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TRADITIONS

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In a world of technological change, we struggle to keep up with new developments, yet at the same time, many of us welcome the continuity and repetition provided by traditions. Some of our traditions are connected with places; others relate to the calendar and religious or pagan ceremonies.

There are a number of towns and cities in Britain which are associated with legendary people or creatures. Tourists visiting Nottingham can take a trip to Sherwood forest where they can revive the legend of Robin Hood. A journey to Loch Ness, near Inverness in Scotland, may result in a sighting of "Nessie" the famous monster. London is rich in traditions such as the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade. The opening of parliament when members of the House of Commons are called to the House of Lords to attend the Queen's Speech is just one of many annual events.

Annual religious ceremonies provide us with holly, fir-trees and crackers at Christmas, and chocolate eggs at Easter. Other yearly events include Burns' Night in January to celebrate the birth of Scotland's great national poet, pancake day in February, April Fools' Day on 1st April and the crowning of the May Queen on 1st May.

Traditions are also observed during important moments of our lives such as weddings and funerals. In a traditional British church wedding, the bride wears a long white dress while the groom wears a black cloak and top hat. The bride's father escorts her to the front of the church and she is attended by brides maids when she leaves. The groom, accompanied by the "best man" brings a gold ring which is placed on the bride's finger after the couple have made serious promises. The groom is then allowed to kiss the bride.