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British Traditions and Customs
(Британские традиции и обычаи)

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Britain is like a 'melting-pot' (плавильный котел (метафора, применяемая для объяснения формирования многонациональных обществ, в которых "сплавляются" различные национальные культуры; впервые была употреблена британским писателем И. Зангуиллом (Israel Zangwill) в 1908 г. в одноименной пьесе по отношению к американскому обществу; предполагает возникновение единой общей культуры, стирание национальных различий)) - it is multicultural. Different countries have helped build Britain into an exciting place today. Britain has become a 'new' home or a shelter for those people who come different backgrounds and often difficult times from their home countries. The ethnic and cultural diversity adds great value to Britain.

Britain has some traditions and customs that show the typical 'way of life' for British peoples. Not everyone does them, but many do.

Sunday Roast (воскресное жаркое (из говядины или баранины, традиционное воскресное блюдо; готовится в духовке, подаётся на стол с картошкой и овощами)). Roast beef is served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, vegetables and gravy. It is usually served on a Sunday, mid to late afternoon.

Yorkshire pudding is batter baked in hot fat in the oven. Gravy is a sauce made from meat juices and stock, thickened with flour.

High Tea ("большой чай", ранний ужин с чаем (распространён на севере Англии и в Шотландии)). The modern High Tea is served between 3pm and 5pm. It is a pot of tea usually accompanied by thin sandwiches, scones with cream, small cakes, and pastries. High tea can also be called 'afternoon tea' which can be as simple as a cup of tea (a cuppa) and biscuits.

Fish and Chips (рыба с картофелем во фритюре (треска или камбала; популярное дешёвое блюдо; подаётся в небольших специализированных кафе; если покупатель берёт рыбу с собой, она, по традиции, завёртывается в газетную бумагу)). Friday Fish and chips can, and are, eaten any day of the week. Fridays became the 'traditional' day to eat them due to a Roman Catholic rule that fish was the only meat to be eaten on a Friday.

There are many superstitions in Britain, but one of the most widely-held is that it is unlucky to walk under a ladder - even if it means stepping off the pavement into a busy street! If you must pass under a ladder you can avoid bad luck by crossing your fingers and keeping them crossed until you've seen a dog. Alternatively, you must lick your finger and make a cross on the toe of your shoe, and not look again at the shoe until the mark has dried.

Another common superstition is that it is unlucky to open an umbrella in the house - it will either bring misfortune to the person that opened it or to the household. Anyone opening an umbrella in fine weather is unpopular, as it inevitably brings rain!

The number 13 is said to be unlucky for some, and when the 13th day of the month falls on a Friday, anyone wishing to avoid an inauspicious event had better stay indoors.

The worst misfortune that can befall you is incurred by breaking a mirror, as it brings seven years of bad luck! The superstition is supposed to have originated in ancient times, when mirrors were considered to be tools of the gods.

Black cats are generally considered lucky in Britain, even though they are associated with witchcraft - a witch's animal-familiar' is usually a black cat. It is especially lucky if a black cat crosses your path.

A commonly-held superstition is that of touching wood for luck. This measure is most often taken if you think you have said something that is tempting fate, such as 'my car has never broken down - touch wood!'


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