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Every Englishman is an average Englishman: it is a national characteristic.
E.M. Delafield

The English gentleman is a combination of silence, courtesy, dignity, sport, newspapers and honesty.
Karel Capek

An Englishman is content to say nothing when he has nothing to say.
Samuel Johnson

The Englishman regards the free expression of emotion as undignified, vulgar, and almost brutish.
Paul Cohen Portheim

When two Eglishmen meet, their first talk is of the weather.
Samuel  Johnson

A foreign observer is struck by our gentleness: by the orderly behaviour of the English crowds, the lack of pushing and quarrelling, the willingness to form queues.
George Mikes

The gentleman is generous and treats all men as his equals, especially those whom he feels to be inferior in rank and wealth.
Hilaire Belloc

Even when he is living in a foreign country, the Englishman still calls the natives "these foreigners", for he, of course, is never a foreigner, wherever he may be: he is English!
Max O'Reilly

Most Englishmen are convinced that God is an Englishman, probably educated at Eton.
E.M. Delafield

People on the Continent either tell you the truth or lie; in England they hardly ever lie, but they would never dream of telling you the truth.
George Mikes

How can what an Englishman belivies be heresy? It is a contradiction in terms.
George Bernard Shaw

The English take everything with an exquisite sense of humour. They are only offended if you tell them that they have no sense of humour.
George Mikes 

The Business of America is Business.
Calvin Coolidge

Business is the very soul of an American: he pursues it as the fountain of all human felicity.
Francis J. Grund

Civilization and profits go hand in hand.
Calvin Coolidge

The truth is, we are all caught in a great economic system which is heartless.
Wooddrow Wilson

What is good for the country is good for General Motors, and what's good for general Motors is good for the country.
Charles E. Wilson

The English love for privacy is proverbial, and has not been exaggerated. A stranger who strikes up a conversation is looked upon with suspicion - unless he happens to be an American, when his ignorance of good manners is indulged.
Henry Steele Commager

We really have everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.
Oscar Wilde

The King's English is not the King's. It's a joint stock company, and Americans own most of the shares.
Mark Twain

The sun never set on the British Empire because the sun sets in the West and the British Empire was in the East.
Anonymous Student


British History Throught Twenty Centuries of Difficult Relationships

The Romans were the first invaders of Britain after the Celts conquered it about 700 BC. The first Roman soldier who set foot on Britain was Julius Caesar in 55 BC, but the Romans actually moved into Britain only a century later under Emperor Claudius. Britain became a province of the Roman Empire and life went on peacefully' until Rome fell in the 5th century AD.
The Roman conquerors were not welcome at all by the Celt inhabitants. They were divided into tribes, but they managed to federate and set up a rebellion in 60 AD. The Britons were led by a queen, Boadicea, who proved a good leader. Although fearless and enthusiastic, her troops were not trained as a real army, so the Roman legions defeated them and Boadicea was killed.

In 1066, a Norman duke crossed the Channel and conquered England. He became William I. The Normans however kept their possessions on the continent: in the 14th century they had more lands in France than the French king and even possessed a part of Spain. In fact the Hundred Years' War was fought by the French king against the English to send them back to their island. The Normans were a people from Scandinavia who had conquered part of northern France in the same centuries when other Scandinavian peoples were conquering Britain: the Angles, the Saxons, the Danes, the Vikings. When the Normans conquered England in 1066 they had already taken up the French culture and they still felt French, that's why they claimed the French crown.
A second attack on Britain came from Europe at the end of the 18th century. After conquering most of Europe, Napoleon understood that his power was incomplete without Britain. He fought against the English supremacy all over Europe, but he was defeated in 1814 and kept prisoner until his death in 1821.
Napoleon had great enemies in Britain. One was William Pitt, the Prime Minister who was able to organize defence at home and provide support' for the anti-Napoleon army. The others were two generals, Nelson and Wellington. The former destroyed Napoleon's fleet at Trafalgar, the latter beat his army at Waterloo, in Belgium.

Another man conquered a large part of Europe half a century ago, Adolf Hitler. And he decided to do what Napoleon had tried to do: take possession of Britain. The Battle of Britain was long and terrible, but Britain received the help of the USA and her former colonies. In the end Hitler was defeated.
Between 1939 and 1945 the British fought against Hitler, the most dangerous threat ever. A symbol of Britain's struggle for survival and democracy was Winston Churchill. He was able to unite all the parties and the people to let them feel in national unity.


Dear Franco,

Excuse me for taking such a long time to answer your letter. To tell the truth I haven't much time for writing, because there are so many things to do and see here.
You must be waiting to hear my first impressions about the English. What is most peculiar about them is their self-control and reservedness. They never ask any questions, they do not boast, they do not talk as much as we do, probably because they do not like talking about themselves.
If an Englishman is an Olympic champion s, he may say to you: "I'm fairly good at sport"', and if he is a popular statesman, he may tell you that he is rather interested in politics.
Two Englishmen can sit for hours side by side in a train or in a restaurant without saying a word. If they do speak to each other, their favourite topic of conversation is the weather.
The English do not care about other people's business. You can walk down Oxford Street with rollers in your hair and nobody takes any notice of you.
They certainly have a deeper sense of discipline than the Italians. At bus-stops, for example, you can see people queueing in an orderly manner without pushing or quarrelling as many Italians are in the habit of doing. Even drivers do not call each other names in Britain! English people are kind and polite, and they are never tired of saying "Thanks", "I'm sorry", "It's a pleasure", "I beg your pardon", and so on. They know they are different from continental people, and they are proud of their nationality. I must stop now and say good-bye. Write soon and tell me about your holidays.

Love, Anna.

• What is most peculiar about the English?
• Why don't they talk as much as we do in Italy?
• What is their favourite topic of conversation?
• Do they care about other people's business?
• Can you give a few examples of their reservedness and sense of discipline?
• Are English people kind and polite ?
• Are they proud of their nationality ?

