The role of traditions in the contemporary British society

British Traditional Ceremonies, Holidays and their Classification. The traditions of Britain's Government. British national holidays. British traditional festivals. British National Character and British People’s Way of Life. National character.

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Язык английский
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Управление образования администрации округа Муром

муниципальное образовательное учреждение

средняя общеобразовательная школа №6

The role of traditions in the contemporary British society

Реферат по английскому языку

ученицы 10 «Г» класса Акининой Анастасии

Научный руководитель:

учитель английского языка -

Н.Г. Шигарова

Муром 2007 г.


1. Introduction

2. British Traditional Ceremonies, Holidays and their Classification:

a) The traditions of Britain's Government

b) British national holidays

c) British traditional festivals

3. British National Character and British People's Way of Life

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

1. Introduction

According to “Active Study Dictionary of English” - tradition 1(U) - the passing down of opinions, beliefs, practices, customs, etc. from the past to the present. 2(C) - an opinion, belief, custom, etc. passed down from the past to the present.

Traditions make a nation special, different from other countries. They are the result of its historical experience, the original reflection of the national character and the people's psychology. At the same time they are the part of the country's culture and play a great role in the maintaining of high spiritual and cultural values of the nation. Some of them are old-fashioned and few people remember them, others are part of people's life. Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. English traditions…The combination of these words became usual long ago. Almost everything you come across in Britain is a result of a long history. There is an opinion that Great Britain is the country of traditions. I decided to find out why people think so and if this opinion is correct.

I'm sure that learning traditions is an important part of learning a foreign language, understanding the culture and the character of the nation, which speaks that language. The acquaintance with them allows us to understand the soul of the people better, their life style, their art, literature and history.

As there is no lesson of country studies at school the pupils can't learn much about some special traits and peculiarities of English-speaking countries; more than that we are not allowed enough time for studying this important topic by our school programme. That is why the pupils' knowledge in this area is quite limited. Being really interested in studying English and English-speaking countries I have studied the problem of British traditions more profoundly and presented the results of my investigation as a scientific summery.

The aim of my investigation was to find out why Great Britain is considered to be the land of traditions and if it is really so. In other words what role do traditions play in the life of the contemporary British society? To achieve this aim it was necessary to answer the following questions:

-What traditions are there in Great Britain?

-What is the background of these traditions?

-What role do they play in the life of British people?

-How do British people keep and follow their traditions?

-What are the reasons of preserving the traditions by British people?

-What are the peculiar features of British national character and British way of life?

To answer these questions I had to carry out the following tasks:

- to study some extra material on the subject;

- to study the traditions of the UK;

- to generalize and classify them;

- to systematize my own knowledge on the subject;

- to find out the origin of British traditions and the reasons of preserving them;

- to draw the conclusions on the subject.

2. British Traditional Ceremonies, Holidays and their Classification

british traditional ceremonies national

The aim of this part of the investigation is to answer the following questions:

- What traditions are there in Great Britain?

- What is the background of these traditions?

- What role do they play in the life of British people?

To answer these questions it was necessary to study the British holidays, customs and traditional ceremonies in different spheres of British life, their historical background and their influence and role in the contemporary British society.

a) the Traditions of Britain's Government

Having studied a lot of material on the political system and the government of the UK I found out that Parliament, the Queen, their work and the role in the life of the country are based on a lot of ancient traditions. British Parliament is the oldest in the world. The first members of Parliament started their sittings in Westminster Abbey in 1341. The British crown was their opponent. But it was losing its power and now Elizabeth II has only to open the session of Parliament ceremonially, read the Kings speech and sign some patents.

Nowadays, Britain is a parliamentary democracy with a Constitutional monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as head of state. The country is governed in the Queens name by the Government although she performs certain important acts of government on the advice of her ministers.

The Queens constitutional role is mainly symbolic. True power lies in the hands of the Prime Minister and his or her Cabinet. It is the Queen who formally opens Parliament every autumn, but the speech she makes from the throne, giving details of the governments future plans, is written for her by politicians. Nothing becomes British law without the monarch's signature, but the Queen would never refuse to sign a bill which has been passed by Parliament. It is the Queen who officially appoints the Prime Minister, but traditionally she always asks the leader of the party with a majority in the House of Commons.

But in spite of the fact that the Queens role is mainly ceremonial the monarchy is an institution which is held in affection and reverence by nearly all English people. That is why the traditional ceremonies connected with the Queen and the monarchy have been preserved since ancient times till now very carefully.

