The culture of the United Kingdom is the pattern of human activity and symbolism associated with the United Kingdom and its people. It is informed by the UK's history as a developed island country, liberal democracy and major power, its predominantly Christian religious life, and its composition of four countriesEngland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Waleseach of which has distinct customs, cultures and symbolism. The wider culture of Europe has also influenced British culture, and Humanism, Protestantism and representative democracy developed from broader Western culture.
British literature, music, cinema, art, theatre, media, television, philosophy and architecture are influential and respected across the world. The United Kingdom is also prominent in science and technology. Sport is an important part of British culture; numerous sports originated in the country, including the national game, football. The UK has been described as a "cultural superpower", and London has been described as a world cultural capital.
The People of Britain British people live in the UK. They are people who live in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. British people can also either be English, Scottish, Welsh, or Irish (from Northern Ireland only). The British are said to be reserved in manners, dress and speech. They are famous for their politeness, self-discipline and especially for their sense of humour. British people have a strong sense of humour which sometimes can be hard for foreigners to understand. Britain is a country of mixed cultures. London has the largest non-white population of any European city and over 250 languages are spoken there. Therefore not all British people are White or Christians.
SYMBOLS OF ENGLAND England is one of the countries that make up Great Britain. Each country has its own famous places, people and objects associated with them. Many images associated with England are found on souvenirs. Most commonly depicted are the flag of England (St George's Cross), Royal Guardsmen, Double Deck Buses, Red Post Boxes, Telephone Kiosks, The Royal Family, Buckingham Palace, Houses Of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral, Policemen, The London Eye, Pub Signs and Tea.
Pillar and Telephone Boxes Both the post box and telephone box have a picture of a crown on them. The crown on the postbox also has the monarchs initials underneath. There are postboxes with VR (Victoria Regina) and GR (Georgeus Rex) still in use today. Victoria Regina is latin for Queen Victorian and Georgeus Rex is latin for King George.
FAMOUS MEANS OF TRANSPORT Red double- deckers London's double- decker red buses are world famous. The city has nearly 1000 bus routes and buses of many other types and colours also travel on them. Sightseeing buses One way of seeing London's major sights is on an open-top double- decker bus. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and allow unlimited 'hop on / hop off' travel. Black taxis You can phone for a black cab, hail one in the street or find one in a rank, especially near large railway stations or some major hotels. They carry a yellow 'For Hire' sign above the windscreen which is lit up when they are free.
SPORT Sports play an important part in the life in Britain and is a popular leisure activity. Many of the world's famous sports began in Britain, including cricket, football, lawn tennis, golf and rugby. England's national sport is cricket although to many people football (soccer) is seen as national sport. Football is the most popular sport. Some of England's football teams are world famous, the most famous being Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Cricket Cricket is played on village greens and in towns/cities on Sundays from April to August. The rules of cricket became the responsibility, in the 18th century, of the Marylebone Cricket Club(MCC), based at Lords cricket ground in north London.
Football Football is undoubtedly the most popular sport in England, and has been played for hundreds of years. In the English Football League there are 92 professional clubs. These are semi-professional, so most players have other full-time jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people also play football in parks and playgrounds just for fun. The highlight of the English football year is the FA (Football Association) Cup Final each May.
netball Netball is the largest female team sport in England. The sport is played almost exclusively by women and girls, although male participation has increased in recent years. golf Scotland is traditionally regarded as the home of golf. There are over 400 golf courses in Scotland alone. The most important golf club in Scotland is in the seaside town of St. Andrews, near Dundee.
British Traditional Foods British food has traditionally been based on beef, lamb, pork, chicken and fish and generally served with potatoes and one other vegetable. The most common and typical foods eaten in Britain include the sandwich, fish and chips, pies like the cornish pasty, pudding and roasts dinners. Some of main dishes have strange names like Bubble & Squeak and Toad-in- the-Hole. The staple foods of Britain are meat, fish, potatoes, flour, butter and eggs. Many of dishes are based on these foods.
Afternoon Tea AFTERNOON TEA (The traditional 4 o'clock tea) This is a small meal, not a drink. Traditionally it consists of tea (or coffee) served with either of the following: - Freshly baked scones served with cream and jam (Known as a cream tea). - Afternoon tea sandwiches - thinly sliced cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. - Assorted pastries Afternoon tea is not common these days because most adults go out to work. However, you can still have Afternoon tea at the many tea rooms around England. Afternoon tea became popular about one hundred and fifty years ago, when rich ladies invited their friends to their houses for an afternoon cup of tea. They started offering their visitors sandwiches and cakes too. Soon everyone was enjoying Afternoon tea.
HIGH TEA HIGH TEA (The traditional 6 o'clock tea) The British working population did not have Afternoon Tea. They had a meal about midday, and a meal after work, between five and seven o'clock. This meal was called 'high tea' or just 'tea (Today, most people refer to the evening meal as dinner or supper.).Traditionally eaten early evening, High tea was a substantial meal that combined delicious sweet foods, such as scones, cakes, buns or tea breads, with tempting savouries, such as cheese on toast, toasted crumpets, cold meats and pickles or poached eggs on toast. This meal is now often replaced with a supper due to people eating their main meal in the evenings rather than at midday.
MUSIC Britain is more famous for pop music than it is for classical composers or jazz musicians. Names such as The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Elton John, George Michael and The Spice Girls are known world wide. Over the last thirty or so years British pop music has led the world in its range and quality, starting several new trends. Britain, along with the US, was the main contributor in the development of rock and roll, and Britain has provided some of the most famous bands, including The Beatles and many others. Britain was at the forefront of punk music in the 1970s with bands such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash, and the subsequent rebirth of heavy metal with bands such as Motorhead and Iron Maiden.
Festivals and Special Days in Britain January - New Year (1st) - Bank Holiday - Twefth night (5th) - Plough Monday February - Candlemas Day (1st) - St Valentines Day (14th) March - St David's Day (1st) (Wales) - St Patrick's Day (17th) (Ireland) April - April Fool's Day (1st) - St George's Day (23rd)(England) May - May Day (1st) - Rochester Sweeps Festival - Two Bank Holidays - Whistun June - Trooping of the Colour - Fathers' Day - Wimbledon Tennis Championship July - Swan Upping August - Edinburgh Festival - Notting Hill Carnival - Bank Holiday September - Harvest Festival October - Halloween (31st) November - Bonfire Night (5th) - Remembrance Day (11th) -St Andrew's Day (30th) - Advent December - Advent - Christmas (25th) - Boxing Day (26th)
Superstitions in Britain Good Luck - Lucky to meet a black cat. Black Cats are featured on many good luck greetings cards and birthday cards in England. - Lucky to touch wood. Touch or knock on wood, to make something come true. - Lucky to find a clover plant with four leaves. - White heather is lucky. - A horseshoe over the door brings good luck. But the horseshoe needs to be the right way up. The luck runs out of the horseshoe if it is upside down. - On the first day of the month it is lucky to say "white rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits," before uttering your first word of the day. - Catch falling leaves in Autumn and you will have good luck. Every leaf means a lucky month next year. - Cut your hair when the moon is waxing and you will have good luck. - Putting money in the pocket of new clothes brings good luck. Bad Luck - Unlucky to walk underneath a ladder. - Seven years bad luck to break a mirror. - Unlucky to see one magpie, lucky to see two, etc.. - Unlucky to spill salt. If you do, you must throw it over your shoulder to counteract the bad luck. - Unlucky to open an umbrella in doors. - The number thirteen is unlucky. Friday the thirteenth is a very unlucky day. - Unlucky to put new shoes on the table. - Unlucky to pass someone on the stairs.