Most part of the traditions in London is associated with the royal household. Some of them date back to the Middle Ages, to the days of absolutism. These traditions have already lost their original meaning, but gained the new one and are strictly obeyed up to this days.

The royal ceremonies. Nowadays the real power in the United Kingdom belongs to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and the role of the monarch is mostly ceremonial. The main residence of the Queen — Buckingham Palace — is always guarded. Changing of the guard is a colorful show which draws attention of the tourists. It takes place to the music and the military commands; during changing of the Guard the guards from the so-called «old guard» hand over positions to the «new guard». When the Queen is in the palace the guard comprised of three officers and 40 guards, but when she is not — of 3 officers and 31 guards. The ceremony takes place in the public eye, in the front of the palace.

Changing of the Guard can also be seen in front of the Household Cavalry in the Tower. One of the oldest in London, is the ceremony of handing over the keys to the Tower of London. First of all the gates of the fortress are closed according to the established procedure, and then to the sound of pipe the keys shall be passed for keeping to the so-called Queen’s House. According to the fixed dates (birthdays of the members of the royal family) the royal salutes are made: 41 volley — in Hyde Park at noon and 62 volley — in the Tower in 1 p.m. The most important of the ceremonials is the carrying out of the flag and the parade on the Queen’s birthday. Queen views the parade, after which the guards accompany her to the Buckingham Palace, where they again hold a march in front of her. It is best to observe these celebrations on the Household Cavalry ground from the side of the St James’ Park.

The colorful ceremony of the Parliament opening can be seen on television, because it is closed to the public. Every year, usually in November, the queen comes to the House of Lords and with the throne speech opens the regular session of both chambers.

Military celebration. In Remembrance Sunday people lay wreathes at the Cenotaph on the Whitehall Street — a monument

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to the fallen in the two world wars and more recent military conflicts. The parade down the Mall street on the Navy Day is usually finished with the solemn service at Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square.

Ceremony in the City. The most important of them are in November. During so-called Silent ceremony at Guildhall, City Hall, the newly elected Lord Mayor of the City takes the signs of his dignity from his predecessor. The next day is the Lord Mayor’s representation to citizens — a colorful procession with music and drumming. Lord Mayor travels in a gilded carriage, accompanied by the royal musketeers and soldiers, as well as platforms on which the scenes are played out. The route includes the Mansion House (the residence of the Lord Mayor), St Paul’s Cathedral and the House of Justice, but it begins and ends up at the Guildhall.

Many of the ceremonies in the City are related to the activities of guilds. Among them — the Day of vintners and winemakers (harvest festival), service on the occasion of the Day of cakes and ale in the Cathedral of St. Paul, the ceremony staged by printers and booksellers. On this day, guests are treated to cakes and ale.

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