First of all the ceremony of the state opening of Parliament is a very bright and spectacular event. The Queen goes to the Houses of Parliament in one of her royal carriages. Everybody is dressed in beautiful bright clothes and the Queen wears the Crown. Before the Queen arrives beefeaters make a ceremonial search of the Houses of Parliament following the old tradition connected with the plot of Guy Fawkes to blow up Parliament on November 5, 1605.

Foreigners watch with disbelief the ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. This ceremony dates back 700 years and has taken place every night during that period of time, even during the Blitz of London in the last war. On one particular night April 16, 1941, bomb blast disrupted the ceremony, knocking out members of the Escort and Yeomen Waders. Despite this, the duty was completed. This strange ceremony takes place every night and is 700 years old! Locking a door or a gate seems to be a simple thing. Not, however, if the gates are of the Tower of London. At 21.53 the Chief Warder of the Tower carrying the lantern and the Keys meets the Escort of the Key. They march to the various gates and lock them ceremonially. But at the Bloody Tower the party is stopped by a sentry with the words:" Halt! Who comes here?"

"The Keys"

"Who's Keys?"

"Queen Elizabeth's Keys"

"All is well"

"God preserve Queen Elizabeth"


And the keys are carried to the Governor of the Tower for the night.

The ceremony of Trooping the Colour takes place on the Queen's official birthday on the second Sunday in June. The ceremony is a beautiful parade of the Queen's soldiers. At the front of the parade they carry the regiments flag or color, in other words, they troop the color.

Another traditional ceremony takes place on the Thursday before Easter Sunday. The Queen gives out purses of money to older people who have done good work. This is called "Maundy Money" and the tradition is almost 700 years old.

There is a very special royal tradition. On the river Thames there are hundreds of swans. Traditionally, a number of these beautiful large white birds belong to the Queen's swan-keeper goes up the river Thames in a boat from London Bridge to Henley to mark the royal ones. This unusual custom is called swan-upping.

One of the most impressive and popular displays of royal pageantry is the Changing the Guard, which takes place at Buckingham Palace every day including Sunday at 11:30. The troops who take part are selected from the five regiments of Foot Guards. Their numbers depend on whether the Queen is in residence or not. The men of the duty guard march from either Wellington or Chelsea Barracks to Buckingham Palace with a band. The guard to be relieved at the south end of the forecourt under the command of the Captain of the Queen's Guard. The New Guard enters the forecourt by the north gate. As it approaches, the Old Guard is called to attention. The New Guard is then halted to be formed into files before it advances to position at a slow march. While this is taking place, the band plays. Later the band leads the Old Guard back to their barracks.

Parliament and its work are also based on a lot of traditions and conventions going back to ancient times. For example, the sittings of Parliament are started every day with a special ceremony: the speaker of the Houses of Commons in ancient clothes accompanied by the sergeant with an epee and a helper go round the castle and disappear behind the doors of the Houses of Commons. This procession is accompanied by the voices of the employees, such as: "Mr. Speaker is coming! Down with a hat! "The working day of Parliament is also finished with traditional phrases, like: "Who goes home?", "Don't forget to come tomorrow in the morning!" In the middle ages it had its own meaning: the members of Parliament went home very late and tried to unite into groups to avoid an attack in the streets of the city, and they sometimes really forgot to visit Parliament the next day.

Though the situation in comparison with the early times has greatly changed the tradition is still preserved now. If you visit Parliament, you will see, in the House of Lords, the Lord Chancellor wearing a wig and sitting on a huge pillow known as the "Wool sack". The sack is indeed stuffed with lamb's wool to remind the peers that this was once the source of Britain's wealth.

In contradistinction to other world's parliaments the British one has a special trait: armchairs for the deputies are settled along the walls like long benches with the gang in the middle. In the gang there is a green carpet with two red lines on each side. It is not allowed to cross the lines during debate - it is a tradition, started in the past when there were even duels between the deputies. The distance between the lines does not allow to cross swords. Since then strict rules about disarmament were taken.

Since the 18th century the two main parties have sat facing each other in the House of Commons. MPs sitting on the front benches are the leading members of the main opposition party. The House of Commons still looks almost the same today.

To add to this the procedure of passing the bills has also been the same for some hundreds years.

Speaking about the ceremonies connected with the state power one should also mention the Lord Mayors show: a colorful ceremony which has been running for almost 800 years. It takes place each November in London and attracts thousands of people.

b) British National Holidays

In Britain there are also lots of traditions connected with celebrating holidays.

