Customs and Traditions of the English-Speaking World

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Customs and Traditions of the English-Speaking World

There are many different customs and traditions in the world today. Most of them are connected with the history, religion and culture of the country. They play an important role in the lives of various nations and are one of the most important links between the past, the present and future of many nations. Customs and traditions help people to keep up their originality, bring up children, love and respect their motherland. The way people celebrate holidays and important events reveal their national character, their way of life, customs and traditions.

Like any other nation in the world, Britain has its own customs and traditions that play an important role in the lives of people. Most of these customs and traditions are so old that they sometimes seem very strange, but Britons are very proud of them and carefully keep them up. Some of them are famous all over the world.

The British like order in everything and to queue up is one of their customs. Talks about the weather and great love for tea, as well as double-deckers and left-hand traffic add to the British originality. British people are great sport-lovers and it is well known that many kinds of sports were born in Britain. Most Britons like to spend their days off at home with their families. They love gardens and prefer a house with a fireplace to a flat in a modern house. Almost all of them are very fond of animals and have one or more pets at home. The UK holidays are especially rich in customs and traditions.

The Americans are very proud of their country. They are energetic, hardworking and interested in success and making careers. The US population is a mixture of many nations and races that is why Americans customs and traditions are also very different. But there are some that unite all English-speaking world.

Canada is a multicultural country. Canadians are peace-loving, tolerant, and more open than other nations. They live in democracy and prosperity and encourage immigration. Canadians are warm-hearted and polite, but they don’t like when they are mistaken to Americans. People in Canada respect their customs and traditions as Britons and Americans.

Christmas is the most popular holiday celebrated on the 25th of December. It is one of the most important religious holidays in Great Britain (the Scots don’t celebrate it at all) America and Canada. On this day many people go to churches. At home they open their Christmas presents and eat their holiday ginner, which is traditionally a roast turkey and Christmas pudding – in Britain.

Boxing Day (December, 26) is marked in Great Britain with small presents in boxes by the rich to their servants.

New Year’s Day is a great national holiday in Britain, America and Canada. It is usually marked with dances, lots of presents and New Year’s parties. Most Americans stay up all the night, they go outside, ring bells and set off fireworks.

St. Valentine’s Day(February, 14) is the holiday of love and friendship when people send special cards and nice presents to their beloved.

Easter is the greatest religious holiday in all countries. Many people attend church services. They spend time together with their families, exchange coloured or chocolate eggs, which are the symbol of new life, and various presents.

April Fool’s Dayis marked on the 1st of April and now it’s just a day of jokes. People play tricks and have a lot of fun.

Halloween(October, 31) is celebrated on the eve of All Saints’ Day. On this day many children made different costumes, put them on and go from house to house, saying: “Trick or treat”. And the adults give them plenty of tasty things. People just have fun and relax.

Numerous Bank Holidays in Great Britain are connected with all above mentioned British holidays. They are celebrated as official holidays. As a rule, on these days all banks and shops, post-offices and factories are closed. Almost all Britons spend them with their families. They have holiday dinner and enjoy their free time.

The favourite American national holiday is Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the last Thursday of November, to honour the first settlers. It’s a great family holiday with traditional big dinner with a fried turkey.

Another important event is Memorial Daywhich the Americans mark in honour of veterans of the past wars. They hold colourful parades, fireworks and different sports competitions.

It is also important to mention Independence Day, the greatest holiday in the USA, celebrated on the 4th of July. On this day in 1776, The Declaration of Independence was signed and the country became an independent state. All cities and towns are decorated with flags and flowers and people go on picnics to the countryside.


4. Find in the text and write in your notebook English equivalents to the following Russian expressions. Then make your own sentences using these expressions and share them in class.

играть важную роль, быть известным всему миру, гордиться своими обычаями и традициями, хранить традиции и обычаи, проводить выходные дни с семьей, заниматься спортом, богаты разными обычаями и традициями, день шуток и смеха, праздновать, самобытность, устраивать розыгрыши и веселиться, отмечать в честь, обмениваться открытками и подарками


5. Find the right explanation to each holiday.


1. The party you traditionally a. St. Valentine’s Day

mark with a birthday cake b. Thanksgiving Day

2. A great religious holiday c. A birthday party

in April d. Christmas

3. A day of jokes and tricks e. New Year’s Day

and a lot of fun f. Easter

4. This day people celebrate g. Fool April’s Day

all over the world

on the 31st of December

5. A holiday of friendship

and love

6. To mark this holiday we

buy presents, make big

dinner and have parties

7. Americans traditionally

celebrate this day at home

with traditional turkey


6. Write an annotation on the text in task 3. (the task may be given as homework).

7. Find additional information about one of the holidays, make and write a story (10 – 12 sentenses) and tell your story in class.