Let's make a summary of the preceding passage:

The principal characteristic of the English is ......................................... They are not fond of ........................... , and they seldom ask ..................................., because they do not care about .....................................................
Their favourite topic of conversation is ...................................................... They have a deep sense of .........................................: they never ................................ at bus-stops, and
they never ...................................................... when driving.
Their conversation is very polite. They often say ................................................................ All that makes them different from .........................................................


English women do not devote so much time to cooking, and they use tinned food more often than women on the Continent do. Still they are very fond of making cakes, puddings and innumerable cups of tea.
Early in the morning, while they are still in bed, the English like to have their first cup of tea with a biscuit. Later on they have breakfast, which is a more substantial meal than on the Continent. Some people have porridge or corn-flakes with hot or cold milk and sugar to begin with. Then the main course is served. It generally consists of eggs and bacon, sausages with tomatoes, and a few slices of toast and butter. Coffee and tea are the most popular drinks at breakfast.
Lunch is usually a lighter meal in England than on the Continent. Many children have their middy meal at school, and most working people, having no time to go back home for lunch, have a snack at a self-service restaurant, or a coffee-bar. Fish and chips, cheese, salads, ham omelettes are among the most typical dishes.
At about five o'clock, most people have afternoon tea. In England they generally drink tea with milk and not with lemon as we do in Italy. The English are very fond of sweets things, and they always have cakes or biscuits with their tea.
Dinner is the biggest meal of the day. It generally consists of three main courses: soup, meat with vegetables and dessert.


- Are English women fond of cooking ?
- What do the English like to have early in the morning?
- What do they eat at breakfast?
- What are the most popular drinks at breakfast?
- Is the English lunch a substantial meal?
- Where do most working people have lunch?
- What do they generally have for lunch?
- Do the English have tea with lemon?
- Are they fond of sweet things?
- Which is the biggest meal of the day in Britain?
- What does dinner consist of?


There are some occasions when you must not refuse a cup of tea, otherwise you are judged an exotic and barbarous bird without any hope of ever being able to take your place in civilized society.
If you are invited to an English home, at five o'clock in the morning you get a cup of tea. When you are disturbed in your sweetest morning sleep you must not say: "Madam, I think you are a cruel and malignant person who deserves to be shot ". On the contrary, you have to declare with your best five o'clock smile: "Thank you so much. I do adore a cup of early morning tea, especially early in the morning". If they leave you alone with the liquid, you may pour it down the wash-basin.
Then you have tea for breakfast; then you have tea at eleven o'clock in the morning; then after lunch; then you have tea for tea; then after supper; and again at eleven o'clock at night.
You must not refuse any additional cups of tea under the following circumstances: if it is hot; if it is cold; if you are tired; if you are nervous; if you are gay; before you go out; if you are out; if you have just returned home; if you feel like it; if you do not feel like it; if you have had no tea for some time; if you have just had a cup.

(Abridged from ` How to be an Alien')


- What do you get at five o'clock the morning, if you are invited an English home?
- What mustn't you say when you get your tea?
- What must you declare?
- What can you do if they leave you to alone with the liquid?
- How many cups of tea do you have during the day?
- When mustn't you refuse any additional cups of tea?

Let's make a summary of the two preceding passages:

In Britain the main meals of the day are .....................................................
The English breakfast is a ...................................... meal, and generally consists of .............................................................
Lunch in England is ............................................... than on the Continent. Many English people have their lunch at ..............................................., because they ...............................
They generally eat ........................................................ at lunch.
The most popular drink is ............................................................ The English have tea at any time of the day: ....................................................... With their tea they like to eat ................................................. because they are very fond of ................................................ The biggest meal of the day is .............................................. which consists of .....................................................


1 JANUARY New Year's Day
24 MARCH Good Friday
26 MARCH Easter Sunday
29 MAY Late Spring Holiday BANK HOLIDAY
28 AUGUST Late Summer Holiday BANK HOLIDAY
25 DECEMBER Christmas Day
14 FEBRUARY St Valentine’s Day
22 FEB Shrove Tuesday Half-Term Holidays
29 MAY Half-Term Holidays
14 JULY Summer Holidays
16 OCTOBER Half-Term Holidays
31 OCTOBER Halloween
5 NOVEMBER Guy Fawkes

A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom and also in the Republic of Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although the majority of the population not employed in essential services (e.g. utilities, fire, ambulance, police, health-care workers) receive them as holidays; those employed in essential services usually receive extra pay for working on these days. Bank holidays are often assumed to be so called because they are days upon which banks are shut, but this is not in fact the case. Some of the assumed bank holidays are days on which the banks are shut but are not, in fact, a bank holiday (e.g. Good Friday and Christmas Day). Legislation allows certain payments to be deferred to the next working day.

Shrove Tuesday is the term used in Ireland, the United Kingdom,[1] Australia,[2] and Canada to refer to the day after Shrove Monday (or the more old fashioned Collop Monday) and before Ash Wednesday, when the Christian liturgical season of Lent begins.

In Ireland, the UK, and amongst Anglicans, Lutherans and possibly other Protestant denominations in Canada, including Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, this day is also known as Pancake Day, because it has been customary to eat pancakes on this day.[3][4][5]
In other parts of the Christian world — for example, in France and historically French-speaking Catholic parts of the United States and elsewhere — this day is called Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, again, in reference to eating special foods before the fasting season of Lent. In areas with large Polish-immigrant Christian populations, for example, Chicago, it is known as Tłusty Czwartek (literally: Fat Thursday) and celebrated on the Thursday before Lent. And in areas with German Christian traditions populations, such as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, it is known as Fasnacht Day (also spelled Fausnacht Day, Fauschnaut Day, and Fosnacht Day).

