Some London traditions

British people are well known for their love for tradition and for combining it perfectly with the elements of modern life. In London these traditions consolidated in over 2,000 years of history, and many started hundreds of years ago. The customs, festivals, ceremonies and other colours of one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world are present in the routine and soul of its inhabitants, and probably will exist a long time ahead. It would be impossible to summarize all of them in a single post, so we’re presenting you a few suggestions of traditions you can see in London, and hope to expand the information later.

Lord Mayor’s Show

It’s one of the longest established and best known annual events in London which dates back to 1215, when King John granted a charter allowing the citizens of London to elect their own mayor. The event is a street parade which in its modern form is a fairly light-hearted combination of traditional British pageantry and elements of carnival. Every year around November 9th, thousands of people crowd the streets to see marching bands, horses and carriages.
lord mayor's show london

Changing the Guard

Also called Guard Mounting, It’s a ceremony outside Buckingham Palace, involving a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard. The guard is changed daily at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle from April to July. From August to March, the guard is changed at both sites on alternate days.

Guy Fawkes Night

Cerebrated on November 5th, it remembers the Guy Fawkes, who planned the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The plan was to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England’s Parliament on 5 November 1605, but it failed and Guy Fawkes was arrested. Celebrating the fact that King James I had survived the attempt on his life, people lit bonfires around London. The celebration also includes lighting and blowing up of fireworks, costume parties and typical food.
guy fawkes night london

Learn more

If you want to know more about these traditions and how it influenced your own culture, the best way is to live there. By taking one of the many English language courses offered in London you can hear from locals about their favourite traditions and the best ways to experience them. So, just make a list of celebrations, choose a English school in London and get ready for a great time of learning and fun!

Pictures, thanks to:

  • Mike Harre, http://www.flickr.com/people/mike_harre/
  • S. Pakhrin, http://www.flickr.com/people/kathmandu/