8. Read the text and put in the words in the right place.

attract, boyfriend, child, invitation, party, presents, traditional


Emma opened the envelope and got the card from inside. What could it be? It was an __________to a New Year _________ in the local Jazz Club. It wasn’t a __________ party for teenagers with Santa, Christmas tree, ___________ and dances. When Emma was a __________ she went to a lot of such parties, but they don’t _________ her any more. A party in the Jazz Club sounds like a good idea. She was happy and decided to invite her __________ Tony.


9. Read the text about Valentine’s Day and decide if the statements below the text are true or false.


Valentine’s Day is the time when people show their love and friendship for each other. They send cards, flowers and chocolates. But Valentine’s Day is not only a romantic holiday of love it’s now a big business. In the UK people spend more than 20 million pounds on flowers and in the USA over 1 billion dollars on chocolates. On this day more than 80 million roses are sold around the world.

Valentine’s Day became an industry, but we don’t know the origin of this popular event and who St Valentine was. Some historians suggest that he was a priest in ancient Rome.

Valentine’s Day is now celebrated in many countries around the world. People use technological developments of the 21st century and sent Valentine’s e-cards (email cards) instead of traditional. But you should be careful to send Valentine e-cards, because hackers could use them to spread viruses.


a. Valentine’s Day has become a commercial holiday.

b. All historians agree that St Valentine was a Roman priest.

c. Sending Valentine e-card is secure.

d. Valentine’s Day is celebrated only in English-speaking countries.


10. Read the dialogue, study the unknown words and expressions using a dictionary.

At a Cocktail Party

The Briggs (an American family) is giving a cocktail party. They invited their son’s friend from Russia, Denis. Peter and Denis are students and they have been pen pals for a long time. Denis is very interested in American customs and traditions.


Denis: Tell me, do traditions and customs play a great part in the life of American nation?

Peter: I think they do, because we really are a nation. We are a nation of immigrants, but our customs and traditions mean a lot to us. Take our holidays.

Denis: As far as I know, there aren’t national holidays in this country. Each state has its own holidays.

Peter: That’s right. States celebrate their local historical and important events, but in fact most of our holidays are celebrated nationally. The federal public holidays are Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Christmas, New Year’s Day and some others. They are celebrated in all states with exciting events and festivals.

Denis: Which of the holiday do you think is the most American?

Peter: The most American of our holidays is Thanksgiving. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In 1863 it became a federal holiday. Today it’s time for families to spend a happy weekend together with traditional big dinner.

Denis: And what other holidays are important to Americans as a nation?

Peter: Memorial Day, Columbus Day, George Washington’s birthday.

Denis: What is Columbus Day?

Peter: Columbus Day is a federal holiday marks the landing of Christopher Columbus in the New World on October 12, 1492. Columbus, an Italian explorer who discovered America, is admired for his bravery. American children love to retell and dramatize the exciting story about his famous voyage.

Denis: Thank you for a very interesting evening. I have enjoyed every minute of it, but I’m afraid I have to go now. Good bye.

Peter: Good bye, and see you tomorrow.

11. Answer the following questions on the dialogue.

1. Are there any national holidays in the USA? What are they?

2. Which of the holidays is the most popular?

3. How is Thanksgiving usually celebrated?

4. What are other important American holidays?

5. When is Columbus Day celebrated?

6. Is it a federal holiday?

7. What is the historical event for this holiday?

12. Using information in the dialogue tell about holidays in the USA,


13. Match the answers to the questions and make a dialogue, read it and tell about holidays in Canada.


1. We know that Canada is a multinational country with a lot of immigrants. Are there any national customs, traditions and holidays in Canada?

2. Are they similar to the customs, traditions and holidays of other English – speaking countries?

3. When is Independence Day celebrated in Canada?

4. Do the Canadians celebrate Halloween?

5. What is the national sport in Canada?

6. Do customs and traditions play an important role in the life of the nation?



a. Yes, they certainly do. Following the traditions make people love and respect their country and feel more united.

b. Ice hockey is the national sport in Canada. It is also popular all over the world.

c. Yes, there are a lot of holidays Canadians celebrate with the all English – speaking world. They mark Christmas, New Year’s Day, St. Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and other events.

d. Of course, Canada has its own customs and traditions as well as its own holidays.

e. On the 1st of July, it’s a great national holiday. People celebrate this day with military parades, fireworks, and picnics.

f. Halloween celebrations in Canada began with the arrival of Scottish and Irish immigrants in1800s. People decorate their houses with fruit, pumpkins, leaves and flowers. They prepare tasty meals, especially their favourite pancakes with maple syrup.

14. Read the dialogue and write 120 words about what you think you are going to do next year (next month or next week).

New Year Resolutions

People in Great Britain traditionally make New Year resolutions. Now it’s the 1st of January and the family are having breakfast. Mr. Small and Mrs. Small are the parents, Timothy is their son, Susan is their daughter, Grandma Emma and their dog Rocky.