New Year

All over Britain on 31 December there are New Year celebrations. Most people see the New Year in with friends and relations. At midnight on New Years Eve everybody joins hands and sings Auld Lang Syne, a poem by the Scottish poet- Robert Burns. In Scotland and the North of England people go first footing. They call at friends houses, trying to be the first person through the door after midnight. To symbolize good luck, the visitor carries a piece of co0al and a glass of water.

Saint Valentine's Day

Saint Valentine's Day is 14 February. People send Valentine's cards to someone they love, fancy, admire or secretly like. Usually you don't sign your name. The person who receives the card has to guess who sent it.

(There are some traditional verses inside a Valentine's card, for example:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet

And so are you!)

April Fools Day

April Fools Day is 1st April. You can play jokes on people, even on teachers. When they discover the joke, you say: "April fool!" You have to play the joke before 12 o'clock midday otherwise the joke is on you.


Schools close for two weeks at Easter. On Good Friday people eat hot cross beans, which are small sweet rolls. They eat them toasted with butter. People give each other chocolate Easter eggs on Easter Sunday. The eggs are usually hollow and contain sweets.


31 October is Halloween. This pagan festival celebrates the return of the souls of the dead who come back to visit places where they used to live. In the evening there are lots of Halloween parties, or fancy dress parties. People dress up as witches, ghosts, devils, casts, bats or anything scary. Houses are decorated with pumpkins with candles put inside. Some children follow the American custom called Trick or Treat. They knock at your house and ask: "Trick or treat?” If you give t5hem some money or some sweets (a treat) they go away. Otherwise, they play trick on you, like squirting water in your face.

Christmas Day

Christmas day, December 25th, is probably the most exciting day of the year for most English children. They know that they will get presents, just as they do on their birthdays, but on Christmas Day most of them will also see what their brothers and sisters have received.

Traditionally, English children hang a stocking at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve. In the morning they check whether the stocking has been filled with small toys, fruit and sweets. Larger toys will be nearby.

The morning will be spent playing with new toys, then comes lunch, often with the turkey or goose as the main dish. Afterwards there is Christmas pudding to be eaten. Usually a coin or two will have been hidden inside it, and part of the fun is to see who finds it.

Except for the holidays which are celebrated in many countries (New Year, Christmas) and for holidays which are celebrated in lots of European countries (Halloween, Saint Valentine's Day), in Britain there are some special ones, for example, Guy Fawkes Day. On November 5, 1605, Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators planned to blow up Parliament. The plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was hanged. But the cellars where was captured are still searched before each opening of Parliament. This is a spectacular ceremony and everything is done just as it was done almost four centuries ago. People celebrate this day by making bonfires and burning the effigy of Guy Fawkes.

Britain is also famous for its sport holidays. The rowing race between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge has been held on the River Thames in London almost every year since 1836. The length of the course is 4, 5 miles (7.2 kilometres).


This is one of the four great world tennis championships and the only one which is played on grass. It is held in the last week of June and the first week of July at Wimbledon in south0west London.

Royal Ascot

This is one of the biggest horse-race meetings in Britain. It is held at Ascot, in the south of England. The Queen drives there from Windsor Castle. Ascot lasts for four days.

c) British traditional festivals

There are two greatest poets in Britain whose names and works have become the national pride and can be called the symbol of the country. They are William Shakespeare and Robert Burns. The Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, was born in 1759. Feeling the injustice of the world, he protested against landlords who owned the best land in his poetry. Burns is the author of the words of the song "Auld Lang Syne", which Scottish people sing on the New Year Day.

There are hundreds of Burns Clubs scattered throughout the world, and 25th of January they all endeavour to hold Burns Night celebrations to mark the birth of Scotland's greatest poet. The traditional menu at the suppers is cock-a-leekie soup (chicken broth), boiled salt herring, haggis with turnips and champed tatties (mashed potatoes). The arrival of the haggis is usually heralded by the music of bagpipes. "The Immortal Memory" is toasted and the company stands in silent remembrance. The follows dancing, pipe music and selections from Burns lyrics, the celebration concluding with the poets famous Auld Lang Syne.

Every year the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare is celebrated with joyous ceremony at Stratford-upon-Avon, the Warwickshire market-town where he was born on April 23rd, 1564. Flags are unfurled in the main street, people buy sprigs of rose-marry to wear in their buttonholes. The town beadle heads a long procession through the streets to the parish church where everyone in the procession deposits a wreath or a bouquet (or a simple posy) at the poet's grave and in the evening there is a performance of the chosen "Birthday Play" in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

The Welsh Eisteddfodau

This is the Welsh name for the annual competition where people meet to dance, sing and read poems. No country in the world has a greater love of music and poetry than people of Wales. Today, Eisteddfodau are held at scores of places throughout Wales, particularly from May to early November. The habit of holding similar events dates back to early history, and there are records of competitions for Welsh poets and musicians in the XII century.

