Customs and traditions of Great Britain

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The pulling of Christmas crackers often accompanies food on Christmas Day. Invented by a London baker in 1846, a cracker is a brightly colored paper tube, twisted at both ends, which contains a party hat, riddle and toy or other trinket. When it is pulled by two people it gives out a crack as its contents are dispersed.

26th December is also a public holiday, Boxing Day, which takes its name from a former custom of giving a Christmas Box - a gift of money or food inside a box - to the deliverymen and trades people who called regularly during the year. This tradition survives in the custom of tipping the milkman, postman, dustmen and other callers of good service at Christmas time. This is the time to visit friends and relatives or watch football.

At midnight on 31th December throughout Great Britain people celebrate the coming of the New Year, by holding hands in a large circle and singing the song:

Should auld acquaintance be forget, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forget? And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne, We'll take a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne!

New Year's Eve is a more important festival in Scotland than it is in England, and it even has a special name. It is not clear where the word 'Hogmanay' comes from, but it is connected with the provision of food and drink for all visitors to your home on 31th December. It was believed that the first person to visit one's house on New Year's Day could bring good or bad luck. Therefore, people tried to arrange for the person or their own choice to be standing outside their houses ready to be let in the moment midnight had come. Usually a dark-complexioned man was chosen, and never a woman, for she would bring bad luck. The first footer was required to carry three articles: a piece of coal to wish warmth, a piece of bread to wish food, and a silver coin to wish wealth.

Easter.

Easter is a Christian spring festival that is usually celebrated in March or April. The name for Easter comes from a pagan fertility celebration. The word "Easter" is named after Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess og spring. Spring is a natural time for new life and hope when animals have their young and plants begin to grow. Christian Easter may have purposely been celebrated in the place of a pagan festival. It is therefore not surprising that relics of doing and beliefs not belonging th the Christian religious should cling even to this greatest day in the Church's year. An old-fashioned custom still alive is to get up early and climb a hill to see the sun rising. There are numerous accounts of the wonderful spectacle of the sun whirling round and round for joy at our Saviour's Resurrection. So 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 Sunday as the day that He was resurrected. Protestant settlers brought the custom of a sunrise service, a religious gathering at dawn, to the United States.

Today on Easter Sunday, children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of candy. He has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week. Children hunt for the eggs all around the house. Neighborhoods and organizations hold Easter egg hunts, and the child who first the most eggs wins a prize.

Americans celebrate the Easter bunny coming. They set out easter baskets for their children to anticipate the easter bunnys arrival whi leaves candy and other stuff. The Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit. Long ago, he was called the "Easter Hare". Hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births, so they became a symbol of fertility.

Christians fast during the forty days before Easter. They choose to eat and drink only enough to feep themselves alive.

The day preceding Lent is known as Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day. Shrove Tuesday recalls the day when people went to Church ti confess and be shriven 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 calebration. There is some competition at Westminster School: the pancakes are tossed over a bar by the cook and struggled for by a small group of selected boys. The boy who manages to get the largest piece is given a present. This tradition dates from 1445. In the morning the first church bell on Orley is rung for the competitors to make pancakes. The second ring is a signal for cooking them. The third bell set rung for the copetitors to gather at the market square. Then the Pancake bell is sounded and the ladies set off from the church porch, tossing their pancakes three times as they run. Each woman must wear an apron and a hat or scarf over her head. The winner is given a Prayer Book dy the Vicar.

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