Timothy: We make our New Year resolutions today. What are you going to do, Susan?

Susan: I want to get up early every day and take Rocky for a walk before college starts. Have you made any resolutions, Timothy?

Timothy: Yes, I want to get up early too, because I’m often late for university. I will never be late again.

Mrs. Small: Well, I have made two resolutions. I want to have violin lessons and I won’t eat any more cakes because I’m putting on weight.

Mr. Small: As for me, I like cakes and I get up early every day. Can you think about resolution for me?

Grandma Emma: Yes, stop smoking your awful pipe.

Mr. Small: But I like my pipe. It helps me think … . All right then, I’ll stop smoking. I love you all.

Grandma Emma: You will laugh at me when I tell you my resolution. I want to take some fitness lessons and my first lesson is tomorrow.

Timothy: Good luck granny. See you at the sport ground.


Communication:Making and accepting suggestions and invitations.

15. Choose and learn phrases for suggestions and invitations:


Would you like tocome to the cinema with us?

Could you join us for dinner tonight?

Can you comefor lunch tomorrow?

Let’s goto the party at the weekend.

How about goingout this evening?

Why don’t we goon a picnic?

Why not meetat 5 after studies?


Phrases for accepting suggestions and invitations:


Yes, that would be lovely!

I’d love to!

I’d like that very much!

How nice of you! Thank you very much.

That’s a great idea!

All right, let’s do it!

Let’s do as you suggested!




16. Make short dialogues accepting the invitation according to the model, using the phrases given.


Model: - Could you come to my place tomorrow for a birthday party?

- How nice of you! Thanks, I’ll come with pleasure.


Invite for: a Christmas party - the day after tomorrow

a New Year party - tomorrow evening

a picnic - at the weekend

a tea party - on Sunday

a wedding celebration - next Saturday

a dinner party - tonight

St. Valentine’s Day celebration - on the 14th of February

dinner party - on Monday


17. Study the situations and make suggestions or invitations and accept them.

Test 1

1. You are having a birthday party. Invite your friend.

Would you like… ?

2. You and your group mates want to go out to eat. Suggest going to a Chinese restaurant.

Let’s… .

3. There’s nothing interesting on TV today. Suggest going to the cinema.

How about … .

4. You are having a picnic in your country house. Invite your friends.

Could you … ?

5. You are planning to have coffee after classes. suggest your group mate to join you.

Why don’t we … ?

Test 2

18. Fill in the gaps with the phrases in the list and read the dialogue.

How about, let’s, why don’t, I’d love to, with pleasure.


A: ___________(1) we go out on Sunday? It’s my birthday.

B: Great! _________(2)

A: ______________(3) going to a nice restaurant?

B: ________________(4) It’s very romantic. When and where shall we meet?

A: ______________(5) meet at the bus stop at 7 p.m.

B: ___________(6) See you on Sunday then, and thanks for invitation!

A: My pleasure, see you, bye.




1. approve , v. одобрять

2. bring up воспитывать

3. development, n. развитие, достижение

4. encourage, v. поддерживать, поощрять

5. honour, n. честь

6. independent, adj . независимый

7. keep up, поддерживать, сохранять

8. laugh, v. смеяться

9. link, n. связь

10. mention, v. упоминать

11. multicultural, adj. многонациональный

12. numerous, adj. многочисленный

13. origin, n. происхождение

14. pen pal друг по переписке

15. priest, n. священник

16. resolution, n. обещание

17. respect, v. уважать

18. reveal, v. раскрывать, проявлять

19. secure, adj. безопасный

20. seem, v. казаться

21. settler, n. переселенец

22. sign, v. подписывать

23. spread, v. распространяться

24. success, n. успех

25. suggest, v. предлагать

26. unite, v. объединять

27. various, adj. различный, разнообразный




1. Guess if these statements are True or False. Then, read the articles and check your answers.

1. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was located on an island.

2. The Lighthouse was fourteen storeys high.

3. Stonehenge was built in two stages.

4. Stonehenge took many years to finish.

5. The Lighthouse of Alexandria is mostly famous for its beauty.

6. Scientists know for sure who built Stonehenge.

2. Read the texts. Then, for questions 1-4, choose the best answer, A,B,C or D.

1. The Lighthouse of Alexandria was built

A by an Egyptian ruler. C by Sostratus.

B in three floors. D near an island.

2. A fire was continually burning on the top of the Lighthouse of Alexandria to

A impress people. C help ships reach the


B burn enemy ships. D light up the


3. Which of the following describes Stonehenge as it is today?

A A perfect circle of rectangular stones.

B A set of beams which are lined up.

C Two full circles made up of stone blocks.

D Two circles with some parts missing.


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