Let us celebrate
We are glad that you have enjoyed the first article in this series, the one about film festivals in the capital city of the United Kingdom. This one will be dedicated to another important aspect in the British culture and life style: the ceremonies and traditions in London. Fortunately, many of them have been kept and celebrated for more than 1.000 years, thus turning the Londoners into a respectable and traditional people. Many visitors come to London on those particular dates, to be witness and part of the most important ceremonies and traditions. They are all beautiful, unique and representative for the glorious past and present of the capital of the United Kingdom.
We can start with the Changing of the Guard. It takes place during the summer months (between April and July) on a daily basis, so it is perfect for that mass of visitors that decide to enjoy of London during the warmest period, and also in the other part of the year, but much rarely. The Changing of the Guard takes place exclusively in royal locations that are situated either in London or in its surroundings. The most popular are: Buckingham Palace (London, SW1A 1AA) – the ceremony lasts for 45 minutes and it takes place at 11.30 am; St James’s Palace (Marlborough Rd, London, SW1A 1BS) – the event takes place only if the Chancing of the Guard happens at the Buckingham Palace; Horse Guards Parade (The Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2AX) – a 25 minute celebration, happening around 10 am; and Windsor Castle (Windsor, Windsor and Maidenhead, SL4).
Another beautiful celebration is the so called Trooping the Colour. It takes place during the Horse Guards Parade, at Whitehall and it is dedicated to the Queen of England. Often considered the celebration of the year in London, it represents her official anniversary. Although her Majesty’s birthday is in April, the British people respected the old tradition that requires a summer day celebration. It all started in the year 1748, when the changing of the flags that was meant for the soldiers, also became the Sovereign’s birthday celebration. All of the members of the Royal family participate and the Horse Guards Parade and also a special Royal Air Force (RAF) moment take place in honour of the Queen. If you want to be present, there is a fee that you have to pay for the ticket. For a seat right in the middle of the event, you have to actually send a hand written letter to Whitehall.
However, the date of birth of the Queen is also celebrated on the 21st of April. In her Majesty’s honour there is a tradition called The Queen’s Birthday Gun Salutes. It takes place in Hyde Park, Windsor Great Park and at the Tower of London, implying more than 120 gun shots salutes. Other remarkable celebrations that you should not miss in this beautiful capital city of the United Kingdom are the following: State Opening of Parliament (it is very important as this is the moment when the Queen holds a speech that regards the future political policies), Lord Mayor’s Show (an 800 years tradition dedicated to the Lord Mayor, involving thousands of people, performers and decorations), Ceremony of the Keys (takes place every evening at the Tower of London and you can enjoy it for free) and Maundy Money (a beautiful and moving celebration that takes place a day prior to Good Friday).