The day itself should not be associated with the usual boxing sport that most of us watch over the famous world sports channels such as HBO and ESPN. Rather, Boxing Day is also known as St. Stephen’s day where people share food and is a national holiday for the families and friends to share friendship and love.

Boxing Day

This event is usually spent on the 26th of December of each year, the day right after Christmas. This is celebrated in known regions such as Austria, Britain, New Zealand and Canada. During this time, most business and government offices are closed and people can be found in malls savoring the holiday for the time to enjoy and be with their loved ones.

Such a practice is considered and extension of the usual Christmas breaks. For some people, they technically practice this although unnamed. Besides, there is no harm in extending a one day vacation considering that the Christmas season should be spent at its fullest potential worldwide.

[tags]english tradition, boxing, boxing day, christmas[/tags]

England is known to house the best names in the music industry, covering that of rock, jazz and pop music. A lot of the known names in the music industry today have made their mark in most parts of the world. Music artists such as The Beatles, Led Zepellin, The Rolling Stones, and Queen have all made their mark as solid English groups that have taken the world by storm.

The Beatles English Band

To this day, most of their original hits are still being played all over the world. The musical artists have left a trail of followers still supporting them to this day and this can be attributed to the quality of music that they have offered to music lovers all over.

All regions and countries have a good following for following the memorable and up to date musical tunes of today. Music hits the spot for most people and using the path of fans that they have until today, such English music names will forever remain in the annals of history and provide inspiration as well to aspiring musicians on the rise.

[tags]beatles, english bands, rolling stones, led zepellin, queen[/tags]

The name should not be taken literally since similar to most adages, this is simply a name christened to unique conceptualized meals that the English have developed. And for the sake of clearing things out, no frogs or toads are included in it!

Toad in the Hole Breakfast

Seriously, it is simple egg and toast presented in a unique way. The center portion of bread is simply cut using a round object such as a cookie or a glass and then placed in a frying pan to which eggs are placed in the revealing circular portion. It is like simply frying an egg sunny side up but with borders which produces an appealing manner of presentation for dishes originating from England.

While the name termed for it may need some work, it is commonly known as Egg in the Basket as well. But knowing how to stimulate the curiosity of most people, the attention garnered by Toad in a Hole will really catch their interest since they are not too familiar with such an offered English meal.

[tags]english cuisine, english tradition, english breakfast[/tags]

Tea, usually associated to have originated in China, was also a common tradition that England practiced especially in the afternoons. It was Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who introduced the afternoon tea practice stemming from her knack of becoming hungry in the afternoons during her time.

English Tea

English tea and biscuits made their way as an apparent substitute towards what most people use in the form of coffee for social gathering and quality pastime breaks. Such a heritage has been in effect to this day.

Biscuits are not the only known partners that come with the traditional English tea. Other substitutes would include that of canapés or sandwiches and pastries to go. So the next time a person would find himself visiting the vicinity of England, expect a hot tea pot waiting for serving as a form of accommodation and social support element for a perfect English afternoon with your host.

[tags]tea, tradition, afternoon tea, coffee[/tags]

Each country has a different belief with regards to spending their daily lives at any day of the week. The usual weekdays of Monday to Friday are considered as working days, similar to that of most countries today. Saturday is an option for others to make as a working day or not, but for the British, Saturdays are times where they spend with their families and times for shopping.

Quality Weekends

Sundays are extension of the quality time spent with families. This includes the shopping malls and stalls which would not hold the usual working hours. Some would not even open since the British put premium towards family and religion during the weekends.

For Britain, it is obvious that premium on stronger ties within families is what is important. Their traditions and routine manner of living is something to envy. But for each country today, adjustments to the manner of living is a must to adhere towards the increasing demand for quality living.

[tags]english culture, english traditions, family[/tags]

In England, the two main ways to assess students’ performances are coursework and exams respectively. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has recently proposed to scrap coursework in favour of full scale exams because according to their report, coursework has become less valid.

People have argued that nerves often get the better off them in exams whereas they find little difficulty doing coursework. To be honest, I reckon it’s quite fair to give people a chance this way, although I myself am happy doing exams. Coursework gives people complete freedom as they can go onto a computer, delete and edit things they way they like. There is also an opportunity for them to properly research stuff.

Despite the fact that I never complained about coursework, I have to say that I would have preferred to do all exams. I reckon coursework can sometimes be unfair as parents, teachers and mates can give too much help. In addition, the growing use of Internet can also result in an extremely uneven playing field, where a C grade student can hardly be distinguished from an A grade student because they were allowed countless redrafts, given loads and loads of help and could then potentially end up with unfairly high marks.

