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England, the largest and most populous portion of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2022Se pop. 68,429,595), 50,334 sq mi (130,365 sq km). It is bounded by Wales and the Irish Sea on the west and Scotland on the north. The English Channel, the Strait of Dover, and the North Sea separate it from the continent of Europe. The Isle of Wight, off the southern mainland in the English Channel, and the Scilly Islands, in the Atlantic Ocean off the southwestern tip of the mainland, are considered part of England. London, the capital of Great Britain, is located in the southeastern portion of England. The Thames and the Severn are the longest rivers.
Behind the white chalk cliffs of the southern coast lie the gently rolling downs and wide plains stretching to the Chiltern Hills and the Cotswold Hills. Along the east coast are the lowlands of Norfolk, reaching up to the Fens, formerly marshy country that has been drained, lining The Wash, an inlet of the North Sea. In the east and southeast, river estuaries lead to some of England's great commercial and industrial centers: London, on the Thames; Hull, on the Humber; Middlesbrough and Stockon-on-Tees, on the Tees; and Newcastle upon Tyne, on the Tyne. The north of England, above the Humber, is mountainous; the chief highlands are the Cumbrian Mts. in the northwest and the Pennines, which run north-south in N central England. The famous Lake District, in the Cumbrians, has England's highest points. The center of England, the Midlands, is a large plain, interrupted and bordered by hills. In the Midlands are the industrial centers of Birmingham and the Black Country. The Midlands, especially its northern edge, was formerly a great coal-mining region. On the Lancashire plain is the great city of Manchester, the center of the English textile industry. Durham and W Yorkshire are also highly industrialized, but E Yorkshire is an area of bleak moors and wolds, and the upper reaches of Northumberland are sparsely populated. In the west and southwest the border with Wales and the peninsula of Devonshire and Cornwall have a hilly, upland terrain. The main ports in the west are Bristol, on the Avon (which flows into Bristol Channel), and Liverpool, on the Mersey. In southern England, the main ports are London, Southampton, and Plymouth.
Despite its northerly latitudes (London is on the same parallel as the easterly tip of Labrador), England has a mild climate, attributable to warm currents in the surrounding seas. Most of the region is subject to much wet weather, and some of it experiences severe cold, but in general the climate is favorable to a wide variety of agricultural and industrial pursuits.
England has 27 administrative counties: Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, and Worcestershire. Nonmetropolitan areas, the counties are further divided into districts. Cornwall, Durham, Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Rutland, Shropshire, and Wiltshire are historical counties that have abandoned the two-tier county council–district council structure for a single-tier unitary council; administratively, they are unitary authorities. The former counties of Avon, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, and Humberside have been dissolved into smaller unitary authorities; these and other areas that were administratively part of the remaining counties are now independent local governing authorities.
From 1974 to 1986 there were also seven metropolitan counties: Greater London, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands, and West Yorkshire; the administrative districts that comprised these counties are now responsible for most local government functions. Greater London consists of the City of London and 32 boroughs and, unlike the other former metropolitan counties, has an elected mayor and assembly. The 39 so-called ancient or geographical counties of England (Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cornwall, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Sussex, Warwickshire, Westmorland, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Yorkshire) typically differ in area from the existing counties even when they share a name with a modern county or unitary authority. Some ancient counties (Sussex and Yorkshire) have been divided into separate counties or counties and other administrative units, while others (Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cheshire, Cumberland, Huntingdonshire, Middlesex, and Westmorland) have been subdivided into smaller administative units.
For the history of England as well as more information on government and economy, see Great Britain.
the administrative and political part and historical center of Great Britain. The name “England” derives from the Angles, the name of a Germanic tribe which settled in Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries. In the broadest sense, the name “England” is often applied to the entire United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
England includes 54 percent of the area and 83 percent of the population of Great Britain. The area is 131,000 sq km; the population, 45.3 million (as of 1966). Administratively, England is divided into 48 counties. It contains more than 70 percent of the cities, six out of seven of the major conurbations (powerful aggregates of towns whose urban structure is interconnected), and 85 percent of the employed industrial workers in Great Britain.
Almost all of the iron ore and two-thirds of the coal mined in Great Britain comes from England. Judging by employment figures, 75 percent of the mining industry of Great Britain is located in England, as is 84 percent of the processing industry. The proportion of British industry located in England is particularly high in the new and developing branches: England has more than 90 percent of the workers in the automotive, aircraft construction, general machine building, and electrical technology (including electronics) industries; about 90 percent of the workers in the chemical and typesetting and printing industries; and more than 90 percent of the workers in oil refining enterprises. The major scientific research centers of the atomic industry—Harwell, Amersham, Aldermaston—are concentrated in England, as are a large number of atomic power plants. A lesser proportion of the older branches of industry is concentrated in England, but it does contain about four-fifths of the textile industry, more than two-thirds of the shipbuilding industry, and three-fourths of the coal industry.
