The English culture is one of Europe's oldest and most influential cultures. England, which is a country within the United Kingdom, concerns the study of the past of this country which was inhabited by Neanderthals 230,000 years ago. After the last glacial period, the human habitation began within the territorial limits of what is now known as England. People began to settle here around 12,000 years ago. Even today, there are remains from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age, especially in places like Stonehenge and Avebury. In the Iron Age, England was inhabited by the Celts(or Britons) along with some Belgae tribes.
The modern history of England tells that Wales was conquered by England in the 12th century. In the early 18th century England, Wales and Scotland were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. After the Industrial revolution, Great Britain had held its sway over a worldwide Empire, the largest in the world. However, following the decolonization in the 20th century, most of the empire became independent. The English culture still has proved to be one of the most important cultures of the world and continues to impact many countries of the present day.
A traditional English meal is not only delicious, it is nutritious as well. One of the most famous and typical English dish is fish and chips. Fish like cod, plaice or skate are fried in batter and eaten with fried potato chips. The English breakfast typically consists of fried eggs and bacon served with sausage, fried tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms, black pudding and bread. Another famous English savory is the Sunday roast. Beef, pork, lamb or chicken is roasted and is served with roast potatoes and other vegetables. The Yorkshire pudding is a common and favorite desert of the English people.
There are also some typical regional dishes in England, like, the minced meat pies are served with mashed potatoes and gravy or parsley sauce. Winkles, prawns, cockles, whelks and jellied eels are also eaten in England.
Being very much a western society, the English people wear mostly the outfits of modern western society, like, jeans and tee shirts in casual occasions and business suits for office work. For the winter, which is very cold here, people prefer to wear heavy overcoats or anoraks. However, it should be always kept in mind that Britain is a multi-cultural society and certain cities like Bradford do even have stores for different ethnic clothes of different culture!
When it comes to traditions, England is predominantly a secular country and thus has all the flavors of different traditions from all parts of the world mixed together. The Christian Church of England, however, plays a very important role in the affairs of state. Even many non-churchgoing English people cite their religion as Church of England. In the census of 2001, 35 million people out of the population of 49 million was identified as Christians, signifying Christianity to be the main religion of England with over 1.5 million Muslims, 500,000 Hindus and 300,000 Sikhs.
Good Friday, Christmas and New Year are some very important festivals of England. Other famous events in English culture are: Easter, Easter Monday, May Day Bank Holiday, Spring Bank Holiday and Boxing Day.
There are also other popular events that are celebrated with equal enthusiasm throughout the country, like, Pancake Day Race (on Shrove Tuesday), Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race (held in late March or early April), May Morning ceremony on the 1st of May, Flower parade, in early May, the Great Autumn Flower show(in mid September), Horse of the Year show etc.