Edinburgh Festival

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It is an important centre of cultural life and each year in late August and early September it produces a festival of music and drama which is famous all over the world.

May Queen Festival

London's May Queen festival is the largest May Queen festival in Britain and a thousand children take part in it. It takes place on the second Saturday in May. As many as forty May Queens from different parts of the country are present and with their attendants present a colorful spectacle. The festival has been held since 1880.

Having learnt all these facts about British traditions, I can say that there is a great number of traditions in Great Britain which are connected with all the spheres of British life. They are observed by most British people, influence their life and form their culture and national spirit. Most of them sprang up several hundreds years ago. British traditions mostly originated from different historical events and are carefully preserved by British people.

3. British National Character and British People's Way of Life

Traditions are started, preserved and passed down from the past to the present by people. The traditions of the country reflect the character of the nation on the one hand and form the national character on the other hand. These two things are interconnected with each other and influence each other. So it's impossible to speak about traditions and their role in the society without analyzing the people's character.* So to continue my work I also had to think over the following questions:

- What are the peculiar features of British national character and British way of life?

- How do British people keep and follow their traditions?

- What are the reasons of preserving the traditions by British people?

People have many ideas about what the British are like. For example, some people say the English are always cold and reserved, some believe that the English eat porridge for breakfast and read The Times every day. And of course the English themselves have plenty of ideas about what they are, such as being proud of having one of the oldest parliaments in the world.

M. Morris, a journalist from the Speak Out magazine, asked some English people and some people from other countries who live in England to name three things that they most closely associate with the English. Here is what they say:

“Undoubtedly, the cuppa (an affectionate name for a cup of tea), beer and queuing”.

Sandie, 24 (English)

“Pubs, class snobbery and football.”

John, 21(English)

“Red double-deckers, the Royal Family and the BBC.”

Clair, 15(English)

“I'd say that the English are very cold, the food is horrible and the weather is too cold and wet.”

Annalisa, 19(Italian student)

“Sherlock Holmes, good manners and politeness.”

Tanya, 13(German student)

“Sense of humor, cricket, stiff upper lip.”

Marina, 16(Russian student)

“Eccentricity, sense of superiority towards foreigners, fish and chips, reserve.”

Jessica, 17(American student)

All these ideas prove that there is a certain number of customs, traditions, manners and behavior stereotypes which are observed by a lot of British people in everyday life and considered to be typically British. The question is: “Are these opinions true to life or are they just stereotypes far from being true?”

*To be more exact analyzing British character in this paper we bare in mind mostly English features as of a dominating nation among the British.

Great Britain is an island on the outer edge of the European continent, and its geographical situation has produced a certain insular spirit among its inhabitants, who tend, a little more perhaps than other people, to regard their own community as the centre of the world. The insularity produces a certain particularism among the numerous groups of whom the whole community is composed. The British look on foreigners in general with contempt and think that nothing is as well done elsewhere as in their own country. The British people have also been known as superior, snobbish, aloof, hypocritical and unsociable. These characteristics were noticed by people from all over the world, but are they typical for all the Britons? The ordinary Briton was seen to be friendly and sociable. There are indeed two nations, with basically different outlooks and characters, in Britain. The two nations are defined simply as the rich and the poor. The traditional opinion about the British, or the English in earlier centuries, was based on the habits of those Britons who could afford to travel, the diplomats and merchants. English vanity and arrogance grew as England fought off the competition from other European countries and became the worlds leading trading nation, going on to industrialize rapidly.

Englishmen tend to be rather conservative and they love familiar things. They are bored when they hear any suggestion that some modification of their habits might be to their advantage. This conservatism on a national scale may be illustrated by reference to the public attitude to the monarchy, an institution which is held in affection and reverence by nearly all English people.

Britain is supposed to be the land of law and order. Part of British sense of law and orderliness is a love of precedent. For an Englishman the best of all reasons for doing something is that it has always been done in that way.

The Britons are practical and realistic; they are infatuated with common sense. They are not misled by romantic delusions.