Noted for the development of new branches of the machine building industry are Greater London (which also has a major portion of the clothing, printing, chemical, and food industries) and the western Midlands (where there are also metalworking plants and steel mills). The chief industrial centers of the western Midlands are Birmingham and Coventry. Some of the old textile regions that have a well-developed machine building industry are Lancashire, where cotton goods are manufactured (chief centers, Manchester and Liverpool); Yorkshire, where the woolen industry is concentrated (chief centers, Leeds and Bradford); and Sheffield, which has developed a ferrous metal industry. In the eastern Midlands, where the chief centers (Nottingham and Leicester) have traditionally produced knitted goods and footwear, there are also heavy-machine building plants (in Derby) and ferrous metal plants (in Corby and Scunthorpe). The northeast region (whose chief centers include Newcastle and Middlesbrough) is one of the depressed areas. The coal mining, shipbuilding, ferrous metal, and major chemical industries are concentrated there. Coalfields can be found in all of the industrial regions of England except Greater London.
Two-thirds of the arable land in Great Britain is located in England, where nine-tenths of the nation’s wheat, sugar beets, and barley are grown and two-thirds of the long-horned cattle and one-half of the sheep and poultry are raised.
England has a highly developed transportation network. Its ports—including London, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton, Hull, and Bristol—handle more than four-fifths of Great Britain’s freight traffic.
N. M. POL’SKAIA
In Portugal the feast is known as Día de Corpo de Deus and has been one of the major religious observances—both on the mainland and in the Azores—since medieval times. In the city of Ponta Delgada, on San Miguel in the Azores, the people make a flower-petal carpet almost three-quarters of a mile in length. Over this carpet passes a colorful procession of high-ranking clergy and red-robed priests, who are followed by a group of first communicants (those who are to receive communion for the first time)—the young boys wearing dark suits and scarlet capes and the girls wearing white dresses and veils. The climax of the ceremony comes when the bishop raises the silver monstrance and exposes the Blessed Sacrament, the Body of Christ.
Portuguese National Tourist Office
590 Fifth Ave., 4th Fl.
New York, NY 10036
800-767-8842 or 212-354-4403; fax: 212-764-6137
BkDays-1864, vol. I, p. 686
BkFest-1937, pp. 124, 186, 303
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 156
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 253, 747, 749, 754, 787, 980, 1065
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 131
FestWestEur-1958, pp. 67, 98, 165, 198, 234
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 249
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 346
IntlThFolk-1979, pp. 275, 276
OxYear-1999, p. 633
RelHolCal-2004, p. 96
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 263
Celebrated in: Germany, Mexico, Switzerland, Venezuela
Corpus Christi (England)
Although the feast of Corpus Christi is no longer observed in England, there was a time when the city guilds were involved in processions on this day and often performed what were known as Corpus Christi plays. These were pageants based on a scriptural subject or religious mystery, named after the pagiante, the large, partitioned cart in which they were presented.
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 69
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 133
Corpus Christi (Germany) (Fronleichnamsfest)
The most picturesque of these processions take place in Bavaria, where Corpus Christi is a legal holiday. Some are held on lakes rather than in the streets, with flower-decked boats carrying members of the procession and worshippers across crystal clear waters. The processions at Lake Staffelsee and Lake Chiemsee in Upper Bavaria are among the most dramatic.
German National Tourist Office
122 E. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10168
800-651-7010 or 212-661-7200; fax: 212-661-7174
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 137
FestWestEur-1958, p. 67
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 346
Celebrated in: Germany
Corpus Christi (Mexico)
Another spectacle that takes place on Corpus Christi is the Danza de los Voladores, or Flying Pole Dance, performed by the Totonac Indians in Papantla in Veracruz State. Four dancers dressed as birds stand on a small platform atop a 70-foot tree that has been stripped of its branches. By carefully winding ropes around the tree and around themselves, they are able to hurl themselves into space and circle the tree 13 times before landing on the ground feet first. The four dancers multiplied by the 13 circles equals 52, the number of years in the ancient Aztec calendar cycle. Other versions of the Flying Pole Dance are performed in Pahuatlan and Cuetzalan, Puebla State.
