British culture

Hi all,

What came first: language or culture? On the one hand, language seems to be woven into the very fabric of every human culture; and to such an extent that it is hard to imagine what human culture would be like without language. Indeed, most myths about the origin of humanity – whether religious or otherwise – seem to suggest that humans had language from the very beginning. On the other hand, what use would humans have for language if they didn’t have something to talk about? Living in groups governed by highly intricate social interactions would seem to provide an endless amount of possible discussion material. Yet, many other primate species also live in complex social groups – but notably without the benefit of human-like language. Some sort of shared culture would seem to be a plausible additional component as a necessary pre-requisite for language.

In order to master English, you have to know a little bit about British culture. Otherwise, we can only use English in Vietnamese way. That’s the reason why we should learn more about British culture. If you have any information on British culture, please share with us. Thank you very much for your paying attention. Have a nice time!

11 thoughts on “British culture

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  1. The US and UK share many of the same holidays and most are celebrated in similar fashions, such as New Years, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas to name a few.

    The UK also has a number of holidays that the US has carried over, such as St. Patrick’s Day and others that are rather unheard of in the United States, such as Boxing Day, Guy Fawkes Nights, Burns Night, St. George’s Day, St. David’s Day, St. Andrew’s Day and Pancake Day.

    New Year
    The New Year is often launched with a party – either at home with family and friends or gathering at a pub or club. Merry-making begins on New Year’s Eve and builds up to midnight. The stroke of midnight is the cue for much cheering, hooting, whistling, kissing and drinking toasts.

    Tradition has it that the first person over the threshold on New Year’s Day will dictate the luck brought to the household in the coming year. This is known as First Footing. At midnight on December 31, particularly in Scotland and northern England, “first footers” (traditionally a tall, dark and good-looking man) step over the threshold bringing the New Year’s luck. The first footer usually brings a piece of coal, a loaf and a bottle of whiskey. On entering he must place the fuel on the fire, put the loaf on the table and pour a glass for the head of the house, all normally without speaking or being spoke to until he wishes everyone “A Happy New Year.” He enters through the front door and leaves through the back door.

    In Wales, the back door is opened to release the Old Year at the first stroke of midnight. It is then locked up to keep the luck in, and at the last stroke the New Year is let in at the front door.

    In Scotland, the New Year remains the greatest of all annual festivals. Called “Hogmanay” (a word whose meaning has never been satisfactorily established), it’s marked by an evening of drinking and merrymaking, culminating at the stroke of midnight when huge gatherings at Edinburgh’s Tron Kirk and Glasgow’s George Square greet the New Year by linking arms and singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

    There will be more…

  2. Next is Easter. At Easter time, the Brirish celebrate the idea of ne birth by giving each other chocolate Easter eggs which are opened and eaten on Easter Sunday.On Good Friday bakers sell hot cross buns, which are toasted and eaten with butter. Easter Monday is a holiday and many people travel to the seaside for the day or go and watch one of the many sporting events, such as football or horse-racing.

  3. Halloween

    Like in the United States, Halloween is celebrated on October 31 and children dress up and go trick-or-treating and carve pumpkins. Although we commonly associate this practice with the United States, the custom originated in England as Mischief Night when children dared one “lawless night” of unpunished pranks.

    Actually, Halloween with its witches, ghosts and goblins derives from the Celtic Old Year’s Night – the nights it was said that all witches and spirits walked the earth.

  4. Guy Fawkes Night
    In 1605 King James I was on the throne. As a Protestant, he was very unpopular with Roman Catholics. Some of them planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament.Under the House of Lords they had stored thirty-six barrels of gun powder, which were to be exploded by a man called Guy Fawkes. However one of the plotters spoke about these plans and Fawkes was discovered, arrested and later hanged. Since that day the British traditionally celebrate 5th November by burning a dummy, made of straw and old clothes, on a bonfire, whilst at the same time letting off fireworks.
    This dummy is called a guy (like Guy Fawkes) and children can often be seen on the pavements before 5th November saying “Penny for the guy”.If they collect money they can buy some fireworks.

  5. Christmas
    In Britain, Christmas Day is spent at home, with family, and is regarded as a celebration of the family and it continuity (much like how it is spent in the United States). Preparations start well in advance with sending out Christmas cards and decorating a Christmas tree. Although now a firmly established tradition, the Christmas tree was first popularized by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who introduced the custom from his native Germany in 1840.

    Presents are bought and wrapped and traditionally placed under the tree on Christmas Eve. Christmas is both a secular and a religious holiday, and many families attend a midnight service at church on Christmas Eve or celebrate Christmas in a church on Christmas morning.

    The excitement begins for children on Christmas Eve, when they hand their stockings around the fireplace or at the foot of the bed for Father Christmas to fill with presents. The English Father Christmas or Santa Claus is first recorded in his traditional red and white outfit in a woodcut of 1653, but the story of Santa arriving in his reindeer-drawn sleigh and descending down the chimney with presents comes from the United States.

  6. Trafalgar Square
    Trafalgar Square was built early in the last century to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar. Admiral Lord Nelson’s statue stands on top of a column in the middle of Trafalgar Square. The Square makes a good place for people to meet – coaches pick up parties of visitors, marchers unite for protest meetings, and at Christmas time carol singers gather round a huge Christmas tree which is sent to Britain from Norway every year. Behind Nelson’s Column is the National Gallery, an art gallery in which you can find many old masters.

  7. Boxing Day

    Boxing Day (December 26) is so-called because it is a time when tradespeople receive a Christmas box – some money in appreciation of the work they’ve carried out all year.

    Traditionally it is a time for visiting family and friends and indulging in more feasting, Boxing Day is a popular day for football matches and other sporting events.

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