5 Unusual British Cultural Traditions

The United Kingdom has many famous cultural landmarks, a prominent royal family and some well-known habits such as drinking copious amounts of milky tea! However, we at Scrambled Eggs Milano have put together a list of 5 lesser known British cultural traditions which you may not have heard of before.

1. Cheese Rolling Festival

Do you love cheese? What would you be willing to do to get your hands on a big wheel of delicious English cheese? Every Spring in Gloucester, a city in England, thousands of people gather to attend a very special event. Competitors stand at the top of a hill. A large (4kg) Double Gloucester cheese is rolled down the hill, reaching blistering speeds of up to 113 kilometers per hour, and the first person to catch the cheese or reach the bottom of the hill is the winner! The event has been held for over 200 years.

As you can tell from the video, injuries are quite common!

2. Morris Dancing

Dating back to the 15th century, Morris dancing is a traditional English folk dance based on rhythmic stepping and involves a choreographed group of dancers. The dancers typically wear bells on their clothing and use sticks, swords or handkerchiefs in their routine. Although sometimes mocked and regarded as the antithesis of cool by some, it is performed proudly by those who take part and the tradition persists to this day. Take a look at the video and make up your own mind!

3. Weighing the Mayor

Would you like to be the Mayor of a small English town northwest of London? Well you better be prepared for the world to know how much you weigh! In High Wycombe, it has been a tradition since 1678 to put the Mayor on the scales in public, at the beginning of their term and then once every year. This was originally done to make sure that the Mayor wasn’t using his position to get fat using the taxpayer’s money – the Mayor at the time was known to be a bit of a drunken slob!

4. Nettle Eating Contest

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica) produce a burning sensation when touched due to their ability to pierce your skin and their biochemical irritants. Does this plant sound like a good thing to put in your mouth? Well, every year entrants from all over the world go to a traditional British pub in Dorset to see who can eat the most in one hour! This is quite a new tradition, held every year since the late 1980s, but it is surprisingly competitive and shows no sign of going away any time soon.

5. Bonfire Night

Our list is going out with a bang! Bonfire Night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night, is celebrated once a year on the 5th of November. In 1605, a man named Guy Fawkes was part of a plot to use gunpowder to blow up King James and his government. He and his group placed 36 barrels of explosive gunpowder under the houses of parliament in London. However, one member of the group sent a letter to his friend, warning him about the plan. This letter ended up the in hands of The King’s supporters and the scheme was discovered! Guards broke into the cellars beneath the Houses of Parliament where Guy Fawkes was waiting to set light to the gunpowder. He was arrested and later executed. On Bonfire Night, we create large fires (known as bonfires), light fireworks and sometimes throw an effigy of Guy Fawkes into the flames!

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about some of the quirkier events in the British calendar – which would you like to try? Have you ever heard about any similar events in other countries? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you think about these eccentric events!

5 Radio Stations to Help Improve your English!

Are you keen to talk like a native English speaker? To be able to understand colloquial language and expressions used in everyday speech? The team at Scrambled Eggs English school in Milan have the perfect solution for you! We have put together a list of the top 5 radio stations from English speaking countries around the globe to help you to improve your English.

BBC Radio 4

First up, is BBC Radio 4. This UK radio channel has shows that talk about the hottest topics right now, from food to economic fashion, the news and current affairs. They even have shows dedicated to fictional stories. With presenters from across the UK, you’ll hear an array of British accents.

NPR

On the other side of the pond, there is NPR: an American radio station that delivers breaking national and world news. Their stories focus on a range of topics, including business, politics, health, science, technology, music as well as arts and culture. Although the speaking speed is an upper intermediate level, each audio is accompanied with an article for its listeners to read.

Radio Canada

From America’s neighbour to the north we have Radio Canada. Radio Canada is Canada’s official radio station. Here you will find an array of programmes on a variety of different topics: current trends, the great outdoors, arts and culture, technology, science and history. They also air programmes that cover the news and the latest business trends.

ABC Radio Australia

From a country down under we give you ABC Radio Australia. ABC is Australia’s international broadcasting service. Here you can listen to both live and local music as well as talk shows on a number of topics, such as sport, literature, cinema and theatre – you’ll never got bored of listening!

Cape Talk

Last but not least, from beautiful South Africa we present you Cape Talk. Cape Talk is a South African commercial radio station based in Cape Town. It airs shows on the news, sport as well as business. In addition, there are plenty of phone-in debates, so you will have the chance to listen to unscripted English!

Listening to the radio is a great way to practice your English whether you’re at work, cleaning the house or on the go! Comment below and let us know which radio station is your favourite!

Top 5 Weirdest Laws: UK Edition | Reading Comprehension

Across Britain, there are laws still enforced today that date all the way back to the 1300s! Some of them have no relevance in today’s world and are actually quite funny. The Team at Scrambled Eggs English School in Milan have put together a list of the top 5 weirdest laws that still exist in the UK. Get ready for your minds to be blown!

First up, it is actually illegal to be drunk in the pub! Yes, that’s right, you’ve read correctly! According to the 1839 Metropolitan Police Act, it is illegal to be highly intoxicated in a pub or for the pub-keeper to permit drunkenness on the premises

Next up, jumping the queue in the Underground ticket hall is not just rude, but actually illegal! That’s right, us Brits take queueing to a whole new level!

One of the most absurd laws that still exists is that it is apparently illegal to die while in Parliament. As the House of Parliament, less commonly known as the Palace of Westminster, is in fact a royal palace; so, if you were to die there, you would be required to be given a state funeral!

Another interesting law is that you can’t dress up as a soldier or seaman if you go to a fancy-dress party. According to the Seamen’s and Soldier’s False Characters Act 1906, it is illegal to pretend to be part of the armed forces.

Last but certainly not least placing a postage stamp bearing the monarch’s head upside down on an envelope is considered as an act of treason. So, when sending a postcard from your travels in the UK, make sure you place your stamp the right way up!

Which law do you think is the weirdest? What weird Italian laws still exist in Italy today?! Share your opinions by writing a comment below!

If you are curious to find out what the words in bold mean and want to speak like a native, try our comprehension quiz below:

Top 5 Weirdest Laws: UK Edition | Reading Comprehension Quiz

Match the word with its definition.

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