Christmas Holiday

Christmas is undoubtedly the most important festival of the year. It is the celebration of the birthday of Christ. Christmas means "mass", or church service, for Christ. The abbreviation Xmas derives from the Greek letter X that was used as a symbol for Christ by early Christians. For most boys and girls these celebrations mean preparing the Christmas tree, singing carols, pantomime, the church service in the late evening, the sumptuous dinner at midday with the whole family and, of course, Santa Claus, the smiling old man with the beard who slides down the chimney during the night to bring presents for the children. These Christmas traditions are losing their religious and traditional aspect and are becoming more consumistic. This is happening in both the English-speaking countries and in the rest of the world.

Xmas yesterday

To children Xmas means the season of joy, of family and of presents. Its festivities mark the magic moment of the whole year. The children of the English-speaking countries still feel Christmas this way, while the adults seem to have turned it into a festival of consumerism.
Children still delight in preparing the Christmas tree, a fir tree which is decorated with small, brightly-coloured lights and glass ornaments. Their feast still has a "Carol Service" consisting of Xmas hymns and readings from a Bible.
Xmas Eve is probably even nicer than Christmas itself. Before going to bed, children prepare the "old sock" at the foot of the bed in which Santa Claus will place the presents during the night.
On Christmas day, after the church service, the family gathers around the tree. They open the presents and then they sit down to the traditional dinner. Later, the children go and see a pantomime, a kind of comedy play with singing and dancing based on a well-known fairy story or folk story such as Cinderella, Robin Hood, etc.
This wonderful feast will last twelve days and nights up to the Epifany.

Xmas today

In Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Australia, etc., in families without children, Xmas is constantly becoming less a feast of love and more and more a consumer festival. Maybe we should speak of a religion of consumerism.
Christmas trees have multiplied and have become bigger and more brightly lit. Around them are parcels of presents, lots of them.
Even Santa Claus - whose name derives from St Nicolaus or Nicholas - has changed. He is no longer the little old man coming from the North Pole on his sleigh, but a cheery, rosy-cheeked gentleman sitting at the entrance of department stores to attract customers. Santa Claus, or Father Christmas, has therefore changed from children's dream to buyers attraction.
Even Christmas dinner seems to have changed. The enormous turkey sitting on the table proves this as do also all the bottles of wine. Of Christmas - the one with traditions and family love - there seems to be left only the name.

Christmas in New York

New York is not only inhabited by rich people. The contrast between lights, warmth and wealth, represented by Santa Claus and his gifts, and the world of the poor and homeless is highlighted during the Christmas period.
New York shines with lights at Christmas. The brightest part of the city is the Rockefeller Center, with its enormous Christmas Tree and its ice rink where skaters may have fun in the chilly New York winter.
All towns are full of lights during Christmas-time and on New Year's Day. But New York is brighter that any other city: the Catholic traditions of the Irish, the Polish and the Italians have mixed with the Orthodox traditions of Slays and Greeks, and with those of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, so that all Christians (and non-Christians as well) participate in the Holy Night.

St Nicholas Story They bring happiness

St Nicholas was the bishop of the Italian town Bari. He was a very good and generous man. He died in December and parents started giving gifts' to their children on the anniversary of his death, in order to remind them of the saint's generosity. At the end of the Roman Era and during the Middle Ages, Europe was far more united than we can imagine: pilgrims' travelled to sanctuaries, scholars' went from one university to another - and so St Nicholas, or Nicolaus , became known all over Europe. And in northern Europe Santa Claus, who brings gifts during the Christmas period, is still St Nicholas from Bari with his new northern name.
Yet, in the original Celtic tradition there were two other people who brought gifts during winter. Of course you know them. One is the Italian Befana, who is a good witch on her way back from the witches' Sabbath. The others were the tiny' gnomes from northern Europe, who lived in old trees in the forests. They also wore a big red hood'. A little girl who spoke to wolves' and walked in the forest wearing a red hood and carrying gifts is no doubt known to you: Little Red Riding Hood.


As all British children know, if they have been good then Father Christmas will come to their house during the night of Christmas Eve and will bring presents for them. Children sometimes write a letter to Father Christmas (sometimes called Santa Claus, or just Santa), helped by their parents, asking for the things they would like to get. He flies through the sky on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, the most famous of which is called Rudolph (who has a red nose). Traditionally, Santa entered houses by coming down the chimney. Children hang a long sock or stocking outside their bedrooms, and when they wake up they usually find that Santa has filled it with small presents.

Father Christmas and his little helpers ...
... come and puts presents in stockings

Christmas presents should normally be opened on Christmas Day - they are often kept underneath the Christmas tree until this time (to avoid confusion they should be marked with the names of the giver and receiver). The time for opening presents is not fixed, but most families choose to do this in the late morning or after lunch. Presents are taken from under the tree, handed out to the right people and then opened. You should thank the person who gave you a present if he/she is there - if not, you should send a thank you letter soon afterwards.

CHRISTMAS DAY December 25th (Conversations)

It is 1.30 on Christmas Day and the Browns are eating their Christmas dinner. Mrs Brown's father is carving the turkey and Mrs Brown is serving ...

Mrs Brown: I hope the turkey's cooked properly, Father.
Father: It looks fine to me.
Mrs Brown: Will you have ham and sausages with your turkey, Barbara?
Barbara: Yes, please, Mum. Mrs Brown: And bread sauce?
Barbara: Yes.
Mrs Brown: And chestnut stuffing?
Barbara: Oh yes - I'll have everything.
Mrs Brown: Here you are then.
Barbara: It looks delicious. Pass the gravy, please, David.
Mrs Brown: Don't wait for us, Barbara. Start yours or it'll get cold. Now, David, what'll you
have? ...
... And after the main course the Browns had Christmas pudding with brandy butter, mince pies with cream followed by nuts and fruit and coffee. Then they all pulled crackers. Inside each cracker there was a coloured paper hat, a joke and a small toy - a whistle or a doll perhaps.

After such a large meal - and a lot of washing-up they all settled down to watch the Queen on television. (A Christmas Day programme in which The Queen speaks to the Commonwealth.)
In the evening they went carol singing with the church choir and visited an old people’s home.

