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English topics / GREAT BRITAIN.doc
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12. Complete the table. Use all the texts in this section to help you. Speak about the British political system.

13. Each country in Britain has its own patron saint and floral emblem. What are Britain’s National Emblems? What are the Symbols of England, Scotland and Wales? Read these texts and discuss them with your group-mates.

Each part of the United Kingdom has its own Saint's Day:

St. David

St Patrick

St. George

St. Andrew

How is each National Day Celebrated in London?

A. 1 March, St. David's Day, is the national day of Wales.

St David's Day is celebrated in Wales on 1 March, in honour of Dewi Sant or St David, the patron saint of Wales. He was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century. He spread the word of Christianity across Wales.

The most famous story about Saint David tells how he was preaching to a huge crowd and the ground is said to have risen up, so that he was standing on a hill and everyone had a better chance of hearing him.

On St David's Day, some children in Wales dress in their national costume, which consists of a tall black hat, white frilled cap and long dress. The national flag of Wales, depicting a fiery red dragon against a green and white background, is also flown.

The national flower of Wales is the daffodil, which is traditionally worn on St. David’s Day. The vegetable called leek is also considered to be a traditional emblem of Wales.

There are many explanations of how the leek came to be adopted as the national emblem of Wales. One is that St David advised the Welsh, on the eve of battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps to distinguish friend from foe. As Shakespeare records in Henry V, the Welsh archers wore leeks at the battle of Agincourt in 1415.

B. 17 March, St. Patrick's Day, is the national day of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland.

Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Born in Britain, he was carried off by pirates and spent six years in slavery before escaping and training as a missionary. The national flower of Northern Ireland is the shamrock, a three-leaved plant similar to clover. An Irish tale tells of how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. He used it in his sermons to represent how the

Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit could all exist as separate elements of the same entity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

C. 23 April, St. George's Day, is the national day of England

A story dating back to the 6th century tells that St George rescued a maiden by slaying a fearsome fire-breathing dragon. The Saint's name was shouted as a battle cry by English knights who fought beneath the red-cross banner of St George during the Hundred Years War (1338-1453). Some people wear a red rose on St Georges Day.

The flower has been adopted as England’s emblem since the time of the Wars of the Roses - civil wars (1455-1485) between the royal house of Lancaster (whose emblem was a red rose) and the royal house of York (whose emblem was a white rose).


. Scotland - St. Andrew - the Thistle and Scottish Bluebell

The national flower of Scotland is the thistle, a prickly-leaved purple flower which was first used in the 15th century as a symbol of defence. The Scottish Bluebell is also seen as the flower of Scotland.

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