Holidays and Traditions in the UK.

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Holidays and Traditions in the UK.

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Holidays and Traditions in the UK.

  1. 1. Halloween means “holy evening”, and takes place on 31st October. It was begun by the Celts over 2000 years ago. People believed that ghosts and witches came out on that night. These beliefs were not encouraged by the church, but the festival wasn’t abandoned. The Irish lit lanterns and candles to keep the ghosts away and wore costumes and masks to frighten them. People travelled from village to village and asked for food. They believed that any village that didn’t give food would have bad luck.
  2. 2.  These customs were brought to the USA in the nineteenth century by Irish immigrants. Although it is much more important festival in the United States than in Britain, it is celebrated by many people in the UK. It is particularly connected with witches and ghosts.
  3. 3.  At parties people dress up in strange costumes and pretend they are witches. Children dressed in white sheets knock on doors at Halloween and ask if you would like a ‘trick’ or a ‘treat’ (проказа или угощение). If you give them something nice, a ‘treat’, they go away. However, if you don’t, they play a ‘trick’ on you, such as making a lot of noise or spilling flour on your front doorstep!
  4. 4. GUY FAWKES’NIGHT.  In 1605 King James I was on the throne. As a Protestant, he was very unpopular with Roman Catholics. Some of them planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament on the 5th November of that year, when the King was going to open Parliament. Under the House of Lords they stored thirty– six barrels of gunpowder, which were to be exploded by a man called Guy Fawkes. However, one of the plotters spoke about these plans and Fawkes was arrested and later hanged.
  5. 5. GUY FAWKES’ NIGHT.  Since that day the English traditionally celebrate 5th November by burning a dummy, made of straw and old clothes, on a bonfire, at the same time letting of fireworks. This dummy is called a ‘guy’ (like Guy Fawkes).
  6. 6. CHRISTMAS.  Christmas is the most important festival of the year, it combines the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ with the traditional festivities of winter.  Christmas is a very special time for all families in the world. This is a time for having fun, for sending and receiving Christmas cards, for family gatherings.  There are a lot of traditions connected with Christmas but perhaps the most important one is the giving of presents. Family members wrap up their gifts and leave them under the Christmas tree to be found on Christmas morning.
  7. 7.  . Children leave a long stocking at the end of their beds on Christmas Eve, 24th December, hoping that Father Christmas will come down the chimney during the night and bring them small presents, fruit and nuts. At some time on Christmas Day the family will sit down to a big turkey dinner followed by Christmas pudding. They will probably pull a cracker. It will make a loud crack and a coloured hat or a small toy will fall out.
  8. 8.  Later in the afternoon they may watch the Queen's speech on television and enjoy a piece of Christmas cake or eat a hot mince pie. 26th December is also a public holiday, Boxing Day, and this is the time to visit friends and relatives.
  9. 9. BOXING DAY.  In Britain Boxing Day is celebrated on the following day after Christmas Day, which is 26th December.  Boxing Day is a public holiday. It means that it is a typically a non working day in the whole country.  Traditionally 26th December was the day to open the Christmas box to share the contents with the poor.
  10. 10.  New Year’s Eve is a more important festival in Scotland than it is in England, and it even has a special name.  It is not clear where the word ‘Hogmanay’ comes from, but it is connected with the provision of food and drink for all visitotrs to your home on 31st December.
  11. 11.  It was believed that the first person to visit one’s house on New Year’s Day could bring good or bad luck.  Usually a dark – complexioned man was chosen, and never a woman, for she would bring bad luck.  The first footer was required to carry three articles: a piece of coal to wish warmth, a piece of bread to wish food, and a silver coin to wish wealth. In parts of northern England this pleasing custom is still observed.
  12. 12. ST. VALENTINE'S DAY  St. Valentine’s Day has roots in several different legends that have found their way to us through the ages.  Three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, the Roman emperors still demanded that everyone believe in the Roman gods. Valentine, a Christian priest, had been thrown in prison for his teachings.  On February 14, Valentine was beheaded, not only because he was a Christian, but also because he had performed a miracle. He supposedly cured the jailer’s daughter of her blindness. The night before he was executed, he wrote the jailer’s daughter a farewell letter, signing it, “ From Your Valentine.”  Another legend tell s us that this same Valentine, well-loved by all, wrote notes from his jail cell to children and friends who missed him.
