There are many customs and traditions in England. And
I would like to tell you some of them.
First tradition is called "Wrong side of the
bed" When people are bad tempered we say that they must have got out of
bed on the wrong side. Originally, it was meant quiet literally. People believe
that the way they rose in the morning affected their behavior throughout the
day. The wrong side of the bed was the left side. The left always having been
linked with evil.
Second custom is called "Blowing out the
candles" The custom of having candles on birthday cakes goes back to the
ancient Greeks. Worshippers of Artemis, goddess of the moon and hunting, used
to place honey cakes on the altars of her temples on her birthday. The cakes
were round like the full moon and lit with tapers.
This custom was next recorded in the middle ages when
German peasants lit tapers on birthday cakes, the number lit indicating the
person's age, plus an extra one to represent the light of life. From earliest
days burning tapers had been endowed with mystical significance and it was
believed that when blown out they had the power to grant a secret wish and
ensure a happy year ahead.
And the last tradition I would like to tell you is
called "The 5th of November" On the 5th of November in almost every
town and village in England you will see fire burning, fireworks, cracking and
lighting up the sky. You will see too small groups of children pulling round in
a home made cart, a figure that looks something like a man but consists of an
old suit of clothes, stuffed with straw. The children will sing:"
Remember, remember the 5th of November; Gun powder, treason and plot". And
they will ask passers-by for "a penny for the Guy"
But the children with "the Guy" are not
likely to know who or what day they are celebrating. They have done this more
or less every 5th of November since 1605. At that time James the First was on
the throne. He was hated with many people especially the Roman Catholics
against whom many sever laws had been passed.
A number of Catholics chief of whom was Robert Catesby
determined to kill the King and his ministers by blowing up the house of
Parliament with gunpowder. To help them in this they got Guy Fawker, a soldier
of fortune, who would do the actual work. The day fixed for attempt was the 5th
of November, the day on which the Parliament was to open. But one of the conspirators
had several friends in the parliament and he didn't want them to die. So he
wrote a letter to Lord Monteagle begging him to make some excuse to be absent
from parliament if he valued his life. Lord Monteagle took the letter hurrily
to the King. Guards were sent at once to examine the cellars of the house of
Parliament. And there they found Guy Fawker about to fire a trail of gunpowder.
He was tortured and hanged, Catesby was killed, resisting arrest in his own
house. In memory of that day bonfires are still lighted, fireworks shoot across
the November sky and figures of Guy Fawker are burnt in the streets.
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