Multicultural society definition
Typ práce: Maturita
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Multicultural society definition
Public holidays in Britain
Public holidays in Great Britain are called "Bank Holidays". All the banks, offices, schools, shops and factories are closed on these days. They are the following days: Good Friday and Easter Monday (Easter holidays), Whit Monday (seven weeks after Easter), August Bank Holiday (the last Monday in August), Christmas Day (December 25th) and Boxing Day (December 26th).
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter. It is the anniversary of Christ's crucification. On Easter Monday there are funfairs with roundabouts in many towns.
Whit Monday, or Pentecost Monday, is a Christian holiday. It is the day after Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday or Whitsunday, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible.
August Bank Holiday is the most popular summer holiday because in that time the school children are not at school and the families can go to the seaside or to the country and spend a long weekend there. (Four of "Bank Holidays" are Mondays, so they prolong weekends.)
Christmas is the most beautiful of all the "Bank Holidays". Preparations for Christmas start many weeks before. Many popular traditions and colourful customs make it an exciting and fascinating time in Britain. Special Christmas decorations, coloured lights and Christmas trees can be seen in the streets and shops. Christmas carols are sung almost everywhere, in houses, cathedrals and churches. People buy presents and send Christmas postcards to their relatives and friends. On Christmas Eve British homes are already decorated with holly, ivy, mistletoe, Christmas tree and coloured lights. Children hang their stockings at the foot of the bed for Santa Claus to fill them. In the morning of Christmas Day the children get up early to find and enjoy Christmas presents. Mothers prepare the traditional Christmas dinner: filled turkey or duck and Christmas pudding with a burning brandy on it afterwards. The evening is spent by playing games and entertainment. The following day is Boxing Day when Christmas boxes with presents are given to postmen, dustmen and other people who do services to the household.
New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are not public holidays in England. People go to work as usual. But on New Year's Eve most of them stay up till midnight to see the New Year coming. Many go to parties and dances. In Scotland the last day of the year is the public holiday which is even more important than Christmas. It is called Hogmanay. Friends and neighbours meet to drink and toast to the New Year and wish each other luck. There are other days of the year which are not public holidays in England but the English people celebrate them in some way.
It is the 14th February, St. Valentine's Day, when friends and lovers send one another letters or greeting cards expressing their love and affection. There is a wide choice of Valentine cards available at stationer's shops long before the 14th February. Some of them are serious, romantic, others humorous, sentimental, even satiric or provoking and all are signed "Your Valentine". The first Valentine was a bishop, a Christian martyr, murdered by Romans around the year 273. Before he was put to death he sent a note of friendship to his jailer's daughter.
The 5th November, Guy Fawkes Day (Night), also has its roots in English history, and goes back to the year 1605, when a group of Catholics wanted to kill King James I. at the opening of Parliament by blowing up the Houses of Parliament with 36 barrels of gunpowder. The soldier, Guy Fawkes, promised to do it. This event is called the Gunpowder Plot. It was discovered and Guy Fawkes and others were executed. Nowadays the origin of Guy Fawkes Day (Bonfire Night) is not remembered by most of the people. It is the night when in almost every town and village in England there are bonfires, fireworks and rockets and much noise everywhere. Children are allowed to stay up until dark and admire rockets in the sky. They can also make a bonfire and burn on it the fun figure made of straw, representing Guy Fawkes. But with raising unrest and unhappiness in the world the idea behind the gunpowder plot begins to spread in positive meaning. People view it as: “opposing the oppressive government”. Every year the Million Mask March protest takes place in many capital and big cities all around the world. People wear masks of Guy Fawkes and protest against injustice, corruption, oppression, capitalism as we know it, polluting the environment, etc. The origin of the protest is in the movie “V for Vendetta” where the main hero, wearing the Guy Fawkes mask, united people against totalitarian oppressive government and blew up the parliament. He viewed himself not as human, but as idea, the idea behind gunpowder plot. Because humans can fail, but ideas are immortal.
Public holidays in the USA
The most important public holiday in the U.S.A., in terms of American history, is The Fourth of July or Independence Day. It celebrates independence of American colonies from the British. It is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
The oldest American holiday is Thanksgiving Day which is the fourth Thursday in November. It was celebrated for the first time in 1621 as the expression of the joy of people after the first successful harvest which helped the colony at Plymouth to survive winter. It is a unique American holiday.
