British Traditions and Customs
British nation is considered to be the most conservative in Europe. It is not a secret that every
nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. In Great Britain people attach
greater importance to traditions and customs than in other European countries. Englishmen are
proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. The best examples are their queen, money
system, their weights and measures.
There are many customs and some of them are very old. There is, for example, the Marble
Championship, where the British Champion is crowned; he wins a silver cup known among folk
dancers as Morris Dancing. Morris Dancing is an event where people, worn in beautiful clothes
with ribbons and bells, dance with handkerchiefs or big sticks in their hands, while traditional
Another example is the Boat Race, which takes place on the river Thames, often on Easter
Sunday. A boat with a team from Oxford University and one with a team from Cambridge
University hold a race.
British people think that the Grand National horse race is the most exciting horse race in the
world. It takes place near Liverpool every year. Sometimes it happens the same day as the Boat
Race takes place, sometimes a week later. Amateur riders as well as professional jockeys can
participate. It is a very famous event.
There are many celebrations in May, especially in the countryside.
Halloween is a day on which many children dress up in unusual costumes. In fact, this holiday
has a Celtic origin. The day was originally called All Halloween's Eve, because it happens on
October 31, the eve of all Saint's Day. The name was later shortened to Halloween. The Celts
celebrated the coming of New Year on that day.
Another tradition is the holiday called Bonfire Night.
On November 5,1605, a man called Guy Fawkes planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament
where the king James 1st was to open Parliament on that day. But Guy Fawkes was unable to
realize his plan and was caught and later, hanged. The British still remember that Guy Fawkes'
Night. It is another name for this holiday. This day one can see children with figures, made of
sacks and straw and dressed in old clothes. On November 5th, children put their figures on the
bonfire, burn them, and light their fireworks.
In the end of the year, there is the most famous New Year celebration. In London, many people
go to Trafalgar Square on New Year's Eve. There is singing and dancing at 12 o'clock on
A popular Scottish event is the Edinburgh Festival of music and drama, which takes place every
year. A truly Welsh event is the Eisteddfod, a national festival of traditional poetry and music,
with a competition for the best new poem in Welsh.
If we look at English weights and measures, we can be convinced that the British are very
conservative people. They do not use the internationally accepted measurements. They have
conserved their old measures. There are nine essential measures. For general use, the smallest
weight is one ounce, then 16 ounce is equal to a pound. Fourteen pounds is one stone.
The English always give people's weight in pounds and stones. Liquids they measure in pints,
quarts and gallons. There are two pints in a quart and four quarts or eight pints are in one gallon.
For length, they have inches» foot, yards and miles.
If we have always been used to the metric system therefore the English monetary system could
be found rather difficult for us. They have a pound sterling, which is divided into twenty
shillings, halfcrown is cost two shillings and sixpence, shilling is worth twelve pennies and one
penny could be changed by two halfpennies.