. That
is on the second Saturday in June. And on the Queen’s official birthday,
there is a traditional ceremony called the Trooping of the Colour. It is
a big parade with brass bands and hundreds of soldiers at Horse Guard’s
Parade in London. A “regiment” of the Queen’s soldiers, the Guards,
march in front of her. At the front of the parade there is the
regiment’s flag or “colour”. Thousands of Londoners and visitors watch
in Horse Guards’ Parade. And millions of people at home watch it on
television. This custom is not very old, but it is for very old people.
On his or her one hundredth birthday, a British person gets a telegram
with congratulations from the Queen.
The changing of the Guard happens every day at Buckingham Palace, the
Queen’s home in London. The ceremony always attracts a lot of spectators
– Londoners as well as visitors – to the British capital.
So soldiers stand on front of the palace. Each morning these soldiers
(the “guard”) change. One group leaves and another arrives. In summer
and winter tourists stand outside the palace at 11:30 every morning and
watch the Changing of the Guard.
Traditionally the Queen opens Parliament every autumn. But Parliament,
not the Royal Family, controls modern Britain. The Queen travels from
Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a gold carriage – the
Irish State Coach. At the Houses of Parliament the Queen sits on a
“throne” in the House of Lords. Then she reads the “Queen’s Speech”. At
the State Opening of Parliament the Queen wears a crown. She wears other
jewels from the Crown Jewels, too.
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