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3 unit.
Me and My World


Reading for Information

16. Read the text once very attentively and complete the sentences after it with the appropriate variants.

Great Britain: a Country of Traditions

Just like families have their own traditions so do countries. It's common knowledge that the British are lovers of traditions. In a whole year, each season in Britain is connected with various colourful traditions, customs and festivals.


St Davids Day. March 1st is a very important day for Welsh people. Its St Davids Day. He is the patron or national saint of Wales. On March 1st the Welsh celebrate St Davids Day and wear daffodils in the buttonholes ['bAtnhsulz] of their coats or jackets.

May Day. May 1st was an important day in the Middle Ages, the celebration of summers beginning. For that day people decorated houses and streets with branches of trees and flowers. In the very early morning young girls went to the fields and washed their faces with dew [dju:]. They believed this made them beautiful for a year after that. Also on May Day the young men of each village tried to win prizes with their bows and arrows. People put a striped maypole decorated with flowers and danced round it. Some English villages still have maypole dancing on May 1st.


The Trooping of the Colour. The Queen is the only person in Britain with two birthdays. Her real birthday is on April 21st, but she has an official birthday too. Thats on the second Saturday in June. And on the Queens official birthday, there is a traditional ceremony called the Trooping of the Colour. Its a big parade [ps'reid] with brass [bra:s] bands and hundreds of sob 68 diers at Horse Guards Parade in London. The Queens soldiers, the Guards, accompany her. At the front of the parade is the flag or colour. The Guards are trooping the colour. Thousands of Londoners and visitors watch Horse Guards Parade. And millions of people at home watch it on television.

Swan Upping. Heres a very different royal tradition. On the River Thames there are hundreds of swans. A lot of these beautiful white birds belong, traditionally, to the King or Queen. In July the young swans on the Thames are about two months old. Then the Queens swan keeper goes in a boat from London Bridge to Henley.1 He looks at all the young swans and marks the royal ones. The name of this custom is Swan Upping.

Highland Games. In summer Scottish people traditionally meet together for competitions called Highland Games. After Queen Victoria visited the games at Braemar in 1848, the Braemar games became the most famous tradition in Scotland. Today thousands of visitors come to see sports like tossing the caber2 (when a tall pole is thrown into the air as a test of strength) or throwing the hammer. The games always include Scottish dancing and bagpipe music.


The State Opening of Parliament. Parliament controls modern Britain. But traditionally the Queen opens Parliament every autumn. She travels from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a gold carriage the Irish State Coach. At the Houses of Parliament the Queen sits on a throne in the House of Lords. Then she reads the Queens Speech. At the State Opening of Parliament the Queen wears a crown and the crown jewels.

Guy Fawkes Day. November Sth is Guy Fawkes Day (Night) in Britain. All over the country people build wood fires, or bonfires, in their gardens. On top of each bonfire is a guy,3 That is a figure of Guy Fawkes. He was one of a band of conspirators [kan'spiratazj who wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I and his ministers. However, the plot failed, Fawkes was caught on the Sth of November 1605. The conspirators were executed and Britain has celebrated Guy Fawkes Night since then. Before November 5th, children use their guys to make money. They stand in the street and shout Penny for the guy. Then they spend the money on fireworks.


Up-Helly-Aa. The Shetland Islands are north of Scotland. In the ninth century the Vikings from Norway came to the Shetlands. They came to Britain in ships and took away gold, animals and sometimes people.

Now, 1000 years later, people in the Shetlands remember the Vikings with the festival which they call Up-Helly-Aa. Every winter people of Zerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, make a model of a Viking longship with the head of a dragon at the front. Then, on Up-Helly-Aa night in January, the Shetlanders dress in Viking costumes and carry the ship through the town to the sea and burn it there. The festival is a party for the people of the Shetland Islands.

Carol Singing. Originally, carols were songs performed with dancing at Christmas and other festivals. They were often sung outside houses by fantastically-dressed actors called Mummers. Many of todays carols have been written since the 19th century as Christmas hymns celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

1. On the 1st of May _________________.

  1. the British have their most favourite celebration
  2. young girls usually wash their faces with dew
  3. Londoners still decorate their flats and cottages
  4. in some English villages people still dance round maypoles

2. Shetlanders _____________.

  1. come to Zerwick in a Viking longship
  2. destroy a copy of a Viking longship in the sea
  3. dress in traditional Scottish clothes
  4. celebrate Up-Helly-Aa all over the country

1 Henley a town on the Thames
2 to toss the caber - ( )
3 a guy .

17. Now that youve read the text once, match the names of the traditions with the season of the year.


St Davids Day
Swan Upping
Carol Singing

Guy Fawkes Day
The State Opening of Parliament
The Trooping of the Colour
Highland Games
May Day

18. Read the text again for more detailed information and say which of the two is right.

  1. The Shetlanders build a ... a Viking longship and then burn it.

      a) real
      b) model of

  2. St Davids Day is an important day for ... people,

      a) Welsh
      b) Scottish

  3. In the past on May Day young ... went to the fields and washed their faces with dew.

      a) men
      b) girls

  4. On the day of Trooping the Colour the Queens soldiers, ..., march in front of her.

      a) the Guards
      b) the troopers

  5. On the day of Swan Upping the Queens swan keeper marks ... swans,

      a) young
      b) old

  6. At Highland Games you can see ....

      a) only sports competitions
      b) sports competitions and dancing

  7. During the State Opening of Parliament the Queen sits on a throne in ....

      a) the House of Commons
      b) the House of Lords

  8. Guy Fawkes was ... of King James I.

      a) a minister
      b) an enemy

  9. Carols are often sung ... houses,

      a) outside
      b) inside