I. Prepare a report on a piece of news from the UK.
II. Fill in the geographical worksheet.
III. Learn the first verse of the British National Anthem by heart:
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen.
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen.
IV. Study the information on the British national symbols (from the lecture) and memorize the information from the table:
British National Symbols
a red rose
V. Memorize the following dates from the Middle Ages:
1066 – the Battle of Hastings = the Norman invasion of England
1086 – the Doomsday Book (first survey of land and people) was completed
1215 – Magna Carta Libertata was signed
1265 – the first parliament was summoned
1337-1453 – Hundred Years War with France for the French throne
1348-1349 – «Black Death» (plague)
1301 – the tradition of the Prince of Wales began
1381 – the Peasants' Revolt against high taxes
1455-1485 – the War of Roses for the English throne
VI. Do ex.III,IV p.25 in «British and American Cultural Studies» (part 1).
VII. Study the following information about British symbols op pp.43-45 in «British and American Cultural Studies» (part 1) and the following:
The ROSE. The red rose was the emblem of the Lancastrians, the white rose that of the Yorkists, the two contending Houses for the English throne in the Wars of the Rose (1455-1485). All rivalry between the Roses ended by marriage of Henry VII, the Lancastrian with Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV, the Yorkist. The red rose has since become the national emblem of England.
The THISTLE. The thistle is the national emblem of Scotland. This is how, according to a curious legend, that homely plant came to be chosen as a badge, in preference to any other.
In very ancient times the Norsemen once landed somewhere on the east coast of Scotland, with the intention of plundering and setting in the country. The Scots assembled with their arms and took their stations behind the river Tay, the largest in Scotland, at the only practicable ford. As they arrived late in the day, weary and tired after a long march, they pitched their camp and rested, not expecting the enemy before the next day.
The Norsemen, however, were near; noticing that no guards or sentinels protected the camp, they crossed the river Tay, intending to take the Scots by surprise and slaughter them in their sleep. To this end, they took off their shoes so as to make the least noise possible. But one of the Norsemen stepped on a thistle. The sudden and sharp pain he felt caused him to shriek. The alarm was given in Scots’camp. The Norsemen were put to flight, and as an acknowledgement for the timely and unexpected help from the thistle, the Scots took it as their national emblem.
The LEEK. Welshmen all over the world celebrate St Davids’s Day by wearing either leeks or daffodils. The link between the leek and St David is the belief that he is supposed to have lived for several years on bread and wild leeks.
There is a conclusive evidence that Welshmen wore leeks on St David’s Day in Shakespeare’s time. In “Henry V” Fluellen tells the King: ”If your Majesty is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps; which, your Majesty knows, to this hour is an honorable pledge of the service; and I do believe your Majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy’s day!”
The daffodil is also associated with St David’s Day, due to the belief that it flowers on that day. It became an alternative to the Leek as a Welsh emblem in the present century, because some thought the leek vulgar.
The SHAMROCK. What the red rose is to Englishmen and the leek and daffodil to the Welsh, the little shamrock is to the Irish, and no Irishman worth his salt fails to wear this national emblem on St Patrick’s Day, March 17. It is worn in memory of Ireland’s patron saint, whose cross is embodied in the Union Jack by the thin red one under the cross of St George.
A popular notion is that when preaching the doctrine of the Trinity to the pagan Irish St Patrick used the shamrock, a small white clover bearing three leaves on the stem as an illustration of the mystery.
Shortly after the formation of the Irish Guards in 1902 the custom of presenting the national emblem to the new regiment on St Patrick’s Day began. An equally tenacious observance on St Patrick’s Day is Wetting the Shamrock, the convival aspect of Irish loyalty to their patron saint.
The Coat of Arms of Ireland
Do you know that on the coat of arms of Ireland there is a picture of a red right hand? Why does Ireland have a picture of a hand on its coat of arms?
It happened three thousand years ago. Two Vikings chieftans went with their men in two big boats to Ireland. The first chieftan’s name was Heremon O’Neill, the name of the other we do not know. “The first of us who will touch the Irish land will be the king of it,” they said.
At last they were near the Irish coast. The two boats were going faster and faster. But the boat of Heremon O’Neill was not so fast than the boat of the other chieftan.
When the boats were quite near the land, O’Neill quickly cut off his right hand and threw it over to the land. His hand touched the land and he became the king of Ireland. That is why there is a picture of hand on the coat of arms of Ireland.
National Flag - THE UNION JACK
This is the popular name given to the flag of the United Kingdom. Usually it is called the Union Flag and it consists of several flags.
It all began in 1603, when Scotland was joined to England and Wales. The Scottish Flag, St. Andrew’s Cross, blue with the white cross from corner to corner, was joined to the English Flag, St. George’s Cross, white with a red cross. The flag of St. George can still be seen on churches in England today.
Later, in 1801, the Irish Flag of St. Patrick’s Cross was added, white with a red cross from corner to corner. In this way the British people got the Union Jack, which is red, white and blue. King James the First (1566-1625) ordered the British Flag to be flown on the main mast of all British ships, except on ships-of-war. Here the flag was flown at the front of the ships, on what was called the bowsprit. The end of the bowsprit was called the Jack Star and so we get the name of Union Jack. A “jack”, by the way, is an old word for a “sailor”.
The patron saints of England, Scotland and Ireland are to be seen in large mosaics displayed over the four doorways leading out of the Central Lobby in the Houses of Parliament.
The mosaic panel over the south door, represents St. George, the patron saint of England and of the Order of the Garter, with the dragon at his feet. St George was a soldier famous for saving the Princess Cleolinda from being eaten by a dragon. He wounded the dragon and took it back to the city of Silene on a lead like a dog. St George’s Day is celebrated on the 23rd of April. St George is also a patron saint of Germany, Portugal and Greece.
The panel over the north door, representing St. David, shows the saint carrying the Bishop’s cross, with the dove alighting on his shoulder and two angels as supporters. St David started a number of monasteries in Wales. His relics are now in Saint David’s Cathedral in Wales. Various legends surround the saint. One is that a hill on which he stood rose so that all the crowds could hear him preach. A white dove is said to have appeared on his shoulder. He lived on leeks and water and was called “the waterman”. St David’s Day is celebrated on the 1st of March.
The panel over the east door depicts St. Andrew, the fisherman, standing in the centre, holding his staff and net, with the diagonal cross behind him. Saint Andrew, the fisherman was one of the 12 apostles who followed Jesus Christ. Paintings of St Andrew often show him being killed on an X-shaped cross. St Andrew’s Day is celebrated on the 30th of November. He is the patron saint of both Scotland and Russia.
The panel over the west door represents St. Patrick, standing with clasped hands, with the Rock of Cashel (a rock in South Ireland) behind him and the shamrock at his feet.
St Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He was born about AD 390. He converted the Irish to Christianity and is supposed to have got rid of all the snakes in Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated on the 17th of March.