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Holidays in the English-Speaking Countries

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  • 1. HOLIDAYS IN GREAT BRITAIN There are fewer public holidays in Great Britain than in other European countries. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday and Summer Bank Holiday. Public holidays in Britain are called bankholidays, because the banks as well as most of the offices and shops are closed. The most popular holiday is Christmas. Every year the people of Norway give the city of London apresent. Its a pWrapPolygonVertices8;21;(12488,732);(6412,1831);(5738,2197);(7088,6590);(5062,6956);(1688,10983);(1688,12447);(-338,13546);(0,16841);(4050,18305);(4050,19769);(7425,21234);(10462,21234);(11812,21234);(15525,21234);(20925,19403);(21600,14644);(16875,12447);(14850,2563);(13838,732);(12488,732)wzTooltipEasterposrelh3posrelv3fAllowOverlap1fBehindDocument1fIsButton1fLayoutInCell1big Christmas tree and it stands in Trafalgar Square. Central streets are beautifully decorated. BeforeChristmas, groups of singers go from house to house. They collect money for charity and sing carols,traditional Christmas songs. Many churches hold a carol service on the Sunday before Christmas. Thefun starts the night before, on the 24th of December. Traditionally this is the day when people decoratetheir trees. Children hang stockings at the end of their beds, hoping that Father Christmas will comedown the chimney during the night and fill them with toys and sweets. Christmas is a family holiday.Relatives usually meet for the big Christmas dinner of turkey and Christmas pudding. And everyonegives and receives presents. The 26th of December, Boxing Day, is an extra holiday after ChristmasDay. This is the time to visit friends and relatives or perhaps sit at home and watch football.New Years Day is less popular in Britain than Christmas. But in Scotland, Hogmanay is the biggestfestival of the year.Besides public holidays there are some special festivals in Great Britain. One of them takes place on the5th of November. On that day, in 1605, Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament and killKing James 1. He didnt succeed. The Kings men found the bomb, took Guy Fawkes to the Tower andcut off his head. Since that day the British celebrate the 5th of November. They bum a dummy, made ofstraw and old clothes, on a bonfire and let off fireworks. HOLIDAYS IN THE USA The population of the USA is made up of people of different nationalities. Centuries ago theybrought with them their native celebrations. Some holidays, which are marked in the United States,originated in America. Most American holidays are not religious, but commemorative in nature and origin.The number of holidays is different in different states - from 8 in the District of Columbia to 20 inOklahoma. But the most important holidays are celebrated throughout the USA. Ten holidays per year areproclaimed by the federal government. They are: 1. NEW YEAR S DAY (January 1); 2. MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY (traditional - January 15, official - third Monday in January) 3. GEORGE W ASHINGTON ’ S BIRTHDAY (traditional - February 22, official - third Mondayin February); 4. MEMORIAL DAY (traditional - May 30, official - last Monday in May); 5. INDEPENDENCE DAY (July 4) 6. LABOUR DAY (first Monday in September), 7. COLUMBUS DAY (traditional - October 12, official - second Monday in October); 8. VETERANS DAY (traditional - November 11, official - second Monday in November); 9. THANKSGIVING DAY (fourth Thursday in November): 10. CHRISTMAS (December 25). In 1971, the dates of many federal holidays were officially moved to the nearest Monday byPresident Richard Nixon Many Americans think of 2 religious holidays - Easter and Christmas - as the mostimportant celebrations of the year. On New Years Day people see the old year off and the New Year in. A favourite place to see the oldyear out is New York Citys Time Square. Most people stay up all night, even children. At midnight many people go outside and shout "HappyNew Year"! Some people set off fireworks and blow automobile horns which are heard everywhere. Washingtons birthday is m a r k e d o n F e b r u a r y 2 2. Ge o r g e Washington led theAmerican Army to victory in the War for Independence. Later he was elected President of the United Statesand was in office for 8 years. The national capital of United States, a state and several towns are named afterGeorge Washington. Memorial Day honours the nations armed services killed in wartime. The holiday, originallycalled Decoration Day, is traditionally marked by parades, memorial speeches and ceremonies, and thedecoration of graves with flowers and flags. Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, on the order ofGeneral John Alexander Logan for the purpose of decorating the graves of the American Civil War dead.One of the greatest holidays is Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independencewas signed in Philadelphia. It proclaimed independence of thirteen British colonies from Great Britain. July 4 hasbecome the greatest holiday since. In the past this day was marked with big parades and fireworks, but now it iscelebrated more quietly. Cities and towns are decorated with flags on that day, there are parades on some places,but most people just go on picnics to the countryside. Family picnics and outings are a feature of privateFourth of July celebrations.Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. Peter McGuire, the president of the firstLabour union in the USA, which started in 1869, chose September 5, 1882, for the first Labour Day. On thisday workers make a public show with marches, meetings and picnics honouring all the workers in the US. It alsomarks the beginning of school year and the end of summer. On Columbus Day Americans remember that Christopher Columbus reached America on October 12th,1492. For Italian-Americans this is a very special holiday. Columbus sailed for the Spanish king, but he was in
  • 2. fact an Italian. The biggest celebrations are in New York City, with huge parades through the streets. Veterans Day is a solemn occasion in honour of all American veterans of all wars. In manycommunities veterans march in parades, national flags are displayed, special ceremonies, observing twominutes silence, are held at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Thanksgiving Day, a legal holiday in the U.S., was first celebrated in early colonial times in NewEngland. The actual origin is probably the harvest festivals that are traditional in many parts of the world. Afterthe first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists in 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed aday of thanksgiving. Christmas is an annual festival, held on December 25, to celebrate the Nativity, or birth of Christ.The Christmas tree, an evergreen trimmed with lights and other decorations, is derived from the so-calledparadise tree, symbolizing Eden.