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История British holidays, customs and traditions
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Like any other nation in the world, Britain has its own customs and traditions that play a more important role in the lives of the UK people, compared with other nations.

Most of these customs and traditions are so old that they seem rather strange to modern people. But the Britons don't want to part with them. Being rather conservative by nature, they are very proud of their customs and traditions and carefully keep them up. Some of them are famous all over the world.

The British like order in everything and to queue up is one of their customs. Talks about the weather, bowler hats and great love for tea, as well as red double-deckers and left-hand traffic greatly add to the British originality.

It is well known that many kinds of sports were born in Britain: cricket, football, tennis, golf, boat- or horse-racings and some others. The British are great sports-lovers. Almost all of them go in for this or that kind of sports. And when they don't, they like to watch different games or speak about them. Sport is indeed an essential part of their life.

Most Britons like to spend their days-off at home with their families. They love gardens and prefer a house with a fireplace to a flat in a modern house. Almost all of them are very fond of animals and have one or more pets at home.

The UK holidays are especially rich in various customs and traditions:

Christmas is celebrated in the UK on the 25-th of December. It is one of the most important religious holidays in England, Wales and Ireland, but the Scots don't celebrate it at all.

On this day many Britons go to churches. At home they open their Christmas presents and eat their holiday dinner (stuffed turkey-in England, roast goose — in Wales and Ireland) with their traditional Christmas pudding. They also watch the Queen's Christmas TV cast and make merry.

Boxing Day (December, 26) is marked with small presents in boxes usually given to their servants by the rich.

New Year's Day is a great national holiday in Britain. It is usually marked with dances, lots of presents and New Year's parties.

Good Friday is celebrated before Easter, when the Church marks the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. On this day the British usually eat their famous hot cross buns.

Easter is the greatest religious holiday in the UK. Many Britons attend the church services. They spend this great holiday together with their families, exchange coloured or chocolate eggs and various presents.

St. Valentine's Day (February, 14) is the holiday of love and friendship when many people send special cards (Valentines) to their beloved.

April Fools' Day is now just a day for jokes and fun and May Day is an official Labour Day.

Halloween (October, 31) is celebrated on the eve of All Saints' Day. As a rule, on this day many children make different costumes, put them on and go from house to house, saying: «Trick or treat». And the adults give them plenty of tasty things.

On Guy Fawkes's Day (November, 5) people in Britain build in their gardens "bonfires" (wood fires) with a figure of Guy Fawkes on the top. Thus they mark the day when this man tried to kill their king James I, putting a bomb under the Houses of Parliament, but failed.

The king's men found the bomb. They caught Guy Fawkes, took him to the Tower and cut off his head. On this day children usually try to make money. They make small "guys" and stand in the street, shouting: "Penny for the guy".

Hogmanay (December, 31), the last day of the year or New Year's eve, is widely celebrated by the Scots. Early in the morning many people go from house to house to wish their neighbours "Happy New Year". Good or bad luck on this day depends on the first-footer. If he proves a dark-haired man, the family will be happy all the year round.

Numerous Bank Holidays are connected with all the above mentioned British holidays. They are celebrated as official holidays. As a rule, on these days all banks and shops, post-offices and factories are closed. Almost all Britons spend them with their families. They have holiday dinners, drink wine and make merry.

Знаете ли вы?

Вот уже 18 столетий отмечают люди разных стран День Свя­того Валентина (14 февраля). Появился данный праздник в Древ­нем Риме в честь богини любви. Его главной целью было найти свою половинку и создать семью.

Сегодня данный праздник широко шагает по планете. В каж­дой стране появились свои обычаи и традиции, связанные с этим днем.

В Англии многие в данный день дарят своим любимым конфеты в форме сердца. В Уэльсе вырезают деревянные «ложки люб­ви», украшая их сердечками, ключиками или замочными сква­жинами, что означает «Ты нашел путь к моему сердцу», и дарят их своим возлюбленным.

Американцы традиционно дарят конфеты в форме сердечка и красные розы.

В Италии данный день получил негласное название «сладкий», так как итальянцы считают своим долгом подарить своей лю­бимой сладости.

Во Франции традиционный подарок в данный день — драгоцен­ности. И дарят их не только своим возлюбленным, но и всœем тем, кого уважают, ценят: родным, друзьям и знакомым. Именно французы претендуют на право изобретения пер­вых «валентинок», хотя в средние века это были совсœем не открытки, а любовные четверостишия.

В Дании в такой праздник принято посылать засушенные белые цветы и «валентинки» без подписи.

А вот в Германиисвятого Валентина считают покровителœем душевнобольных людей, а не влюбленных. По этой причине немцы в данный день проводят богослужения и украшают лечебницы алы­ми лентами.

В Японии в День Святого Валентина проводится конкурс на «Самое громкое любовное признание». Тот, кто со специ­ального помоста громче всœех поведает миру о своих чувствах, становится победителœем. В данный день девушки дарят своим любимым юношам шоколадки. Парни не остаются в долгу и дарят своим избранницам белый шоколад, причем не только 14 февраля, но и месяц спустя — 14 марта͵ который именуется «Белым днем».