The English sense and feeling for privacy is notorious. England is the country of brick fences and stone walls (often with glass embedded along the top), of hedges, of thick draperies at all the windows, and reluctant introductions, but nothing is stable now. "The Englishman's home is his castle", is a saying known all over the world. And it is true. . For example, usually Englishmen speak with strangers only through the door not inviting them to come in. It does not mean that Englishmen are not hospitable but the guests are invited only beforehand and by the certain hour. English people rarely shake hands except when being introduced to someone for the first time. They hardly ever shake hands with their friends except seeing them after a long interval or saying good-bye before a long journey.

The English are a nation of stay-at-home. "There is no place like home", they say. And when the man is not working he is at home in the company of his wife and children busies himself with the affairs of the home. They care about their house: the most popular individualistic pursuit is gardening. Most English people love gardens - their own above all, and this is probably one reason why so many people prefer to live in houses rather than flats.

The British people are prudent and careful about almost everything. Their laws are closely cropped, their flower beds are primly cultivated, and their trees neatly pruned. Everything is orderly. Drinks are carefully measured, seats in the cinema are carefully assigned (even if the theatre is empty you are required to sit in the seat assigned to you), closing hours rigorously observed.

The best-known quality of the English is being reserved. A reserved person is one who does not talk very much to strangers, does not show much emotion. He never tells you anything about himself.

Economy is the character trait which Englishmen show in their attitude to money, words and emotions. They treat badly any open expression of the feeling: love or hatred, rapture or anger. Englishmen are relaxed and well-organized at the same time.

If you want to talk to an Englishman you should know that English talk is full of prohibitions: besides the words "yes" and "no" it avoids some personal moments, everything that can seem to be an invasion to the private life.

A tradition that is rooted not only in their own soul, but in the minds of the rest of the world is the devotion of the English to animals. Animals are protected by law. If, for instance, anyone leaves a cat to starve in an empty house while he goes for his holiday, he can be sent to prison. There are special dogs' cemeteries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded half a century before its counterpart for the prevention of cruelty to children. In Englishmen's opinion a lot of peoples are too cruel to animals and too gentle to children. (The British love animals so much that there is a Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals - RSPCA - but only a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children - NSPCC.) At heart Englishmen are sure that parents should be better too strict than too gentle and they should not spoil their child. In Britain people think that punishing children is not only right, but it is also parents' duty. Englishmen like to speak about the respect of human dignity and at the same time corporal punishment of students is still legal.

One more interesting English character trait is that they don't respect telephone connection and prefer post connection. The telephone call may interrupt a conversation, tea drinking (The English are world's greatest tae-drinkers. They drink a quarter of all the tea grown in the world each year) or watching a TV programme. It demands fast reaction and does not leave an opportunity to think over the answer. It is polite to come to an agreement about a business-like meeting in a written form, but not over the telephone. It is also considered that the streets are not for people's association but to get from one place to another without any problems.

British also have one more strange habit: they never wash their face under jet of water. They don't even pour water after having a bath. More than that they wash dishes in the same way!

Everything what has already been described is a common opinion, what the British are generally considered to be. But what does modern British society look like? These characteristics were noticed by people from all over the world, but are they typical for all the Britons? What does modern British society look like? Nowadays the well-known stereotypes of British character and the way of life are being broken. There are some contradictions in what is considered typically British.

· Most British expect the person in front of them to hold the door open for them. People think you are rude, if you don't do this. But British football supporters have a reputation for violence.

· Most British people queue when they are waiting for a bus or waiting to be served in a shop. But during the rush hour, when a bus or a train arrives, people often push forward to make sure they got on. This is called jumping the queue.

· The British are devoted to animals very much. But at the same time they still go fox hunting.

Having had a chance to see and associate with a real Englishman I can say that during his speech he was relaxed, quite reserved. Besides I noticed that he was very artistic. And he did not look like a superior, snobbish or aloof person. Besides he was really sociable. It proves that not all the British have such character traits as we think they have.

I think there are lots of reasons for changing the stereotypes and one of them is that England especially London has become multicultural .It has a long history of immigration and more recently, the British Empire and the Second World War have had a serious impact on the number of immigrants in Britain. Coming to live in Great Britain they bring their own culture. London is not isolated from the rest of the world any more. And it influences the life of the country. Some of the old traditions and traditional things begin to disappear and new ones are being introduced.

