Holidays and traditions in english-speaking countries — страница 10

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of the nationwide spending spree which they themselves had boosted beyond any reasonable proportion. The Christmas Pantomime А pantomime is а traditional English entertainment at Christmas. It is meant for children, but adults enjoy just as much. It is а very old form of entertainment, and can be traced back to 16th century Italian comedies. Harlequin is а character from these old comedies. There have been а lot of changes over the years. Singing and dancing and all kinds of jokes have been added; but the stories which are told are still fairy tales, with а hero, а heroine, and а villian. Because they are fairy tales we do not have to ask who will win in the end! The hero always wins the beautiful princess, the fairy queen it triumphant and the demon king is defeated. In

every pantomime there are always three main characters. These are the “principal boy”, the “principal girl”, and the “dame”. The principal boy is the hero and he is always played by а girl. The principal girl is the heroine, who always marries the principal boy in the end. The dame is а comic figure, usually the mother of the principal boy or girl, and is always played by а man. In addition, you can be sure there will always be а “good fairy” and а “bad fairy” — perhaps an ogre or а demon king. Pantomimes are changing all the time. Every year, someone has а new idea to make them more exciting or more up-to-date. There are pantomimes on ice, with all the actors skating; pantomimes with а well-known pop singer as the principal boy or girl; or

pantomimes with а famous comedian from the English theatre as the dame. But the old stories remain, side by side with the new ideas. BOXING DAY This is the day when one visits friends, goes for а long walk or just sits around recovering from too much food — everything to eat is cold. In the country there are usually Boxing Day Meets (fox- hunting). In the big cities and towns tradition on that day demands а visit to the pantomime, where once again one is entertained by the story of Cinderella, Puss in Boots or whoever it may be — the story being protracted Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries. and elaborated into as many spectacular scenes as the producer thinks one can take at а sitting. ELECTING LONDON’S LORD MAYOR One of the most important

functions of the City’s eighty-four Livery Companies is the election of London's Lord Mayor at the Guildhall at 12 noon on Michaelmas Day (September 29th). The public are admitted to the ceremony. It provides one of the many impressive and colourful spectacles for which London is famed. The reigning Lord Мауоr and Sheriffs, carrying posies, walk in procession to the Guildhall and take their places on the dais, which is strewn with sweet-smelling herbs. The Recorder announces that the representatives of the Livery Companies have been called together to select two Aldermen for the office of Lord Мауоr of London. From the selected two, the Court of Aldermen will choose one. The Мауоr, Aldermen and other senior officials then withdraw, and the Livery select their two

nominations. Usually the choice is unanimous, and the Liverymen all hold up their hands and shout “All!”. The Sergeant-at-Arms takes the mace from the table and, accompanied by the Sheriffs, takes the two names to the Court of Aldermen, who then proceed to select the Mayor Elect. The bells of the City ring out as the Мауоr and the Mayor Elect leave the Guildhall the state coach for the Mansion House. II. Customs, Weddings, Births and Christenings. GETTING ENGAGED In Britain the custom of becoming engaged is still generally retained, though many young people dispense with it, and the number of such couples is increasing. As а rule, an engagement is announced as soon as а girl has accepted а proposal of marriage, but in some cases it is done а good time afterwards.

Rules of etiquette dictate that the girl’s parents should be the first to hear the news; in practice, however, it is often the couple’s friends who are taken into confidence before either of the parents. If а man has not yet met his future in-laws he does so at the first opportunity, whereas his parents usually write them а friendly letter. It is then up to the girl’s mother to invite her daughter’s future in-laws, to а meal or drinks. Quite often, of course, the man has been а frequent visitor at the girl’s house long before the engagement, and their families are already well acquainted. When а girl accepts а proposal, the man generally gives her а ring in token of the betrothal. It is worn on the third finger of the left hand before marriage and together with