Memorial Day, celebrated on 30th May in most states, and also Veteran's Day are patriotic holidays which commemorate Americans who fought in wars for their country. On these days the people visit cemeteries and memorials to honour those who sacrificed their lives for America.
Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September to honour working people of America. This holiday is generally used for rest and recreation. During the long weekend the people usually visit national parks or seaside resorts.
Birthdays of two great American presidents, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, are celebrated by the people of the U.S.A. on 17th February, which is President's Day.
One of the most important events in American history was the discovery of the continent by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. Columbus Day is American public holiday. Besides celebrations of important events of American history there are holidays which have more private character and are celebrated in families. It is Easter, the typical spring holiday. Children like this holiday very much because the Easter Bunny comes with coloured chocolate eggs and candies. Families often paint eggs and decorate Easter trees with them.
Halloween is a typical American holiday celebrated on October 31. According to an old tradition it is a witches' holiday. It is popular both among young and old people not only in the USA but also in Great Britain. At parties people dress in strange costumes and pretend they are witches and ghosts. They cut horrible faces in pumpkins and other vegetables and put a candle inside. Children dress up as ghosts and monsters and go round people‘s houses asking “Trick or treat? “ A treat means that they get candies, fruit, nuts or money. If the children do not get a treat, they play a trick on the people. A favourite trick is to put soap on the windows or to make a lot of noise at the door. Some children trick a treat for UNICEF. UNICEF uses the money to provide food, medical care, and other services for poor children throughout the world.
Christmas is a typical winter holiday and the best-loved one, too. It is the occasion for meeting with relatives. Family members often travel great distances to be together during Christmas. The celebrations of Christmas are much the same all over the United States. In town squares there are giant Christmas trees with decorations and coloured electronic lights. On Christmas Eve the trees are also decorated in families. Santa Claus comes on Christmas Day and the children open the boxes with their presents. The adult members of the family also exchange gifts. On Christmas day the traditional Christmas dinner is served.
New Year's Eve and New Year’s Day are days of celebration in the U.S.A. People generally go to parties to welcome the upcoming year. They make resolutions and promises to change or improve their future lives.
Holidays in Slovakia
- New Year´s Day (establishment of the Slovak Republic)
- 1. – Epiphany (According to the Bible the three Wise men came from the East to see the baby Jesus. They were guided by a star and brought gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.)
- Mardi Gras – a Carnival period held in some countries on or around the time of the day before the first day of Lent
- Shrove Tuesday – is the day before Ash Wednesday which is the 1st of the solemn period of Lent when Christians fast and eat only certain foods, give up certain luxuries.
- Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent
- Lent – 40 days before Easter, during which Christians do not allow themselves all their usual pleasure
- Maundy Thursday – commemorates the Last Supper – the meal taken by Jesus and his followers on the evening before he was crucified. Jesus shared bread and wine among his followers, beginning the Christian ceremony of the Eucharist.
- Good Friday
- Easter Saturday
- Easter Sunday – Christ´s rising from death and victory over death
- Easter Monday
- Whitsunday – 7th Sunday after Easter which celebrates the coming down from heaven of the Holy Ghost
- 4. – All Fools´ Day – named after the custom of playing practical jokes and tricks on people
- 5. – Labour Day
- Mother´s Day – the second Sunday in May
- Father´s Day – the third Sunday in June
- 6. – International Children Day
- 7. – Cyril and Method
- 8. – the Slovak National Uprising
- 9. – The Day of the Constitution
- 9. – Saint Mary
- 11. – All Saints´ Day
- 11. – All Souls Day – people pray for the souls of those who have died
- 11. – International Students´ Day, day of the fight for liberty and democracy (Velvet revolution)
- 12. – Christmas Eve
- 12. – Christmas Day
- 12. – St. Stephen´s Day
- 12. – New Year´s Eve
Family holidays – namesday, birthday, wedding, wedding anniversary, christening, confirmation, graduation ceremony
Slovak people have a lot of customs and traditions which have roots in their history. Some of these traditions are connected with family life, some with Roman Catholicism. At present most of these customs are slowly disappearing, but in villages most of these traditions are still alive.