This is one of the carols they sang:

I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day.
I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three, / On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three, /On Christmas Day in the morning?

Our Saviour Christ and His lady,/ On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
Our Saviour Christ and His lady, / On Christmas Day in the morning.

Write wish messages on some Christmas Cards. If you were invited to Christmas dinner with the Browns what would you like to eat? What would you say to Mrs Brown?

Christmas in Scotland

Mr Rogers is on the phone to a restaurant in Scotland.
- Hello. Mees restaurant.
- Hello. My name is Rogers. I'm spending a few days in Scotland for Christmas. Is it possible to reserve a table for Christmas dinner?
- Yes, Mr Rogers. How many of you are there going to be?
- Four. I've heard you serve traditional Scottish dinner. Do you?
- Of course. May I have your full name and... (fades)


The Jones are having their Christmas dinner.
- How did you like the pudding?
- It was great. Fantastic.
- Do you want some more, Mary?
- Well... yes, please. Just a little bit, though. - OK. Here you are.
- That's enough, thank you.
- What about you, John? Would you like some more?
- Oh, no, thank you. It's got more calories than... than a volcano!


Mary meets Joey the day before Christmas.
- Joey! Hi. Merry Christmas!
- Merry Christmas, Mary. How's it going? I haven't seen you around these days.
- I had a bout of flu!
- Oh, poor thing...
- But I'm all right now. Well, I'm in a bit of a hurry... Oh... Happy New Year!
- The same to you!


It's New Year's Day. John is walking the dog and he meets his friend Charles.
- Hello, Charles. Happy New Year.
- Happy New Year. Gosh, John: you look miserable. - I know. It's a hangover. I had too much Italian wine last night.
- It always happens when one's used to beer.
- But they think beer is
not good enough for New Year's Eve. So the friends who invited us served wine. And we had brought some port as a present... and now I'm dying! - Come on! Tomorrow you'll be OK. - I hope so...

SAINT NICHOLAS (Santa Claus) ON CHRISTMAS EVE (December 24th)

He comes to visit every child on the night before Christmas. The children hang stockings on the end of their beds and Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, as he is often called) fills them with toys. Santa comes from Greenland in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, he lands on the roofs of houses and comes down the chimney to bring presents for the children. The children write letters to Santa Claus a few weeks before Christmas and leave them in the fireplace.
In Britain December 31st is called New Year's Eve and January 1st, which is a public holiday, is New Year's Day. The Scots have another name for the New Year holiday, it is called Hogmanay- and in Scotland it is the most important holiday in the year. Friends and relations meet and have parties to see the new Year in. They eat and drink and sometimes dance and sing. At midnight they have a drink and wish each other "A happy new year". In Scotland, and in many parts of England, people visit their friends after midnight, this is called "first-footing". If your first visitor after twelve o'clock is a tall, dark man with a piece of coal and sometimes a herring in his hand, you will be lucky for the whole year! The day after Christmas is called Boxing Day and January 6th is called Twelth Night.

CHRISTMAS DAY December 25th

It is 1.30 on Christmas Day and the Browns are eating their Christmas dinner. Mrs Brown's father is carving the turkey and Mrs Brown is serving ...
Mrs Brown: I hope the turkey's cooked properly, Father.
Father: It looks fine to me.
Mrs Brown: Will you have ham and sausages with your turkey, Barbara?
Barbara: Yes, please, Mum. Mrs Brown: And bread sauce?
Barbara: Yes.
Mrs Brown: And chestnut stuffing?
Barbara: Oh yes - I'll have everything.
Mrs Brown: Here you are then.
Barbara: It looks delicious. Pass the gravy, please, David.
Mrs Brown: Don't wait for us, Barbara. Start yours or it'll get cold. Now, David, what'll you have? ...
And after the main course the Browns had Christmas pudding with brandy butter, mince pies with cream followed by nuts and fruit and coffee. Then they all pulled crackers. Inside each cracker there was a coloured paper hat, a joke and a small toy - a whistle or a doll perhaps.
(A Christmas cracker is a cardboard, very thick paper that is used for making boxes, tube covered in coloured paper and containing a small present. Crackers are pulled apart by two people, each holding one end, at Christmas parties. They make a loud noise as they break.
After such a large meal - and a lot of washing up - they all settled down to watch the Queen on television. In the evening they went carol singing with the church choir and visited an old people's home. This is one of the Carols they sang.
I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day. I saw three ships come sailing in on Christmas Day in the morning.
And what was in those ships all three, on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day? And what was in those ships all three, on Christmas Day in the morning?
Our Saviour Christ and His lady, on Christmas Day, on Christmas Day; Our Saviour Christ and His lady, on Christmas Day in the morning.

BOXING DAY December 26th

It's the day after Christmas - a Bank holiday - and David is sitting in the stalls of the Palladium Theatre with his Aunt Kate and his little cousin, Emma. They are watching the pantomime, Babes in the Wood. It's the first time Emma's been to a pantomime and so she's asking a lot of questions ...
Emma: Why's that man dressed as a woman, Mummy?
Aunt Kate: It's just funnier that way. There's always a man like that - usually he's somebody famous - that's Arthur Askey and he's pretending to be the children's mother.
Emma: He's rather ugly, isn't he? ... And why are there two men inside that horse? Can't they get a real one?
David: Well, it would be a bit difficult to have a real horse on the stage - it might get frightened by all the noise.
Emma: Why did the man leave the children in the wood?
Aunt Kate: What a lot of questions you ask! Now, shh! Watch. Arthur Askey's going to take the children to Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest ...