Regardless of its drawbacks, coursework does have its major advantage too; students can feel more confident going into the exam as they’ve already got some marks in the bag. However, there is also a problem that tutors don’t always get the marking accurately and your final results could get moderated down. It would be quite a blow for anyone to be told that they’d got an A for their coursework and hence felt secure, only to later discover that it was actually worth a mere B or less.

That happened with my Geography coursework and I have to say it’s not nice at all. Maybe the idea of open book exams supported by many seems a viable alternative because it is not all about memorising and also minimises the problem of cheating. And certain subjects such as maths and science should not have coursework because it is rather pointless, though science could just have a practical exam instead.

As far as I’m concerned, students in modern English education have a bit too much coursework, and they are also over examined. However, if I was doing it again I would still rather do all exams, particularly at A level. During A-levels most people had to do quite a few papers for two full weeks and although I think it’s not so healthy I believe it taught me to learn to cope under extreme pressure and time constraints.

To scrap coursework might be good once and for all. I fully appreciate that some people find exams very stressful and as a result they might not be able to perform to the best of their academic abilities. With that said, there has to be some method of student assessment and no single method is perfect for everyone. Given the ease and prevalence of cheating in coursework, it’s blindingly obvious that a purely exam based system, in spite of any disadvantages it may cause some students, is a lot safer from cheating.

Veil or No Veil?

One of the most controversial debates of the day in England is about the recent comments by Jack Straw that Muslim women should remove their veils because they act as a threat to national integration and English values and culture.

I totally understand that people should be allowed to dress the way they wish. Every culture has a vastly different interpretation of what is deemed appropriate and what is not. I truely understand that by asking someone to take away a article of their clothing, this can be both insulting and embarrassing.

I can also see both sides of the issue here. Part of me still prefers to see Asian ladies dressing moderately, even if they might overdo it, rather than the meagre clothes worn by a lot of young English girls these days. On the other hand, however, I reckon that the veil certainly interferes with normal daily social contact. For instance, you open a shop door for an Asian female and you will have a hard time trying to work out what she is saying and her facial gesture is just a blank. Such situations are wasted opportunities to break down social barriers and build our community.

I have to say that women use the veil for many reasons be it political or just as an expression of their religious belief. The problem is that even though many English people would still describe themselves as Christians, most now feel intensely uncomfortable with explicit displays of religion of any sort. This applies to both Chistian evangelists haranguing on the streets or a mere sight of covered Muslim girls.

As far as I am concerned, all Muslims should respect the English traditions and values as English people should do whenever they visit Muslim countries. However, there seems to be a big imbalance on the Muslim side here and I reckon this without delay needs addressing. There is no doubt that Muslims should comply with the English customs and habits if they really want to join English society. The English should never be required to adjust to their culture.

I also share the view of many it’s dreadful that lots and lots of women are forced to hide themselves away, simply because of some ideas set out a few thousands years ago. These women can often be seen at tourist resorts by swimming pools whilst their husbands are playing with the kids in Wester style dress. It is rather hypocritical. To me, it demonstrates a lack of social integration too.

Having said all that, I have to admit this is just a fact of life and any attempts to equate this with our liberal way of life can be a real strain. In fact, Europe historically has not been too tolerant of religious minorities of any size. This is a fact born out by the variety of religious sects that left secular Europe for America so that they could freely practise their beliefs. Anyone that wants to live in Europe has to bear this in mind and unfortunately for us, though, there doesn’t seem to be any easy solution at the moment.

To many people, the English have apparently been laughing at themselves for yonks. They just love laughing at their very own foibles. Some say it is because they have been pompous for such a long time and as such become so self-important that they have a strong sense of their own ludicrousness. Maybe it is just a way to overcome their habitually social awkwardness.

To me, their sense of humour is among the few English traits that they are willing to boast about. However, being able to laugh at themselves is merely one of its various characteristics. The most recent statistics have shown the English are laughing less now than in the past few decades. Some reckon their renowned sense of humour might be facing extinction. Well, nobody can give a precise answer to that question.

Laughing has undoubtedly always been a vital part of the English society. I know for a fact that they laugh a lot and do not take things too seriously unless necessary. Many English people I know have confirmed my belief. I also love it that they mostly laugh about themselves as I myself am doing that all the time as well.

As far as I’m concerned, the English as a nation are still among the funniest in the whole bloody world. Personally I reckon it’s all down to the unpleasant weather conditions they have to deal with. As one can guess, the best way to cope with this is with a simple smile on the face.

The English can do this because they are renowned as an extremely amiable and hilarious nation, keen to use jokes as simple icebreakers for instance. Their television channels, the BBC in particular, and also Channel 4 have put an awful lot of effort and resources into cultivating their comedy scene for donkey’s years.

The English are fortunate in that their comedy scene is the envy of the world, and it is something they are also very proud of. The sit-coms on TV and the ordinary people who get through the day with their globally famous humour make such a perfect combination.

