Unit 2.1

Tradition and social change


Times and Days of the Year in which Popular and Traditional Manifestations Take Place

  • Easter: It is a festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is called the moveable feast because the dates of Easter and the holidays are changeable. During Easter, people paint and decorate eggs which are popular cultural symbols of it.
  • Christmas is commonly on the 25th of December. It is an annual festival to remember the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a religious and cultural celebration happening among billions of people around the world.
  • Notting Hill Carnival (London) is an event that takes place on the streets of Notting Hill each August over two days. It attracts around one million people annually. It is Europe’s biggest street festival. You can visit carnival’s site at nhcarnival.org/homepage.
  • Edinburgh Fringe Dates of it changes every year. It is the largest arts festival in the world celebrated since 1947. Any type of performance can be shown, across theatre, comedy, music and dance. Many students visit Edinburgh to put on their shows.
  • New Year’s Eve is on 31st December, the last day of the calendar year. New Year’s Eve is celebrated with evening social gatherings where many people dance, eat, drink alcohol, and watch or light fireworks to mark the new year.
    • Hogmanay is a Scots word for the last day of the year and is similar to the celebration of the New Year. It is normally followed by a celebration on the morning of New Year’s Day. It has many local traditions.
  • Halloween is celebrated on 31st October. People hold parties, where they come dressed up as scary figures. Dressed up kids go from door to door asking for candies and doing tricks if they don’t get any. It originated from the Celtic festival in which people would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare off ghosts.
  • Bonfire Night also is known as Guy Fawkes Day is on the 5th of November. Many people light bonfires and set off fireworks. It is an anniversary of the discovery of a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London in 1605.
  • May Day is on the first Monday of May. It’s a day free from work and school. Celebrations are taking place mostly in smaller towns and villages. It celebrates spring and incoming summer.
  • Glastonbury Festival takes place at the end of June, and it is held every year, except for “fallow years” taken mostly at five-year intervals to give break to the local community. It lasts for five days. It is one of the most popular music festivals in the United Kingdom.

Signs, Symbols and Objects Related to Customs and Traditions

  • Bells Ringing to Welcome the New Year: The sound of bells ringing is deeply rooted in British culture.
  • Easter eggs are eggs that are decorated. They are symbols of the Risen Christ and in past, it was common to paint them red to symbolise the blood of Jesus Christ.
  • Jack-o’-lantern is a carved pumpkin, turnip, or other root vegetable lantern linked with Halloween. This name was originally used to describe the visual phenomenon known as a will-o’-the-wisp in English folklore. It is common to see them as decorations for Halloween.

New ways to spend free time

  • Travelling:
    • People took around 58 million domestic trips in 2018 in the purpose of holidays and leisure.
  • Playing sports:
    • Running, Fitness, Swimming are usual picks for sports activities.
    • Football, Rugby, Tennis, Cricket are also very popular.
  • Practising extreme sports, for example:
    • Windsurfing is a sailing sport using a board, with the rider standing on it, and a sail attached to it. It is a popular activity on the south coast. There are a lot of places from where you can go windsurfing, for example Hayling Island, West & East Wittering and Emsworth.
    • Rock climbing is a sport in which people climb up, down or across natural rock formations or fake rock walls. You can find places for rock climbing in Portland, North Yorkshire or Snowdonia National Park.
    • Mountain biking is a sport where people ride bikes off-road, often on rough ground. There is a lot of biking routes but best routes for mountain biking are located in England, Scotland and Wales.


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