All over Britain, around Christmas time, children are taken out for a special treat - a pantomime or a circus. A pantomime is a kind of comedy play with singing and dancing, based on a well-known fairy story or folk-tale such as Aladdin, Cinderella or Babes in the Wood. Sometimes one story is mixed with another. The Babes in the Wood that Emma saw took place in Sherwood Forest and Robin Hood had to save the children from the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Pantomimes have certain traditions. There is usually a 'Principal Boy' or hero, who is actually a woman dressed in men's clothes - except that 'he' doesn't wear trousers, but stockings and high heels instead! There is a “Dame” - an old woman acted by a man dressed in women's clothes. There is always a villain (a man or a woman who tries to harm the hero) and often there is a comic animal played by one or two men.
The audience is often asked to join in It sings popular songs, it hisses or boos t e villain, and it tries to warn the hero or the Dame when something bad is going to happen. However, all pantomimes have a happy ending - usually a beautiful and romantic wedding scene.
Why is December 26th called “Boxing” Day? In the old days, servants, shopkeepers and other people who performed a service for the rich used to come to their houses with a box and be given presents and sometimes money. The custom still continues in a way, but only with people who deliver things or take them away - like milkmen, postmen, newsmen, newspaper boys and dustmen.

Christmas Meals United Kingdom & Ireland Main article: British cuisine
Christmas pudding In the United Kingdom, what is now regarded as the traditional meal consists of roast turkey, served with roast potatoes and parsnips and other vegetables, followed by Christmas pudding, a heavy steamed pudding made with dried fruit, suet, and very little flour. Other roast meats may be served, and in the nineteenth century the traditional roast was goose. The same carries over to Ireland with some variations.

HALLOWEEN also called All Hallows’ Eve

holiday, October 31, now observed largely as a secular celebration. As the eve of All Saints’ Day, it is a religious holiday among some Christians.

Halloween had its origins in the festival of Samhain among the Celts of ancient Britain and Ireland. November 1 was considered the end of the summer period, the date on which the herds were returned from pasture and land tenures were renewed. The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, and is sometimes regarded as the "Celtic New Year." The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or placate themTraditionally, the festival was a time used by the ancient Celtic pagans to take stock of supplies and slaughter livestock for winter stores. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, now known as Halloween, the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and the dead become dangerous for the living by causing problems such as sickness or damaged crops. It was also a time when the souls of those who had died were believed to return to visit their homes. People set bonfires on hilltops for relighting their hearth fires for the winter and to frighten away evil spirits, and they sometimes wore masks and other disguises to avoid being recognized by the ghosts thought to be present. It was in these ways that beings such as witches, hobgoblins, fairies, and demons came to be associated with the day. The period was also thought to be favourable for divination on matters such as marriage, health, and death. When the Romans conquered the Celts in the 1st century ad, they added their own festivals of Feralia, commemorating the passing of the dead, and of Pomona, the goddess of the harvest.

In the 7th century ad, Pope Boniface IV established All Saints’ Day, originally on May 13, and in the following century, perhaps in an effort to supplant the pagan holiday with a Christian observance, it was moved to November 1. The evening before All Saints’ Day became a holy, or hallowed, eve and thus Halloween. By the end of the Middle Ages, the secular and the sacred days had merged. The Reformation essentially put an end to the religious holiday among Protestants, although in Britain especially Halloween continued to be celebrated as a secular holiday. Along with other festivities, the celebration of Halloween was largely forbidden among the early American colonists, although in the 1800s there developed festivals that marked the harvest and incorporated elements of Halloween. When large numbers of immigrants, including the Irish, went to the United States beginning in the mid 19th century, they took their Halloween customs with them, and in the 20th century Halloween became one of the principal U.S. holidays, particularly among children.

Halloween flourished in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, parts of England and in isolated localities such as the Orkney and Shetland Islands. In these places during this celebration the inhabitants lighted bonfires on hilltops and played Halloween games such as "Bob apple." They also engaged in divination by such means as pulling kale, placing stones or nuts in the fire and throwing a shoe over the house. Some divination occured even on the church porch, which was believed to be an especially reliable place to learn of future events. Pranks and mischief were also common on Halloween in rural areas of Ireland and Great Britain. Wandering groups of celebrants blocked doors of houses with carts, carried away gates and plows, tapped on windows, threw vegetables at doors and covered chimneys with turf so that smoke could not escape. In some places, girls and boys dressed in clothing of the opposite sex and, wearing masks, visited neighbours to play tricks. These activities generally resembled the harmful and mischievous behaviour attributed to witches, fairies and goblins. The contenporary "trick or treat" custom resembles an ancient Irish practice associated with Allhallows Eve. Groups of peasants went from house to house demanding food and other gift in preparation for the evening's festivities. Prosperity was assured for liberal donors and threats were made against stingy ones.

Immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland took secular Halloween customs to the U.S., but the festival did not become popular in that country until the latter part of the 19th century. This may have been because it had long been popular with the Irish, who migrated there in large numbers after 1840. In any event, a number of the traditional Halloweens symbols and folk practice appeared in the U.S. during the late 1800s. Among these were the figures of the witch, the black cat, the death's head cut from a pumpkin, candles, bobbing for apples, the trick or treat custom, masks, parties and pranks. Though some churches observed Halloween with religious services, most persons regarded it as a secular festival. This reflected the prevailing American Protestant attitude toward a great many church festivals and holy days. During the latter decades of the 19th century, Halloween pranks and mischief became common in the U.S. and often descended to vandalism. In rural areas, fences were built across roads, wagons placed on top of barns, gates removed, outbuildings overturned and farm animals hidden. In cities and towns, "spooks" placed porch furniture on top of telephone poles, overturned garbage cans, opened water faucets and soaped windows in houses and stores. In some cities overenthusiastic celebrants filled cloth sacks with flour and rubbed these against the clothing of passers-by. In the course of the 20th century, the American public became less tolerant of Halloween pranks. This was the result, in large part, of a different mode of life, brought about by increasing urbanization and the ubiquity of the automobile. These factors altered the material environment and lessened the vitality of folk beliefs and customs. In addition, Halloween mischief became very costly to property owners and was of serious concern to public officials.