As a foreigner, I have to say that I really love the English for their ability to laugh at themselves and make a complete joke out of the most sombre possible situations. This absolute quality goes together with their attitude of not caring too much what other people may think about them.

This is definitely what the English are well-known and respected for, even though they are now and again also misunderstood for abroad. It is also such a common thing to all Englishmen and goes together with a down to earth attitude towards the world and a firm respect for distinct peculiarity.

Having said that, I must admit that the English sense of humour is simply legendary and is therefore something they should always be remembered for. I also reckon that without their incredible sense of humour it would be inconceivable they could ever tolerate their useless government. What do you reckon?

English Media

The media, or ‘Press’, in England is world famous for some good and some bad reasons.

The good reasons include that it’s not censored – anyone can write anything they like as long as it does not incite violence or hatred. This freedom of the press is an important English tradition, but it wasn’t always this way.

Nowadays, three entities control most of the television and radio media throughout the country:

The ITC. The Independent Television Comission is a body that regulates commercial television such as cable, sky (satellite) and televised text services (known often as ‘teletext’). It has now merged with the Radio Authority.

The BBC. The British Broadcasting Corporation is a world wide company that broadcasts radio and television. The Radio Authority, which licences commercial radio. It has now merged with the ITC.

According to a leading newspaper survey conducted in 2004, watching the television (or ‘Telly’ as many English people call it) is England’s most popular pasttime.

Televisions are so popular that 96% of people have one in their home. Apparantly, the average English person watches more than 25 hours a week.

We have five big channels over here that are available to anyone with a T.V licence. BBC1 and BBC2 are non-commercial, as they do not run adverts. ITV1 and Channel 4, Channel 5 are commercial in that they get paid to display adverts for products between shows.

Most shows have an advert break every 20 or 30 minutes. On the BBC channels, there are thankfully none.

All channels have a wide variety of programmes. Entertainment, sport, films, drama, educational shows, news and childrens TV all fill the day and night. Documentaries are particularly popular at the moment.

The BBC has been broadcasting regularly since 1936! The main HQ of the BBC is in London at a place called ‘Television Centre’.

Nowadays there are many different BBC buildings for various departments such as film and news. There is Local BBC News in every area of the country, which links up with the main national news in the evenings. My father has worked for the BBC, so I have a special interest here.

What kind of shows do English people like to watch? English people enjoy many types of telly program, but we watch more of some than others. Here is a list of the most watched:D.I.Y. shows DIY stands for ‘Do It Yourself’ and refers to work around the home and garden such as redecorating and painting walls, or improving your garden. We say DIY instead of hiring a professional to do the job, as it can be rewarding and fun to do it yourself. These shows give you tips on DIY, and sometimes show other people getting it very wrong!Soap Operas are a television series that often run every day or regularly every week. They show the every day lives of people in often normal situations. The stories never end, just like real life. The most popular show is ‘Eastenders’, a soap about life in East London.

Reality TV These shows are about ‘ordinary’ people doing things on tv, often live. One example is ‘Big Brother’ where contestants live in a house for several months and are filmed 24 hours a day by secret cameras. The audience gets to vote who wins the show, normally based on nothing more than popularity.

English Family

There is no doubt that the modern English family is very different to any English families of the past.

There has been a steady rise in the number of single-person households in England, the numbers ranging from 15% in the 1970s to 30% in 2000.

Many estimations state that in a further 30 years, there will be more single than married people in England. Not so long ago, this would have been seen as completely unacceptable by English standards.

Much like some developing countries today, the English men and women of the past got married and then stayed married. Divorce was tricky, socially frowned upon and very expensive.

It also took a long time to complete, the combination of which was enough to put most people off the thought.

Of course, ‘modern’ views on marriage are very different. Many couples live together without marriage, mainly those in the age bracket 20 – 35. Statistically, only 60% of such couples will eventually ‘tie the knot’ (English expression for marriage).

Socially, children born outside of a marriage were seen as a bad mark on any individual, not least the child himself. Such children were referred to as ‘bastards’ which is where the modern day insult of ‘bastard’ comes from.

Nowadays, more than 40% of children are born to unmarried parents. In 1960 this was very unusual, but by 2000 around 23% of young children in the UK had been born to an unmarried couple living together.

The attitude that prevails today seems to be one of career focus.

Many women do not want to have children before they have gained some sort of satisfaction out of a career, as they see childbirth as an unwanted disturbance to their success.

Prefering to put off children until their later life, many women are finding it hard to find the man to do it with when the time comes!

The number of single parent families is also on the rise, due to high rates of divorce in some cases, but also due to some women making the active choice to have children without a live-in partner.

The average family in England is 2.4 people big. There was a famous television comedy sitcom show named ‘2.4 children’ that was all about family life.