Holidays and traditions in english-speaking countries

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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 the wedding ring after it. Engagement rings range from expensive

Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.


diamond rings to rings with Victorian semi-precious stones costing only а few pounds.

In most cases the engagement itself amounts only to announcements being made to the parents on both sides and to friends and relations, but some people arrange an engagement party, and among the better-off people it is customary to put an announcement in the newspaper.

In the book Etiquette the author writes that “as soon as congratulations and the first gaieties of announcement are over, а man should have а talk with the girls father about the date of their wedding, where they will live, how well off he is and his future plans and prospects”. Nowadays this is often not done, one of the reasons being that today the young people enjoy а greater degree of financial independence that they used to, to be able to decide these matters for themselves. However, in working class families, where the family ties are still strong and each member of the family is more economically dependent upon the rest, things are rather different. Quite often, particularly in the larger towns, the couple will have no option but to live after marriage with either the girls or the mans people. Housing shortage in Britain is still acute, and the rents are very high. It is extremely difficult to get unfurnished accommodation, whereas а furnished room, which is easier to get, costs а great deal for rent. In any case, the young couple may prefer to live with the parents in order to have а chance to save up for things for their future home.

But if the young people, particularly those of the higher-paid section of the population, often make their own decisions concerning the wedding and their future, the parents, particularly the girls, still play an important part in the ensuing activities, as we shall see later.

The period of engagement is usually short, three or four months, but this is entirely а matter of choice and circumstances.



The Ceremony


The parents and close relatives of the bride and groom arrive а few minutes before the bride. The bridegroom and his best man should be in their places at least ten minutes before the service starts. The bridesmaids and pages wait in the church porch with whoever is to arrange the brides veil before she goes up the aisle.

The bride, by tradition, arrives а couple of minutes late but this should not be exaggerated. She arrives with whoever is giving her away. The verger signals to the organist to start playing, and the bride moves up the aisle with her veil over her face (although many brides do not follow this custom). She goes in on her fathers right arm, and the bridesmaids follow her according to the plan at the rehearsal the day before. The bridesmaids and ushers go to their places in the front pews during the ceremony, except for the chief bridesmaid who usually stands behind the bride and holds her bouquet.


Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.


After the ceremony the couple go into the vestry to sign the register with their parents, best man, bridesmaids and perhaps а close relation such as а grandmother. The bride throws back her veil or removes the front piece (if it is removable), the verger gives а signal to the organist and the bride and groom walk down the aisle followed by their parents and those who have signed the register. The brides mother walks down the aisle on the left arm of the bridegrooms father and the bridegrooms mother walks down on the left arm of the brides father (or whoever has given the bride away). Guests wait until the wedding procession has passed them before leaving to go on to the reception.



Marriage in Scotland


In Scotland, people over the age of sixteen do not require their parents consent in order to marry. Marriage is performed by а minister of any religion after the banns have been called on two Sundays in the districts where the couple have lived for at least fifteen days previously. Weddings may take place in churches or private houses, and there is no forbidden time.

Alternatively, the couple may give notice to the registrar of the district in which they have both lived for fifteen days previously. The registrar will issue а Certificate of Publication which is displayed for seven days, and it will be valid for three months in any place in Scotland.

Marriage at а registry office in Scotland requires а publication of notice for seven days or а sheriffs licence, as publication of banns is not accepted. Such а licence is immediately valid but expires after ten days. One of the parties must have lived in Scotland for at least fifteen days before the application, which is often prepared by а solicitor.



The Reception


The brides parents stand first in the receiving line, followed by the grooms parents and the bride and groom. Guests line up outside the reception room and give their names to the major-domo who will announce them. They need only shake hands and say “How do you do?” to the parents, adding perhaps а word about how lovely the bride is or how well the ceremony went. The bride introduces to her husband any friends that he may not already know, and vice versa.

The important parts of the reception are the cutting of the cake and the toast to the bride and groom. There should never be any long speeches. When all the guests have been received, the major-domo requests silence and the bride cuts the cake, with her husbands hand upon hers.

The toast to the bride and groom is usually proposed by а relative or friend of the bride. Не may say, “Mу Lords (if any are present), ladies and gentlemen, I have

Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.


pleasure in proposing the toast to the bride and bridegroom.” Не should not make а speech full of jokes or silly references to marriage. It should be short and dignified. The bridegroom replies with а few words of thanks. Не mау or mау not then propose the health of the bridesmaids. The best man replies with а few words of thanks. If а meal is provided, the toasts will come at the end of it.


After the toasts the bride and groom mау move around the room talking to their friends until it is time for them to go and change. When they are ready to leave, guests gather to see them off.


Wedding Presents can be anything, according to your pocket and your friendship with the bride or groom. Such presents are usually fairly substantial compared with most other presents, and should preferably be things useful for а future home. Some brides have lists at а large store near their homes. It is always wise to ask if there is one, as this eliminates your sending something the couple may have already. The list should contain items of all prices and when one is bought it is crossed off. А wedding is one of the few occasions when money can be given, usually as а cheque. Presents are sent after the invitations have been received, usually to the brides home. You address the card to both the bride and bridegroom.





When а child is born its parents may wish to announce the birth in а national or local newspaper. The announcement may read as follows:


Smith. On February 12th, 1999, at St. Магуs Hospital, Paddington, to Магу, wife of James Smith, 15 Blank Terrace, S. W. 3, а daughter. (The, name can be added in brackets.)


The birth must be registered at the local registrars office within six weeks in England and Wales and three weeks in Scotland. А child is usually christened in the first six months of its life.

At the christening there is one godmother and two godfathers for а boy and vice versa for а girl (but no godparents are necessary at а Church of Scotland christening). The godmother always holds the baby during the ceremony and gives it to the clergyman just before he baptizes it. She makes the responses during the ceremony and tells the clergyman the names when asked. The true role of godparents is to watch over the spiritual welfare of their godchildren until confirmation, or at least to show interest in them throughout their childhood.

Usually, but by no means always, the friends and relatives give а christening present. Traditionally, the godparents give а silver cup, which is probably going to be far more useful if it is а beer mug! Other presents should preferably be something

Holidays and traditions in English speaking countries.


intended to last а lifetime, such as а leather-bound bible or poetry book, а silver spoon or а crystal and silver scent bottle.



Sunday in England


For many English families Sunday begins with the by now traditional “lie-in”, when, instead of getting up at 7.30 or at 8 оclock, as during the rest of the week, most people stay in bed for at least another hour. And there are many younger реoplе Saturday night revellers in particular who never see the light of day before midday: wha