Consequently, civic authorities and private citizens attempted to deal with this difficulty by both repressive and educational means. As early as 1908 some U.S. community sponsored Halloween parties for the young in the hope of preventing injury to life or possessions. The police, local merchants or civic groups organized these festivities, and both parents and teachers cautioned children against vandalism. In some istances, merchants even invited the young to soap the windows of their stores on Halloween in the belief that this might lessen property damage. These efforts had only limited success. Nowadays the tendency to manipulate rather than to celebrate folk festivals such as Halloween is charateristic of the 20th century. It reflects the growing influence of a rational outlook on life and the loss of interest in imagination and fantasy. The secular character of contemporary culture is also reflected in public neglect of the religious significance of Halloween as well as in progressive loss of its folk vitality. Children are least effected by this disenchantment and consequently the more important folk occasions tend to be dominated by the young.

As a secular holiday, Halloween has come to be associated with a number of activities. One is the practice of pulling usually harmless pranks. Celebrants wear masks and costumes for parties and for trick-or-treating A group of children trick-or-treating on Halloween. It is thought to have derived from the British practice of allowing the poor to beg for food, called “soul cakes.” Trick-or-treaters go from house to house with the threat that they will pull a trick if they do not receive a treat, usually candy. Halloween parties often include games such as bobbing for apples, perhaps derived from the Roman celebration of Pomona. Along with skeletons and black cats, the holiday has incorporated scary beings such as ghosts, witches, and vampires into the celebration. Another symbol is the jack-o’-lantern, a hollowed-out pumpkin, originally a turnip, carved into a demonic face and lit with a candle inside. Since the mid 20th century, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has attempted to make the collection of money for its programs a part of Halloween.

In American holiday custom, a hollowed-out-pumpkin lantern that is displayed on Halloween. The surface of the pumpkin is carved to resemble a face. Light from a candle inserted inside can be seen flickering through the jack-o’-lantern’s cutout eyes, nose, and usually grotesquely grinning mouth. The custom originated in the British Isles, with a large turnip or other vegetable rather than a pumpkin.
Related Articles

Aspects of the topic jack-o-lantern are discussed in the following places at Britannica.
Assorted References

* association with Halloween (in Halloween)

...and black cats, the holiday has incorporated scary beings such as ghosts, witches, and vampires into the celebration. Another symbol is the jack-o’-lantern, a hollowed-out pumpkin, originally a turnip, carved into a demonic face and lit with a candle inside. Since the mid 20th century, the ...
* use of pumpkin (in pumpkin (plant))

...fruit is also used in puddings and soups. It may be used interchangeably with squash in various prepared dishes. Pumpkins are used in the United States as Halloween decorations, one such being the jack-o’-lantern, in which the interior of the pumpkin is cleaned out and a light inserted to shine through a face carved through the wall of the fruit.


Prank: A mischievous trick or practical joke.
Prick: a. The act of piercing or pricking. b. The sensation of being pierced or pricked. 3. Vulgar Slang A penis. 4. Vulgar Slang A person regarded as highly unpleasant, especially a male.
Prat: Slang The buttocks. Slang an incompetent or ineffectual person: often used as a term of abuse. (Pirla)
Spook: 1. Informal A ghost; a specter. 2. Slang A secret agent; a spy. 3. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a Black person.


Because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest, candy apples (also known as toffee, caramel, or taffy apples) are a common Halloween treat made by rolling whole apples in a sticky sugar syrup, sometimes followed by rolling them in nuts.
Candy appleAt one time, candy apples were commonly given to children, but the practice rapidly waned in the wake of widespread rumors that some individuals were embedding items like pins and razor blades in the apples.[16] While there is evidence of such incidents,[17] they are quite rare and have never resulted in serious injury. Nonetheless, many parents assumed that such heinous practices were rampant. At the peak of the hysteria, some hospitals offered free x-rays of children's Halloween hauls in order to find evidence of tampering. Virtually all of the few known candy poisoning incidents involved parents who poisoned their own children's candy, and there have been occasional reports of children putting needles in their own (and other children's) candy in a bid for attention.[citations needed]
One custom that persists in modern-day Ireland is the baking (or more often nowadays, the purchase) of a barmbrack (Irish "báirín breac"), which is a light fruitcake into which a plain ring, a coin, and other charms are placed before baking. It is said that those who get a ring will find their true love in the ensuing year. See also king cake.

Games and other activities

There are several games traditionally associated with Halloween parties. The most common is dunking or apple bobbing, in which apples float in a tub or a large basin of water; the participants must use their teeth to remove an apple from the basin. A variant of dunking involves kneeling on a chair, holding a fork between the teeth and trying to drop the fork into an apple. Another common game involves hanging up treacle or syrup-coated scones by strings; these must be eaten without using hands while they remain attached to the string, an activity that inevitably leads to a very sticky face.

Some games traditionally played at Halloween are forms of divination. In Puicíní (pronounced "poocheeny"), a game played in Ireland, a blindfolded person is seated in front of a table on which several saucers are placed. The saucers are shuffled, and the seated person then chooses one by touch; the contents of the saucer determine the person's life during the following year. A saucer containing earth means someone known to the player will die during the next year; a saucer containing water foretells emigration; a ring foretells marriage; a set of Rosary beads indicates that the person will take Holy Orders (becoming a nun or a priest). A coin means new wealth, a bean means poverty, and so on. In 19th-century Ireland, young women placed slugs in saucers sprinkled with flour. A traditional Irish and Scottish form of divining one's future spouse is to carve an apple in one long strip, then toss the peel over one's shoulder. The peel is believed to land in the shape of the first letter of the future spouse's name. This custom has survived among Irish and Scottish immigrants in the rural United States.

Unmarried women were frequently told that if they sat in a darkened room and gazed into a mirror on Halloween night, the face of their future husband would appear in the mirror. However, if they were destined to die before marriage, a skull would appear. The custom was widespread enough to be commemorated on greeting cards from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The mirror gaze was one of many forms of love divination around Halloween and other ancient holy days.