For example, in 1950-1960 many Trinidadians immigrated to Britain in the hope of getting a job and making a home. They made good nurses, conductors and drivers, but many of them were unemployed. Life was hard for them as there was a lot of racism and inequality. Besides, they missed the warmth and the blue skies of the Caribbean. So one day, remembering their great festivals back home, the Trinidadians decided to organize a street procession in Notting Hill to boost their spirits. Now every August London is home to the great Notting Hill Carnival which takes place at Notting Hill in west London. It is the largest arts festival in Europe and second largest carnival in the world. It is a fantastic event and is absolutely free! People who take part dress up in fabulous costumes. Steel bands play African and Caribbean music and people dance and blow whistles. The carnival has been held on the last weekend of August since 1966 and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Chinese people also brought a piece of their culture to Britain. They organized the most spectacular New Year festival - the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year celebrations are enjoyed by many people, whether Chinese or not. In London's Chinatown, crowds watch processions, singing and dancing, kung fu displays and the Lion Dance. The lion walks down the street. In front of the lion, people bang on drums and crash cymbals. The lion stops in front of each Chinese shop and lifts its head up to get a string of green vegetables and some lucky money in a red envelope. The string is an offering to make sure that the dark days of winter go away and the light of the New Year comes back.

Continuing the topic of breaking stereotypes in the modern world I would like to mention English buses. The famous English Double-Deckers have been recently abolished. Though it was a difficult decision and many Londoners are very unhappy about it. These buses were taken to the London streets in 1954, served the public for more than 50 years and really became a traditional part of British life and were recognized all over the world! Some of the Britons consider this fact to be the end of an Era and the sign that the end of the world will soon come.

So we see that the British character and British people's way of life are greatly influenced by their traditions and are based on them in many cases. Their habits and behavior are traditional in a lot of situations. It is a natural thing because their views, moral values and the understanding what is right and wrong have been formed with the development of their long history and traditions. Besides British traditions are kept thanks to the described traits of character: conservatism, sense of law and orderliness, and particularism.

But at the same time some stereotypes are being broken in the contemporary society, some traditions are not observed by British people any more and the British character is changing too. It is the result of the more active interaction of the UK with the whole world for the last 50years. So it is quite likely to meet an Englishmen who hates gardening, adores home cooking and greets his friends with a big hug.

4. Conclusion

Having learnt and studied a lot of British traditions and their historical origin I got sure that Britain is really the country of traditions. The results of my investigation show that in this country there are really lots of different traditions which are not forgotten(no matter that some of them were born more than 700 years ago!) and they are preserved by English people very carefully. Britain continues to be the country with ancient traditions and colorful ceremonies.

I think that English traditions and all traditions in general are an original reflection of the country's history and Britain is one of oldest countries and it has the richest history. One of the reasons of British traditional life is its long history as many of English traditions were born after some historical events.

I also think that traditions are the treasure of their country because they carry its culture in themselves. When we know that there are so many traditions in some country we can judge it's historical and cultured wealth. I suppose that English traditions have not disappeared since ancient time and we can still see them in English everyday life because people of England support and value this rich historical experience. But the reason of preserving traditions is not only in their wish to make their country better but also in their character: the second reason is somewhere deep inside British soul. The geographical island position of Great Britain has produced a certain insular spirit among its inhabitants, who tend to regard their own community as the centre of the world. The insularity produces a certain particularism among British people. Englishmen are conservative, prudent and careful, sure of themselves and patriotic, with a strong sense of law and order, and a love of precedent. These peculiar features of British character contribute to saving and keeping their traditions.

So we can see that Britain is really the country of traditions and these traditions play a very big and important role in people's everyday life and in the contemporary British society. We can judge it by the quantity of different traditions and also by the peculiar way the British to keep and maintain them.

But at the same time with the development of international contacts in the modern world Great Britain is getting more open for changes. Because of the immigration a lot of cultures and new traditions came and melted in the British society. It is not isolated from the rest of the world anymore but it is influenced by the world culture and modern way of life. That leads to breaking of the stereotypes and creating a new modern society.


1. Гурвич П. Б. English 9. - Владимир, 2001

2. Кузовлев В.П. English 8: Student's book. - М.: Просвещение, 2002

3. Michael Vaughan-Rees. In Britain.-Обнинск: Титул, 1997

4. Овчинников В.В. Сакура и дуб//Роман-газета, 1983, №3.

5. Сагайдак Ю. Парламент//Комсомольская правда, 1989, 12 апреля.

6. Сатинова В. Ф. Read and speak about Britain and the British. - Минск, 1996

7. Словарь активного усвоения лексики английского языка. - М.: Рус. яз., 1988

8. Speak Out: журнал для изучающих английский язык. - М.: Глосса-пресс, 2002, №4;

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