Religious processions are common in Mexico on Corpus Christi, as is the reposiar, a small shrine or altar set up along the procession's path, covered with a lace-trimmed altar cloth and decorated with candles, flowers, and garlands. As the priest makes his rounds of the village, he stops at each of these shrines and gives his benediction. Local tradespeople set up a "mock" market along the path of the procession at which they display miniature objects of their trade. A builder, for example, makes doll houses, while restaurant owners serve small portions of food in miniature dishes and weavers make tiny blankets. The inch-long breads made by the bakers are used by the children as money to buy other miniature wares.
See also Moors and Christians Fiesta
Mexico Tourism Board
21 E. 63rd St., Fl. 3
New York, NY 10021
800-446-3942 or 212-821-0314; fax: 212-821-0367
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 70
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 253, 749
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 275
Celebrated in: Mexico
Corpus Christi (Switzerland) (Fronleichnamsfest)
In Fribourg, people decorate their houses with Gobelins (tapestries) as the bishop of Fribourg carries the Holy Sacrament through the streets. In the cantons of Appenzell, the processions include women in native costume, Capuchin monks in their robes, and young girls with white dresses and wreaths of flowers in their hair.
It is customary to throw the church doors open on Corpus Christi and to decorate the altar and aisles with garlands and greens. Outdoor village altars with flowers and candles are often erected in secluded places.
608 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10020
877-794-8037 or 212-757-5944; fax: 212-262-6116
FestWestEur-1958, p. 234
Celebrated in: Switzerland
Corpus Christi (Venezuela)
The devil dancers are welcomed with a blast of fireworks at nine o'clock on the morning of the feast. Spectators gather in the Plaza Bolívar, waiting as the drumbeats become increasingly louder. Then more than 1,000 devils appear, disguised in red garments and horrible-looking masks from which protrude both the horn and the snout of an animal, usually an ox or a pig. Each dancer holds one or more maracas in his right hand and a thin rod from which dangles a small sack in his left. Cowbells and rattles are tied to each dancer's waist, and the noise they make as they leap around and shake the maracas can be deafening.
The appearance of the Sacred Host in the doorway of the church is a sign that the procession around the plaza is about to begin. The devils dance about in a frenzy, while the man at the head of the procession acts as if he is beating them with the whip he carries. When the Sacred Host is taken back to its sanctuary, the devils start crying and attempt to enter the church, but they are shut out. They become increasingly frantic, until finally they fall on their knees and toss their horned masks on the ground as a gesture admitting their defeat.
After the dance is over, the devils go to their leader's house, where everyone dances the bamba, a traditional dance of Spanish origin.
Venezuelan Tourism Department
7 E. 51st St.
New York, NY 10022
212-826-1660; fax: 212-644-7471
FiestaTime-1965, p. 105
Celebrated in: Venezuela
This day has been in the Christian calendar even longer than Easter. And although it was neglected for a long time by Protestant churches, Good Friday has again come into almost universal observance by Christians. From noon to three o'clock many western Christian churches in the U.S. hold the Tre Ore (Italian for "three hours," referring to the last three hours Jesus hung on the cross), a service based on the last seven things Jesus said on the cross. Many churches also observe the day by reenacting the procession to the cross as in the ritual of the Stations of the Cross.
In every Orthodox church, the Epitaphios, a gold-embroidered pall representing the body of Christ, is laid on a special platform, which is smothered in flowers. During the evening service, the platform is carried out of the church in a procession. The faithful follow, carrying lighted candles and chanting hymns. At squares and crossroads, the procession stops for a prayer by the priest.
Long Friday is another name for Good Friday. In Norway, this day is called Langfredag ; in Finland, Pitkäperjantai (or Long Friday) because it was a day of suffering for Christ.
See also Pleureuses, Ceremony of
Orthodox Church in America
P.O. Box 675
Syosset, NY 11791
516-922-0550; fax: 516-922-0954
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 237
BkFest-1937, pp. 6, 16, 30, 41, 56, 70, 86, 96, 103, 112, 121, 147, 167, 184, 211, 227, 249, 259, 275, 291, 300, 309, 330, 338
DaysCustFaith-1957, p. 107
DictFolkMyth-1984, pp. 181, 961, 1072
EncyEaster-2002, p. 234
EncyRel-1987, vol. 3, p. 439
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 62
FestWestEur-1958, pp. 8, 93, 107, 152, 212
FolkAmerHol-1999, p. 168
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 224
OxYear-1999, p. 618
RelHolCal-2004, pp. 93, 120
SaintFestCh-1904, p. 160
Celebrated in: Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, England and Wales, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Malawi, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Niue, Northern Ireland, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Georgia, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Good Friday (Belgium) (Goede Vrijdag)
In Veurne, there is a pilgrims' procession that stops before each of the 18 Stations of the Cross, built there in 1680, to pray and sing hymns. The distance between the different stations is said to correspond to the number of steps (5,751) taken by Christ as he went from Jerusalem to Mount Calvary. The original Stations of the Cross were sites associated with Christ's Passion in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Pictures or carvings of the Stations of the Cross can often be seen on the walls of Roman Catholic churches.