The telling of ghost stories and viewing of horror films are common fixtures of Halloween parties. Episodes of TV series and specials with Halloween themes (with the specials usually aimed at children) are commonly aired on or before the holiday, while new horror films, like the popular Saw films, are often released theatrically before the holiday to take advantage of the atmosphere.

Bob apple game: a traditional Halloween game enjoyed by young and old. Bobbing for apples requires a large tub of water, apples and a group of people willing to get their faces - and maybe their heads - wet.
Instructions: 1) Find a large, deep trash container or party tub that at least two people can get their heads into at the same time. 2) Set trash container on ground, or place tub on a table or cart strong enough to hold it when it is full of water. The top of the trash container or tub should be about waist-high to participants in the game. 3) Fill tub with water, leaving 4 to 6 inches of space at the top so that water doesn't slosh out. 4) Float several apples in water. 5) Place some towels at base of the tub so that the floor won't get wet, if playing inside. 6) Select first two or three players and have them put their hands behind their backs. 7) Say, "Go," and have players try to grab an apple with their teeth, all at the same time. The first to bring an apple up wins. 8) Provide towels for all players. Even losers will be wet.


Stingy Jack was a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on anyone and everyone. One dark, Halloween night, Jack ran into the Devil himself in a local public house. Jack tricked the Devil by offering his soul in exchange for one last drink. The Devil quickly turned himself into a sixpence to pay the bartender, but Jack immediately snatched the coin and deposited it into his pocket, next to a silver cross that he was carrying. Thus, the Devil could not change himself back and Jack refused to allow the Devil to go free until the Devil had promised not to claim Jack's soul for ten years.
The Devil agreed, and ten years later Jack again came across the Devil while out walking on a country road. The Devil tried collecting what he was due, but Jack thinking quickly, said, "I'll go, but before I do, will you get me an apple from that tree?"
The Devil, thinking he had nothing to lose, jumped up into the tree to retrieve an apple. As soon as he did, Jack placed crosses all around the trunk of the tree, thus trapping the Devil once again. This time, Jack made the Devil promise that he would not take his soul when he finally died. Seeing no way around his predicament, the Devil grudgingly agreed.
When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful. So, Jack then went down to Hell to see the Devil and find out whether it were possible to gain entrance into the depths of Hell, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter.

"But where can I go?" asked Jack.
"Back to where you came from!" replied the Devil.

The way back was windy and very dark. Stingy Jack pleaded with the Devil to at least provide him with a light to help find his way. The Devil, as a final gesture, tossed Jack an ember straight from the fires of Hell. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed-out of Jack's favorite foods which he always carried around with him whenever he could steal one. From that day forward, Stingy Jack has been doomed to roam the earth without a resting place and with only his lit turnip to light the way in the darkness.
Stingy Jack, perhaps also known as Jack the Smith and Jack of the Lantern, is a mythical character apparently associated with All Hallows Eve. It is common lore that the "Jack-o-Lantern" is derived from the tale of Jack the Smith.


As the story goes, several centuries ago amongst the myriad of towns and villages in Ireland, there lived a drunkard known as "Jack the Smith". Jack was known throughout the land as a deceiver, manipulator and otherwise dreg of society. On a fateful night, the devil overheard the tale of Jack's evil deeds and silver tongue. Unconvinced (and envious) of the rumors, the devil went to find out for himself whether or not Jack lived up to his vile reputation.

Typical of Jack, he was drunk and wandering through the countryside at night when he came upon a body on his cobblestone path. The body with an eerie grimace on its face turned out to be the Devil. Jack realized somberly this was his end; the devil had finally come to collect his malevolent soul. Jack made a last request: he asked the devil to let him drink ale before he departed to hell. Finding no reason not to acquiesce the request, the devil took Jack to the local pub and supplied him with many alcoholic beverages. Upon quenching his thirst, Jack asked the devil to pay the tab on the ale, to the devil's surprise. Jack convinced the devil to metamorphose into a silver coin with which to pay the bartender (impressed upon by Jack's unyielding nefarious tactics). Shrewdly, Jack stuck the now transmogrified devil (coin) into his pocket, which also contained a crucifix. The crucifix's presence prevented the devil from escaping his form. This coerced the devil into agree to Jack's demand: in exchange for the devil's freedom, the devil had to spare Jack's soul for 10 years.

Ten years later to the date when Jack originally struck his deal, he found himself once again in the devil's presence. Same as the setting before, Jack happened upon the devil and seemingly accepted it was his time to go to hell for good. As the devil prepared to take him to the underworld, Jack asked if he could have one apple to feed his starving belly. Foolishly the devil once again agreed to this request. As the devil climbed up the branches of a nearby apple tree, Jack surrounded its base with crucifixes. The devil, frustrated at the fact that he been entrapped again, demanded his release. As Jack did before, he demanded that his soul never be taken by the devil into hell. The devil agreed and was set free.

Eventually the drinking and unstable lifestyle took its toll on Jack; he died the way he lived. As Jack's soul prepared to enter heaven through the gates of St. Peter he was stopped. Jack was told that because of his sinful lifestyle of deceitfulness and drinking, he was not allowed into heaven. The dreary Jack went before the Gates of Hades and begged for commission into underworld. The devil, fulfilling his obligation to Jack, could not take his soul. To warn others, he gave Jack an ember, marking him a denizen of hell. From that day on until eternity's end, Jack is doomed to roam the world between the planes of good and evil, with only an ember inside a hollowed turnip ("turnip" actually referring to a large swede) to light his way.


Will you come to the Odeon with  me tonight?  What's on ?

There's a detective film starring Michael Caine.   To tell the truth, I'm in no mood to see a thriller. I'd rather see a musical or a cartoon film.

That's a good idea ! I'm always ready to give up even my favourite star for Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse. Well then, let's meet in Piccadilly Circus at half past seven. Is that all right for you ?

Yes, fine.  See you tonight, then. 

Reading and Dictation An Evening out and Pubs

For an evening out the best thing to do is to choose one of the un fashionable regions of South and East London where you can find the true Cockneys in their real background and to go

from pub to pub.

A typical London pub is a place of entertainment as well as refreshment. The entertainment may be in the drink, in talking with your fellow customers, in the traditional games of darts and dominoes, or in a music recital. Most. London pubs, in fact, go in for music and some of them have been the first step on the ladder to success for many pop groups.

An English pub is nothing like a continental café. You will rarely see tables and seats outside a pub where people can sit, drink, talk and watch the passers-by. Apart from the obvious meteorological reason, the English think there is something unbecoming about drinking in public. That's why most pubs have frosted glass windows which make it impossible for passers-by to peep in and see what is doing on inside.

If you are a theatre-goer, you have just to choose one of the fifty famous theatres that London provides. Concerts and plays are not the favourite entertainments among teenagers;

still you will often find crowds of youngsters queueing up for hours or even spending the whole night outside the Old Vic, the Royal Albert Hall or the Covent Garden Opera House in order to get tickets. 

Teenagers find their fun in what they call free parties, or in the many discotheques of swinging London.

A "free party" is a party where each guest is allowed to bring along, together with a bottle of Scotch, any person he or she likes, provided the new guest is nice and unconventional. A discotheque is a sort of night-club for teenagers. It is -usually a dingy, informal place; it may be a former wine-cellar, a basement or a garage. Here they dance or rather, twist, shake and jerk, jumping and bouncing about in a hysterical sort of way. Records of famous beat groups, such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, provide the music. And the deafening sound of juke-boxes makes the whole place vibrate till you think the very walls are going to fall down.

 "There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn", said Dr. Samuel Johnson,' in 1776. Beer, ale and other drinks may be tasted in gatherings at home, at cocktail parties and above all in pubs, the most British of institutions. Even if you don't drink, you'll enjoy the friendly atmosphere of England's taverns or public houses, "pubs" for short. The English relax and grow talkative in pubs. The "regulars" know one another, and you may feel as if you're intruding on a family reunion at first. The Crown is one of the commonest pubnames.

Most establishments have two separate rooms, the public bar, where the locals challenge one another to games of darts, cards or dominoes and the saloon bar, an ideal place for a chat. The majority of "pubs" are "tied houses" affiliated with a particular brewery and serving only the brewery's beer. Pubs are open only at a certain times, usually from 11 or 11.30 a.m. to 2.30 or 3 p.m. and from 5.30 or 6 until 11 or 11.30 p.m. Sunday hours are shorter, and exact pub hours may vary from town to town. Children under 14 are not allowed into pubs, except where a special room has been set aside alcohol is served only to adults aged 18 or older.


When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles, but never England.
England is only one of the three countries which make up the island of Great Britain, the other two being Scotland and Wales.
The union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or Ulster, constitutes the United Kingdom. The south-western part of Ireland is the irish Free State, or Eire, which became an independent republic in 1922. Since the United Kingdom is made up of four different countries, its population consists of a variety of different peoples reflecting in their individual characters the physical and historical differences that exist between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
England is mainly Anglo-Saxon, while highland Britain is essentially Celtic. The Germanic tribes that settled in England in the fifth century never reached Scotland and Wales and these territories remained independent for many centuries. Wales was joined to England in the 13th century, and Scotland became part of the English Kingdom only in 1707.
The Scotsman today is very proud of his country's past and does not like anybody to call him an Englishman. His national costume is the kilt, a pleated skirt whose colours and pattern vary according to the clan to which he belongs. A clan is a group of families having the same name and ancestor.
The Welsh differ greatly from the English. They have a traditional language of their own, and they are a much more emotional people. They are great lovers of music, dancing and songs. Coral singing is a spontaneous expression of feeling in Wales, and folk music is very much a part of the Welsh romantic scenery.
The Irish, as well as the Welsh and the Scots, are proud of their Celtic origin, and they are strongly rooted to their Catholic tradition. Gaelic, their national language, is considered a symbol of their spiritual independence from England. Their love for music and nature, as well as the melancholy of their character, is reflected in Irish folklore. In general, however, the similarities between the English, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish are nowadays more numerous than the differences. All of them have contributed to the development of a distinctively British way of life.


• What countries make up the island of Great Britain?
• What do you mean by the United Kingdom?
• Which part of Ireland is independent?
• What does the population of the United Kingdom consist of?
• When was Wales joined to England?
• When did Scotland become a part of the English Kingdom?
• What can you say about the Scots?
• What is a clan?
• What religion do the Irish practise?
• What is their national language?
• What are the main features of the Irish character?

Let's make a summary of the preceding passage:

When we speak of the United Kingdom, we mean ............................................. Ireland consists of .............................................
The population of the United Kingdom is made up of ................................................ While the population of England is
essentially ..........................................., the Irish, the Scots and the Welsh are of ……............................................ origin, and their temperament differs greatly from ................................................. The Scots are very proud of .............................................
The main feature of the Welsh character is ........................................... The Irish, as well as ........................................ love ........................................
and consider ............................................., their national language, a symbol of .......................................................


We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are, the signs of our ideas only, and not for things themselves. John Locke

We all live in a small unique world, that's why we need at least one sole common language. Carl william Brown

The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. T.S. Eliot

Language forces us to perceive the world as man presents it to us. Julia Penelope

The quantity of consonants in the English language is constant. If omitted in one place, they turn up in another. When a Bostonian "pahks" his "cah," the lost r's migrate southwest, causing a Texan to "warsh" his car and invest in "erl wells." Author Unknown

English is a funny language; that explains why we park our car on the driveway and drive our car on the parkway. Author Unknown

People on the Continent either tell you the truth or lie; in England they hardly ever lie, but they would never dream of telling you the truth.
George Mikes

As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular. Oscar Wilde

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Oscar Wilde

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
Oscar Wilde


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