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Professor Culture

Professor Angela Webster answers to your questions about British Culture.
Miriam Diaz from Cordoba in Argentina asks: "I recently discovered that Friday the 13th is unlucky in Britain. For us, it is Tuesday the 13th! What other superstitions are there in Britain?"
Professor Culture replies: well, thirteen is an unlucky number because it comes after 12 a very lucky number. A lot of buildings don’t have a 13th floor and some airplanes don’t have seats with number 13! Some other things which bring good or bad luck are:
* Black cats in Britain, to see a black cat brings good luck, but in some countries it brings bad luck.
* A broken mirror a broken mirror brings you bad luck for seven years. Take it out of the house and don’t look at it!
* Touching wood this doesn’t bring good luck but it stops bad luck. We do it when we are talking about good things. For example, we say, ‘I’m doing well at school, touch wood’.
* A rabbit’s foot this bring good luck but it is not very lucky for the rabbit!
* Spilling salt this bring bad luck. To stop the bad luck, throw some of it over your left shoulder and make a wish!
Soffia Varga from Budapest in Hungary asks: "In books and films, British people are often very formal. Is this true?"
Professor Culture replies: no it’s not! In the past, British people were very formal but now they are more informal. However, some things are important:
* Wait in queues. British people get very angry when people ‘jump’ queues!
* Always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when you ask for and receive things.
* Don’t ask personal questions like ‘How much money do you earn?’ or ‘How old are you?’

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