One of the oldest is the “fašiangy“ festival held at the end of February/beginning of March. People walk down the street dressed in funny costumes, sing and dance to celebrate the end of winter and welcome the coming spring. In the evening they have a party that finishes late at night.
The next day Lent starts – the period of forty days from Ash Wednesday to the day before Easter, during which Christians give up food or activities they enjoy in memory of Christ’s suffering. Easter is a Christian festival in Slovakia. People go to church to commemorate Jesus Christ’s crucifixion on Good Friday which is the greatest religious festival of the year. In the eastern part of the country they carry baskets full of food that is eaten during Easter. Even small children have their own baskets with sweet baked lamb in it. During this special mass the priest walks among people blessing the food. Then people pray the Lord, go home and eat this food during the whole festival. Easter Monday is a special day in Slovakia. On that day boys go from house to house and splash girls with willow whips and wash them with water so that they will be healthy and strong all year round. The boys are given coloured eggs as a reward. At present alcoholic drinks are also offered and it is quite common to see drunk boys and men in the afternoon.
Another important custom is All Saint’s Day held on 1st November. People go to cemeteries to commemorate their relatives and friends who died. They light candles and pray for their loved ones resting in peace. The cemeteries are beautiful that evening with hundreds of candles burning at night.
Every year we look forward to Christmas. About a month before the Christmas holidays Christmas decorations start appearing in the stores. Christmas is a holiday of calm and peace. All the shops and department stores are overfilled with people. Four weeks before Christmas Eve (December 24th) begins advent. People make or buy an Advent wreath with four candles. On each of the four Sundays during Advent, a new candle is lit. Children have a special calendar. It is usually made of paper and it has twenty four windows. Every day, the children opens a window to find a picture or piece of chocolate. Traditionally, during the time of Advent, the women are very busy cleaning the house, cooking and baking. On December 6th we celebrate St. Nicholas Day. In some families, the children polish their shoes and leave them behind the window for St. Nicholas to fill it with candy and small presents. In some villages, angels and devils walk from house to house on the evening before St Nicholas Day and give presents to the children who have behaved well. Parents warn their children throughout the year that if they misbehave, they will be taken away by the devil on St. Nicholas day. In most families, it has become a tradition to have a Christmas tree. The whole families, decorates the tree with chocolate candies, gingerbread, candles and Christmas ornaments. Christmas dinner starts around 6:00 pm. We usually have sauerkraut soup with mushrooms or fish soup, sausages, deep fried carp with potato salad and for desert we have apples as symbol of health, waffles with honey. After dinner comes the best part of the day: opening the presents. Our whole family comes together by the Christmas tree where we give each other presents while listening to Christmas carols, singing and talking. The most popular Christmas carol is „Silent Night“. Some people have a tradition of going to church later in the evening for a midnight mass. Christmas is connected with birth of Jesus.
New Year's Eve is not a public holiday in Slovakia. People go to work as usual. But on New Year's Eve most of them stay up till midnight to see the New Year coming. Many go to parties and dances. Neighbours meet to drink a toast to the New Year and wish each other luck. People generally go to parties to welcome the coming year. They make resolutions and promises to change or improve their future lives.
New Year´s Day is a public holiday in Slovakia. This is because in 1993 it was a day of the establishment of the Slovak republic.
A multicultural society includes people from different cultures People of different races, nationalities, languages, beliefs and customs live together in one community.
A multi-ethnic society has many advantages. Living in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society allows people to experience different ways of life, both materially and spiritually. This includes a wide variety of patterns of thoughts, beliefs, behaviours, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, languages, art, music and literature.
Multicultural education aims to prepare children for living in a multiracial society by giving them an understanding of the cultures and histories of different ethnic groups. As a result, an initiative for multicultural teaching came in the UK.
Multicultural education works against racism and racial disadvantage in schools. When people learn about different ways of life, it helps to break down barriers between ethnic groups which are caused by ignorance. Human beings have a tendency to be suspicious of cultures they do not understand. Living with different cultures brings a better understanding of world beliefs and cultures and helps to encourage religious and social tolerance.