Belgian Tourist Office
220 E. 42nd St., Ste. 3402
New York, NY 10017
212-758-8130; fax: 212-355-7675
BkFest-1937, p. 41
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 54
FestWestEur-1958, p. 8
Celebrated in: Belgium
Good Friday (Bermuda)
Breakfast on Easter is another Bermudian tradition. It consists of salted cod that has been soaked overnight and then boiled the next day with potatoes. It is served with an olive oil and mayonnaise topping, and sliced bananas on the side.
Bermuda Department of Tourism
675 Third Ave., Fl. 20
New York, NY 10017
800-223-6106 or 212-818-9800; fax: 212-983-5289
BkHolWrld-1986, Apr 10
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 226
Celebrated in: Bermuda
Good Friday (England)
Other Good Friday superstitions include the belief that breaking a piece of crockery on Good Friday would bring good luck because the sharp point would penetrate Judas Iscariot's body. In rural areas, boys often hunted squirrels on this day, because according to legend, Judas was turned into a squirrel.
BkFest-1937, p. 56
EncyEaster-2002, p. 178
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 63
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 241
Good Friday (Italy)
At Santa Croce and other churches in Florence, a custom known as "Thrashing Judas Iscariot" traditionally has been observed on Good Friday. Young boys bring long willow rods tied with colored ribbons to church and at a certain point in the service, they beat the benches loudly with the branches.
Italian Government Tourist Board
630 Fifth Ave., Ste. 1565
New York, NY 10111
212-245-5618; fax: 212-586-9249
BkFest-1937, p. 184
EncyEaster-2002, p. 313
FestSaintDays-1915, p. 64
FestWestEur-1958, p. 93
Celebrated in: Italy
Good Friday (Mexico) (Viernes Santo)
The funereal atmosphere is maintained throughout the day. Running, shouting, or using profanity is discouraged, in reverence for the Lord. The mood of those attending church services is very much that of friends and neighbors paying a condolence call on the members of a bereaved family.
See also Passion Play at Tzintzuntzan
BkFest-1937, p. 227
EncyEaster-2002, pp. 240, 406
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 235
Celebrated in: Mexico
Good Friday (Poland) (Wielki Piatek)
In Krakow and other large cities, going from church to church on Good Friday to view the replicas of Jesus' body that are on display traditionally is considered to be an important social event.
See also Easter in the Ukraine
BkFest-1937, p. 259
EncyEaster-2002, p. 500
Celebrated in: Poland
Good Friday (Spain)
In Seville, the Good Friday procession dates back to the Middle Ages and includes more than 100 pasos, many of which are elaborate works of art in themselves, with platforms made out of real silver and figures wearing robes embroidered in gold. Among the more outstanding pasos are those portraying the Agony in the Garden, Christ Bearing the Cross, the Crucifixion, and the Descent from the Cross. They are carried by black-robed penitents through the streets of Seville, followed by cross-bearers, uniformed civic leaders, and clergy in magnificent robes.
Tourist Office of Spain
666 Fifth Ave., 35th Fl.
New York, NY 10103
212-265-8822; fax: 212-265-8864
BkFest-1937, p. 300
BkFestHolWrld-1970, p. 54
EncyEaster-2002, pp. 240, 565
Celebrated in: Spain
Queen's Day (England)
The anniversary of her coronation was celebrated for more than 300 years after her reign ended, primarily as a holiday for those working in government offices. After the Gunpowder Plot was exposed in 1605, two years following Elizabeth's death, the day was marked by anti-papal demonstrations, which included burning the pope in effigy. Queen Elizabeth's Day eventually merged with the celebration of Guy Fawkes Day.
The British Monarchy Official Web Site
London, SW1A 1AA United Kingdom
AnnivHol-2000, p. 192
DictDays-1988, p. 93
OxYear-1999, p. 466