The British institution that leaves the rest of the world baffled

The centuries-old institution of pantomime might be an annual favourite in Britain but it has left some mystified.

British culture is unique – there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world.

From our sense of humour to our unending willingness to queue, the quirks that keep Britain running are truly a mystery to foreigners.

And one British phenomenon has been the subject of immense confusion online. Seemingly, non-Brits just cannot wrap their heads around the enduring tradition of pantomimes.

When a curious Brit took to social media, asking what British institutions people would struggle to explain to non-Brits, one answer kept cropping up.

Posted to online forum site Reddit, the user asked: “What ‘British’ things do you struggle to explain to someone who is not British?”

Read more: Man regrets threesome, girlfriend insists on another with pal ‘built like Thor’ [LATEST]

They then added: “I travel for work a lot and often find myself talking to people who are not from the UK. Often I have to go into great detail about things that I would class as ‘British’ but it does not always land.”

They then asked fellow Redditors for their contributions. Although a host of answers were given, one answer reigned supreme above the rest – the great British pantomime.

A chaotic display that bamboozles any non-Brits who come across it, the pantomime is a staple for British families at Christmas.

One user shared their experience of attempting to explain the panto and said: “I remember trying to explain it to a Spanish flatmate and with every statement he became more and more convinced I was taking the p***.”

Foreigners themselves added to the discussion, expressing their confusion. One wrote: “Canadian here, don’t understand it.

Don’t miss…
British expat moans about life in Spain as they’re left craving a ‘good curry’ [MORE]
The pretty European region so remote British tourists barely know it exists [REVEAL]
Spanish town that has an entire festival dedicated to poking fun at Brits [INSIGHT]

SUBSCRIBE Invalid email

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. Read our Privacy Policy

“Had a look at the Wikipedia entry for it, it mentioned like half a dozen places across Canada where you might be able to see one, compared to pretty much every single town in the UK.”

However, even Brits confessed to not fully understanding the pantomime phenomenon, with one comment reading: “I don’t think I could explain it to another Brit, let alone someone else.”

Another chimed in: “I understand what panto is but I never understood why it is.”

That said, every British person was united in their love for the silly performances and relished in the opportunity to share their favourite aspects of pantomime culture.

Apparently, the confusion they cause is part of the fun, with one user writing: “The plots are gibberish but we laugh like drains.”


    Another favourite characteristic was the array of TV stars that grace the pantomime stage every year. One comment described them as “Z-list ex-celebrities desperately trying to stay in the public eye.”

    The pantomime was not the only British treasure to prompt confusion, and the national dish was also placed in the firing line.

    A comment discussing the reaction to fish and chips, said: “We had some visitors from our German office last year, and we took them to a pub for fish and chips.

    “They were all baffled by mushy peas. One of them thought it was guacamole.”

    While pie, as a concept, also seemed to evoke confusion. One commenter said: “Pie. Apple Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Steak and Onion Pie. All pie, all different, and no one gets them mixed up.”

    Related articles

    • I love old British seaside resorts – they need cash to stop them dying
    • American who moved to London lists crazy differences in British lifestyle habits
    • Top uni bans ‘offensive’ National Anthem as woke students all make one comment
    • Multi-millionaire chain Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin’s life story laid bare
    • British tourists warned to stop annoying common flight habit


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *