Holidays and traditions in english-speaking countries

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Sunday in England

For many English families Sunday begins with the by now traditional lie-in, when, instead of getting up at 7.30 or at 8 'clock, as during the rest of the week, most people stay in bed for at least another hour. And there are many younger opl Saturday night revellers in particular who never see the light of day before midday: what is usually referred to as getting up at the crack of noon.

Church bells are another typical feature of an English Sunday morning, although by many their summons remains unanswered, especially by those in need of physical rather than spiritual comfort. But whether people get out of bed for morning service or not, their first meaningful contact with the world beyond the four walls of their bedroom will be the delicious aroma of bacon and eggs being fried by mother downstairs in the kitchen. This smell is for most people s much part of Sunday mornings that they would not be the same without it.

During the mid-morning most people indulge in some fairly light activity such as gardening, washing the , shelling peas or chopping mint for Sunday lunch, or taking the dog for walk. Another most popular pre-lunch activity consists of visit to pub either walk to the ll, or often nowadays drive to more pleasant country pub if one lives in built-up area. It is unusual for anyone t drink lot during lunchtime session, the idea being to have quiet drink and chat, perhaps discussing the previous evenings entertainment or afternoons sport. One additional attraction of Sunday lunchtime drinks is that most men go to the pub alone, that is to say without their wives or girlfriends, who generally prefer to stay at home and prepare the lunch.

Sunday has always been favourite day for inviting people friends, relations, colleagues to afternoon tea, and there are n signs that this custom is losing popularity

nowadays.

In recent years television has become increasingly popular, and Sunday evening is now regarded as the peak viewing period of the week.

Concerning the differences between typically English Sunday and Sunday on the Continent, there are still many forms of entertainment which visitor from Europe would be surprised to find missing on Sundays in England. Professional sport, for example, was for many years forbidden on Sundays, and although the restrictions have been relaxed in recent years, it is still difficult to find any large sporting fixture taking place on Sundays. This is in marked contrast to the situation in most European countries where Sunday afternoon is the most popular time for so-called spectator sports football, horse-racing and, in Spain of course, bullfighting.

Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.

On the Continent museums and art galleries also attract large numbers of visitors on Sundays, whereas in England it is only in recent times that such places as the National Portrait Gallery and The Tate have been open on such days at present between 2 . m. and 6 . m. One of the most popular attractions in London on Sunday afternoons, especially in summer, is the Tower, although this too was closed for many years on Sundays.

FIREPLACES

In English homes, the fireplace has always been, until recent times, the natural centre of interest in room. People may like to sit at window on summer day, but for many months of the year they prefer to sit round the fire and watch the dancing flames.

In the Middle Ages the fireplaces in the halls of large castles were very wide. Only wood was burnt, and large logs were carted in from the forests, and supported as they burnt, on metal bars. Such wide fireplaces may still be seen in old inns, and in some of them there are even seats inside the fireplace.

Elizabethan fireplaces often had carved stone or woodwork over the fireplace, reaching to the ceiling. There were sometimes columns on each side of the fireplace.

In the 18th century, space was often provided over the fireplace for painting or mirror.

When coal fires became common, fireplaces became much smaller. Grates were used to hold the coal. Above the fireplace there was usually shelf on which there was often clock, and perhaps framed photographs.

DANCING

Dancing is popular, and the numerous large and opulent-looking public dance-halls are an important element in the folklore and courtship procedures of all but the upper and middle classes. They manage to survive against the competition of the more modern, smaller, noisier discotheques. They are strictly places for dancing, with good floors and good bands, but often no tables for people to sit at when they are not actually dancing, only rows of chairs round the walls. They are visited mainly by young unmarried people. Girls tend to go in groups of two or three, friends from the same street or the same or office, relying much on each others support as they go in; the young men sometimes go in groups too, but often alone. All the girls tend to congregate together between dances, and the young men similarly. At the beginning of each dance man chooses girl from the mass, and will ask the same girl to dance with him again if he finds her company agreeable, but the girl may refuse. Most of the dancers go home as they come but not quite at all. If couple like one another

: 1/05/2007