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Customs and Traditions of Great Britain
Every country and every nation has its own traditions and customs. Englishmen are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up.
The English people say, «There is no place like home». They like to spend their days off at home with their families. They like to live in small houses with a small garden. People all over the world know the saying "The Englishman's home is his castle". In English homes the fire-place has always been the centre of interest in the room. For many months of the year people like to sit round the fire in the evening.
English people keep to their traditions even in meals. Porridge is the dish Englishmen are very fond of. Many of them eat porridge with milk and sugar for breakfast. The English are tea-drinkers. They have it many times a day. Some Englishmen have tea for breakfast, tea at lunch time, tea after dinner, tea at tea-time and tea with supper.
Every country has its drinking habits and a national drink. In England it is beer. English beer is always warm: it's sold in pubs (short for "public house") where people talk, eat, drink, meet their friends and relax.
It's common knowledge, the British talk about the weather a lot. They do it because the weather in Britain changes so often. Wind, rain, sun, cloud, snow - they can all happen in Britain both in winter and in summer.
Hundreds of years ago soldiers began the tradition of shaking hands. They shook hands to show that they did not have a sword. Now shaking hands is a custom in most countries. Frenchmen and Russians shake hands every time they meet, while Englishmen do it only when they are introduced, or after a long absence. Young ladies never shake men's hands. Married ladies can offer their hands in a room, but not in public, where they should bow slightly.
On Sundays theatres and shops are closed, people do not get letters and newspapers. Very few cars and buses run in the streets of London on Sundays.
The Theatre Royal in Drury Lane is one of the oldest theatres in London. The king was present at the performance; that is why it was called the Theatre Royal. The theatre has many traditions. One of them is the Badely cake, which began in the eighteenth century. Robert Badely was a pastry-cook who became an actor and joined the Theatre Royal. He was a good actor, and the plays in which he acted were a great success with the people of London. When Robert Badely was very old, he left some money to the theatre. Robert Badely asked to buy cake and offer a piece of it to each actor and actress of the theatre on Twelfth Night every year. Twelfth Night is the 6lh of January, the twelfth night after Christmas. After the evening performance on the Twelfth Night, the actors and actresses come down into the hall in their stage clothes and eat the Badely cake.
1. Are Englishmen proud of their traditions?
2. What English traditions can you name?
3. Do the British talk about the weather a lot? Why?
4. When did soldiers begin the tradition of shaking hands?
5. When do the actors and actresses of the Theatre Royal eat the Badely cake?
Art plays an important role in our life. There are a lot of kinds of art – cinema, television, theatre, music, literature. Art develops our artistic taste and helps to appreciate beauty, to solve the eternal problem of good and evil. It enriches our life emotionally.
Hundreds of years ago theatre was the only attraction and enjoyed universal popularity. But with the invention of cinema, radio and TV theatre has lost its prominent position. Now it is television that attracts millions. Theatre has become the entertainment for the elite, a fashionable pastime for those who really love it. To get tickets to the best theatres where famous actors star is almost impossible.
But even nowadays some people enjoy going to the theatre. They look forward to seeing an opera, a ballet, a comedy, a puppet, a music or a variety show. It goes without saying visiting a theatre is much more a festive event than going to the cinema.
The most famous theatres in Minsk are the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Music Comedy Theatre, the Gorky Russian Drama Theatre, the Yanka Kupala State Academic Theatre, the Puppet Show Theatre. You can also go to the Circus or to the Philharmonic.
Theatres are very much the same everywhere. Passing through the door you come to the box-office, where tickets are sold. If you want to get tickets for the first night you'd better take them in advance. The best seats at theatres are in the stalls, the circle and the upper-circle. Then comes the pit and the last of all is the gallery, where the seats are the cheapest. Boxes of course are the most expensive. Most theatres have good orchestras and popular conductors.
When you go to the opera for example you can get the best of everything: an excellent orchestra, famous conductors, celebrated singers and a well-dressed audience. But if you are not fond of music and singing, opera won't interest you. Frankly speaking I'm not so keen on opera myself. Drama and ballet are more to my liking.