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CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS So many countries so many customs, an English proverb says. The combination of the words tradition & custom means a usual manner of doing something, a believe of principal, of conduct passed on from generation to generation. English traditions can be subdivided into the traditions dealing with private life of the English national & religious holidays, public celebrations, traditional ceremonies & traditional sporting events. A great number of customs & traditions date back to the early days of GB & we can justly say that they are the reflection of the country's history & . To know the customs & traditions means to understand the people, their art & culture better. 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're all interesting.
But now in Britain its a time for fun. There are always a lot of parties on October 31st. At these parties people wear masks and they dress as ghosts and witches, or as Dracula or Frankenstein's monster. And some people make special Halloween lamps from a large fruit the pumpkin. First they take out the middle of the pumpkin. Then they cut holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. Finally they put a candle inside the pumpkin.
Before Christmas, groups of singers go from house to house. They collect money and sing traditional Christmas songs or carols. There are a lot of very popular British Christmas carols. Three famous ones are: "Good King Wenceslas", "The Holly and The Ivy" and "We Three Kings".
A Christmas tree stands in everybody's living room at Christmas, shining its good cheer around the room. Sitting on the very top of the tree is a silver star surrounded by tiny lights. All the branches are hung with silver bells, tinsel and sparkling lights. Around the base of the tree lie the gifts and toys wrapped up in bright colorful paper.
British children don't open their presents on December 24th. Father Christmas brings their presents in the night. Then they open them on the morning of the 25th. There's another name for Father Christmas in Britain - Santa Claus. That comes from the European name for him - Saint Nicholas. In the traditional story he lives at the North Pole. But now he lives in big shops in towns and cities all over Britain. Well, that's where children see him in November and December. Then on Christmas Eve he visits every house. He climbs down the chimney and leaves lots of presents. Some people leave something for him, too. A glass of wine and some biscuits, for example.
HAPPY NEW YEAR The celebration of New Year's day varies according to the district. In the south of England, the festival of Christmas, lasting 12 days from December 25th, runs on well into the New Year. The decorations of coloured streamers and holly, put up round the walls, and of course the fir-tree, with its candles or lights, are not packed away until January 5th. On the evening of December 31st, people gather in one another's homes, in clubs, in pubs, in restaurants, and hotels, in dance halls and institutes, to "see the New Year in".
On New Year's day all English schoolchildren make New Year resolutions. They make up lists of shortcomings which they intend to correct. The children. their mothers and fathers, and their friends laugh and have a good time when they read them The children promise to keep them.
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