Customs and Traditions

There are many customs and traditions in England. And I wouldlike to tell you some of them. First tradition is called “Wrongside of the bed”. When people are bad tempered we say that theymust have got out of bed on the wrong side. Originally, it wasmeant quite literally.

People belive that the way they rose inthe morning affected their behaivor throughout the day. The wrongside of the bed was the left side. The left always waslinked with evil. The second custom is called “Blowing out thecandles”. The custom of having candles on birthday cakes goes backto the ancient Greeks.

Worshippers of Artemis, goddess of the moonand hunting, used to place honey cakes on the altars of hertemples on her birthday. The cakes were round like the full moon. This custom was next recorded in the middleages when German peasants lit tapers on birthday cakes, thenumber lit indicating the person’s age, plus an extra one torepresent the light of life. From earliest

days burning tapershad been endued with mystical significance and it was believedthat when blown out they had the power to grant a secret wish andensure a happy year ahead.

And the last tradition I would like totell you is called “The 5th of November”. On the 5th of Novemberin almost every otwn and village in England you will see fireburning, fireworks, cracking and lighting up the sky. You willsee too small groups of children pulling round in a home madecart, a figure that looks something like a man but consists of anold suit of clothes, stuffed with straw. The children will sing: “Remember, remember the 5th of November; Gun powder, treason andplot”. And they will ask passers-by for “a penny for the Guy” Butthe children with “the Guy” are not likely to know who or whatday they are celebrating.

They have done this more or less every5th of November since 1605. At that time James the First was onthe throne. He was hated with many people especialy the Romancatholics against whom many sever laws had been passed. A numberof catholics chief of whom was Robert Catesby determined to killthe King and his ministers by blowing up the house of Parliamentwith gunpowder.

To help them in this they got Guy Fawkes, asoldier of fortune, who would do the actual work. The day fixedfor attempt was the 5th of November, the day on which theParliament was to open. But one of the consperators had severalfriends in the parliament and he didn’t want them to die. So hewrote a letter to Lord Monteagle begging him to make some excuseto be absent from parliament if he valued his life.

LordMonteagle took the letter hurriedly to the King. Guards were sentat once to examine the cellars of the house of Parliament. Andthere they found Guy Fawkes about to fire a trail of gunpowder.

He was tortured and hanged, Catesby was killed, resisting arrestin his own house. In memory of that day bonfires are stilllighted, fireworks shoot across the November sky and figures ofGuy Fawkes are burnt in the streets.



Customs and Traditions