Customs and Traditions in Britain

by: Herminne Tonita

From Scotland to Cornwall, Britain is full of customs and traditions. A lot of them have long stories. Some of them are funny and others are strange, but they are all interesting. They are all part of the British way of life.

April Fool's Day: April 1st is April Fool's Day in Britain. This is a very old tradition from the Middle Ages. At that time the servants were masters for one day of the year. They gave orders to their masters and their masters had to obey. Now the day is different. It is the day for jokes and tricks and no one gets upset when strange things happen on the street or at the office.

May Day: May 1st was an important day also in the Middle Ages. In the very early morning, girls went to the fields and washed
their faces with dew. They believe d this made them
beautiful for a year after that. Also on May Day they young men of each village tried to win prizes with their bows and arrows and people danced round the maypole.

Many English villages still have a maypole and on May 1st, the villagers dance round it.

Midsummer's Day: June, 24th is the longest day of the year. On that day you can see a very old custom at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, England. Stonehenge is one of Europe’s biggest stone circles. But what was this monument built for? A market, a kind a calendar, a holy place? The Druids were the holy priests in Britain 2,000 years ago. They used the stones and the sun to know the start of the months and seasons. There are Druids in Britain today too. And every June 24th a lot of them go to Stonehenge. On that morning the sun shines on one famous stone-the Heel Stone. For many British is just a strange old custom.

Halloween: on October 31st you can expect to meet witches and ghosts all over the places. A long time ago people were afraid to go out on this night as they thought all the spirits were free to come back on earth and haunt those who did them harm. But now it is a time for fun. There are a lot of parties where people wear masks and costumes.

Guy Fawkes' Day : November 5th is Guy Fawkes' Day in Britain. All over the country people build wood fires, or bonfires in their gardens. On the top of each bonfire is a guy. That’s the figure of Guy Fawkes. People make guys with straws, old clothes and newspapers. On November 5th Guy Fawkes tried to kill the King James. He and a group of his friends put a bomb under the Houses of Parliament in London. But the King’s men found the bomb and they found him too. They took him to the Tower of London where the king's men cut off his head.

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