On the negative side, cultural differences can be emphasized in order to divide a society. This can lead to prejudice and discrimination, There will always be people who think that their religion and culture is superior and right and that other beliefs and cultures are inferior and wrong. These people will try to stir up trouble in a multicultural society and will try to blame ethnic minorities for social and economic problems even when it is not true.
Ethnic minorities may suffer racial disadvantage in a multi-ethnic society. In education, children from ethnic minority groups, like refugees, may not perform as well as they could, simply because they are in an unfamiliar environment. Local authorities have adopted more antiracist policies and increased the provision for multicultural education to help in these situations.
There is one special ethnic group which can be found almost all over the world. The Romas, they originated somewhere in what is now India and live very differently from the people of the nations they live in now. They typically do not live in one place, but travel from place to place while living in a caravan (in Britain they are called travellers). In the past, their caravans were pulled by horses and were usually brightly painted. The Romas do various jobs to earn a living but traditionally they are thought of as horse traders, musicians, basket makers and fortune tellers. In many countries some people do not trust them and treat them with disapproval, because the way they live is so foreign for Westerners.
Another interesting group lives in the Western US. Mormons are mostly found in the state of Utah, but they also live in other places. They have strict moral rules and do not smoke tobacco or drink alcohol, or anything with caffeine. Mormons also think family is very important. Young Mormons must do missionary work for two years, and people think of young Mormon men as wearing white shirts and ties when they go from house to house trying to persuade people to join the Mormon Church. In the past, Mormon men were allowed to have more than one wife, but his is no longer common in large cities, although there are some places out in the countryside where the tradition continues.
Since 1989 Slovakia has become a country open to people from their countries. Apart from Slovaks, the territory is inhabited by over half a million Hungarians in the south of Slovakia, along with smaller groups like the Ruthenians in the east. One minority without a territory are the Romas. A rapidly rising birth rate among the Romas means an increasingly important issue in Slovak politics and Slovakia is working hard to integrate them into society.
At present the country faces the problem of Islamic refugees. Not, that they are causing problems, but the European Union rations them among countries. Slovak government said NO, that we don’t want them here… I think it is quite harsh decision, but the refugees are not the problem, they are the result of US/NATO aggression in the Middle East. They just can’t stand living in countries, where there are endless wars. Stop the war, stop the flow of refugees…
In the developed and democratic world it is popular to talk about multiculturalism and tolerance these days. Multicultural society is a society where people of different races, cultures and traditions live side by side with mutual respect of all of them. It is a society that embraces a number of minority cultures and according to the theory of multiculturalism it is beneficial to a society to maintain more than one culture within its structure. You may ask why it is beneficial.
Let me give an example. In our country the children at school are usually from very similar backgrounds. It means white European Christian society has more or less similar values, traditions and lifestyles. It is easy to live in such society, because we basically know what we can expect from people around us. And when there is someone who is different – nation, race and religion – we have suspicions and also we are curious about such a person. In our country we are not used to people of different races and cultures, because until 1989 we were not an open society, open country. Therefore those people seemed pretty exotic to us. It is changing, many foreigners with their customs and very different cultural backgrounds are coming to our country and we are getting used to the ideas that it is very normal that people are of different skin colour. And it may easily happen that one of your classmates will be Chinese, Turk or Arab, and it could be quite beneficial for the rest of the class. You can learn something about life and culture of a very different society, about their customs and traditions and you can share your culture with them. After a short time you realize how normal it is to live side by side. It will not be a problem to accept other people as they are, and we will also be accepted. We are getting closer to tolerance. Tolerance is a disposition to be patient and fair towards those whose opinions and practices differ from our own.
There are many benefits to a society which is truly multicultural. It enriches people offering them different experiences, different ideas, and different attitudes to life and supports tolerance and mutual understanding. There is no place for segregation which encourages racial tensions and hatred. Ethnic unrest between groups of people of different race, or with different customs, living in the same place, especially when one group is smaller than the other makes people fight and kill each other. A unified Europe, multicultural America and different integration processes support the ideas of co-existence side by side, understanding each other’s customs and traditions, tolerating different attitudes, accepting different lifestyles, sharing our cultures to secure a happy and confident life for future generations.
The world is getting global; we should realize that and conform to make it a better place for everyone.
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