Society & everyday life in England
The majority of the UK’s population are Christians at around 59 percent. Over 14 million inhabitants (approx. 25.1 percent) also stated that they did not belong to any religion. Most of the Christians feel they belong to the Anglican Church, around 11 million people belong to other Protestant churches and almost 6 million Britons are Catholics. About 4.8 percent of the population are Muslims and 1.4 percent are Hindus.
As a country starting with letter U listed on Countryaah.com, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the current head of state. She is also Queen and Head of State of the 15 Commonwealth of Nations, the majority of which are former British colonies that have become independent states.
In theory, the monarch can depose the government at any time, but this has not been done for centuries. Since the royal family tends to stay in the background, many of the United Kingdom also speak of a parliamentary system of government in the form of a parliamentary monarchy. Parliament consists of the House of Lords and the House of Commons (House of Commons). The current head of government has been Prime Minister Theresa May since 2016. The Prime Minister selects the cabinet and its members, who are then formally appointed by the Queen and form the ” Her Majesty’s Government” .
National language and communication
The official language in the United Kingdom is English.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, however, there are still their own officially recognized languages, these are Welsh in Wales, Scottish Gaelic in Scotland and Irish and Ulster Scots in Northern Ireland. The languages Cornish (around Cornwall) and Scot s (Scotland) are also spoken regionally . Some of these languages are recognized as minority languages by the European Charter and are therefore protected.
In the United Kingdom, too, there are of course different local dialects of English in the different regions, but these do not have an official status. Perhaps the best-known dialect among them is the Cockney dialect spoken in London. Cockney gained fame among other things because of George Bernhard Shaw’s novel Pygmailion and the film adaptation My Fair Lady , in which the linguist Henry Higgins teaches the simple flower girl Eliza Doolittle to speak the finest English.
Remember that in England traffic is on the left, this means that public transport also leaves from across the street. The characteristic red double-decker buses from London are now world-famous and have become a symbol not only for the capital, but for the whole of England. What very few people know, however: The regional buses are called as in the German bus, but the municipal buses are often called coach. There is a good bus network in the UK, which connects the big cities.
Culture & History of England
The first inhabitants of England were the megalithic cultures around 4000 BC. They created the mysterious stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury . Around 800 BC Celts migrated from Central Europe and brought the Gaelic and Breton languages with them to the island. Then Julius Caesar came around AD 43 and the Romans took England under their power until the end of the Roman Empire.
This was followed by the immigration of Germanic peoples such as Angles, Saxons and Jutes, who then created Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the seventh century. After that, mostly Danish Vikings came to England and took over military rule. In the eleventh century, William the Conqueror reached the south coast of England with his Norman army and conquered the country from there.
In the next few centuries the Hundred Years War with France followed, as did a number of conflicts between heirs to the throne and ultimately the war between the Church and the Crown. In the 16th century, Henry VIII’s marital problems led to a break with the Roman Catholic Church. Parliament declared him head of the Church of England.
Furthermore, England secured numerous colonies on the American coast, the East India Company as well as Canada and Australia. England developed into an industrial center in the 19th century. Industrial cities sprang up in the Midlands and fueled global trade. Great Britain was the greatest power in the world during the time of Queen Victoria (1837-1901).
During the Second World War, England was one of the Allies and contributed a large part to the victory against the Third Reich. In contrast, more and more colonies such as India, Malaysia and Kenya gained their independence.
Hardly any other story fascinated the media as much as the British royal story, which is why there are numerous film adaptations of the story, including the Netflix series “The Crown”, which deals with the life of the young Queen Elizabeth II, and “Reign”, a series about the life of the young Mary Stewart at the French court, or the most famous series “The Tudors” about the scandalous monarch Henry VIII.
Brighton Festival : (May) The Brighton Festival is an annual festival for all art forms. It has been held in spring since 1965 and is visited by over 500,000 people.
Great Escape Festival : (May) The Great Escape Festival is a three-day music festival with a variety of genres. From rock to hip hop to electronic music, everything is represented.
London Design Festival : (September) Discover the fascinating world of design at the London Design Festival. For a week you will find highlights from design artists from all over the world in various locations in London.
Notting Hill Carnival : (August) The Carnival in Notting Hill, a part of London, is a real experience. With over 1 million visitors, it is the largest street festival in Europe and one of the largest carnivals in the world! This colorful festival will cast its spell over you too.
In addition to the classic Christian holidays like Christmas and Easter, the UK also celebrates a few special holidays. Just as public holidays vary from federal state to federal state in Germany, not all public holidays are celebrated in the same way in England. For example, Saint Patrick’s Day on March 17th is only celebrated in Northern Ireland.
The first Monday in May is the Early May Bank Holiday .
On May 9th, Liberation Day is only celebrated in Guernsey and Jersey .
On the last Monday in May there is still the Spring Bank Holiday for everyone .
On July 5th, Tynwald Day is only celebrated on the Isle of Man . The Isle of Man’s bicameral parliament, whose history dates back to 979, is celebrated here.
Northern Ireland also commemorates the Battle of the Boyne on July 12th, the Battle of the Boyne , in which King William III. of England defeated the former King James II of the House of Stuart and thus conquered the island of Ireland.
In England, Scotland and Wales there will also be an August Bank Holiday celebrated. Here the date varies: in Scotland this day is celebrated on the first Monday in August, in Wales and Enland on the last Monday in August.
When you think of English cuisine, you think of the English Breakfast : the hearty breakfast classically consists of beans, fried or scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon and toast with salted butter. Often there is an orange juice with it. In some variants there is also porridge (oatmeal) or mushrooms.
In general, British cuisine has a reputation for being very fatty and hearty. The most famous dish is probably the fish and chips , fried fish with French fries.
However, British cuisine received influences from around the world through the Commonwealth. A survey in 2001 found that the most popular English dish was Chicken Tikka Masala, a cross-over combination of the Indian dish Chicken Tikka with a typically British, spicy tomato sauce.
Otherwise, cakes such as lemon cake are widespread in England, as are crumbles , apple pie and scones . A scone is a bread-like sweet pastry that is often served with clotted cream and jam
at tea time .
Interesting facts about England
Never push yourself forward! Queuing is very important to the English and huddling ahead is an insult to etiquette. Whether you are at the bus stop, the post office counter or the checkout in the supermarket, watch carefully as the English queue. A certain distance to the person in front has to be kept and when a new till is opened in the supermarket, not everyone rushes to it, but one joins the old lines according to the previous positions.
Don’t stumble into every tourist trap: Of course you want to ride a typical red double-decker bus in London, but you should be prepared for the tourist buses to cost around £ 20. Alternatively, you can just take a public double-decker bus and have a similar experience for around £ 2.
Forget what you learned in Germany. Yes, it may be normal here for you to stand on the left side of the escalator, but in England they say: stand on the right, walk on the left. In general, just keep in mind that in England traffic is always on the left-hand side and act accordingly.
Tips + tricks
In England a conversation can start with the phrase “How do you do?”, To which you can simply answer “I’m fine, thank you.”. The question is often used as an introduction to a conversation; you are not expected to answer exactly how you are.
If you are in a pub with friends or colleagues, there is usually no separate payment. Everyone alternately orders a drink for the entire round.
Even if you’re not a fan of British royals, it would be a violation of etiquette to be the only one to toast to royalty.
Also, if you are driving in the UK, keep in mind that the flasher is not used to give right of way and is not understood as that by the locals.