  13. 13. ST. VALENTINE'S DAY  St. Valentine’s Day is now a day for sweethearts. It is the day that you show your friend or loved one that you care. You can send candy to someone you think is special. Or you can send roses, the flower of love. Most people send “valentines,” a greeting card named after the notes that St. Valentine wrote from jail.
  14. 14.  There are many other traditions and superstitions associated with romance activities on Valentine's day including:  the first man an unmarried woman saw on 14th February would be her future husband;  if the names of all a girl's suitors were written on paper and wrapped in clay and the clay put into water, the piece that rose to the surface first would contain the name of her husband-to-be.  if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a rich person.  In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week.  In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
  15. 15.  Imagine you are in a medium – sized English town. The market place is full of noise. You hear the sound of music, at least one accordion, a drum, tin whistle and fiddle. As you come closer you see an interesting sight.
  16. 16.  There are some men dressed in white clothes but decorated in the strangest way with bright ribbons, flowers and small bells. They dance, leaping into the air, stamping their feet, and perform the most complicated pattern of movements. They perform a morris dance and what they are doing is anything up to eight hundred years old.
  17. 17. SHROVE TUESDAY (PANCAKE DAY)  The name Shrove comes from the old word ‘shrive’ which means to confess. In Middle Ages people used to confess their sins so that they were forgiven before the season of Lent began. They took their last opportunity to eat up all the rich foods prohibited during Lent. Thus all eggs, butter and fat remaining in the house were made into pancakes, hence the festival’s usual nickname of Pancake Day.  In the UK, Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day because it is the day of the year when almost everybody eats pancakes.
  18. 18. Easter.  Although the Christian religion gave the world Easter as we know it today, the celebration owes its name and many of its customs and symbols to a pagan festival called Eostre. Eostre, the Anglo – Saxon goddess of springtime and sunrise, got its name from the word east, where the sun rises.
  19. 19.  Many modern Easter symbols come from pagan times. The egg, for example, was a fertility symbol long before the Christian era. In Christian times the egg took on a new meaning symbolizing the tomb from which Christ rose. The ancient custom of dyeing eggs at Easter is still very popular.
  20. 20.  The Easter bunny is also originated in pre – Christian fertility lore. The rabbit was the most fertile animal out ancestors knew, so they selected it as a symbol of new life. Today, children enjoy eating candy bunnies and listening to stories about the Easter bunny, who brings Easter eggs in a fancy basket.
  21. 21.  Wales has always been known as a country of music and song.  Since the 12th century they have records of an annual competition (or Eisteddfod [ais'teSvad] in Welsh), which was held to find the best poets, writers and musicians in the country. Originally only professionals took part, but now the Eisteddfod is open to the public and, because all the events are in Welsh, it encourages a strong interest in the Welsh arts.
  22. 22.  The Eisteddfod now includes local crafts, orchestral and brass band contests and even ambulance work! Many local communities organize their own Eisteddfod.  An International Eisteddfod (the international festival of folk- dancing and music) began in 1946, and no one expected much foreign interest. In fact fourteen countries took part.
  23. 23.  Nowadays, the International Eisteddfod takes place in the second week of July at Llangollen [laen'goBlan] (this town is in North Wales). People from over thirty countries come to compete in choral singing, folk-singing and folk-dancing, and the little valley is full of thousands of visitors coming to listen and watch.
  24. 24. SOURCES OF INFORMATION:  http://www.informationwales.co.uk/  www.google.com/images  В.В Ощепкова, И.И. Шустилова. Britain in Brief. Новая школа, Москва, 1997  If you want to know about another unusual British traditions and customs, visit this site http://projectbritain.com/curious/calendar.htm

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