British and American holidays and festivals

Cudzie jazyky » Angličtina

Autor: kaprik
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 06.07.2009
Jazyk: Angličtina
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·  Great Britain
St.Valentine’s Day on February 14th is a lovers feast. People give gifts or send greeting cards called Valentines to people they like or admire. This day is named for an early Christian martyr [1].
  Easter is celebrated as in the rest of Europe. It is an ancient symbol of spring and new life. Christians remember Christ’s death and his resurrect (rising from the death, return to life) [2].
  The mid-summer’s day on June 24th is marked by various special celebrations. There is a sunrise ceremony at Stonehenge and in some parts of Scotland, Cornwall or Northumbria there are lit the mid-summer fires as in pre-Christian times when this ritual was performed to give strength to the Sun and drive out devils.
Halloween (the Eve of all Saint’s Day)  on October 31st is a night of traditional fun and games. Children light pumpkin lanterns to ward off witches [3] and evil spirits. They dress up in strange costumes, going round the houses and say „trick or treat“ and are given chocolate or candy. Halloween is associated with ancient Celtic customs such as fortune-telling [4] and tales of witches and ghosts. These pagan traditions mark the beginning on winter.
On Guy Fawkes Night (Day) on November 5th English children are to be asking passers-by [5] in the streets to ‘spare a penny for the guy’. The guy - a figure of a man, stuffed with straw [6], paper or old rags [7] - usually stands somewhere nearby. This figure represents Guy Fawkes, the leader of a group of men who tried to blow up the British House of Parliament in 1605. But ‘The Gunpowder Plot’ [8] was discovered in last time, no explosion passed and G.Fawkes was arrested and executed. So on November 5th people fire up bonfires and there are a lot of explosions of fireworks all over England. Most families have a fireworks parties this day. Bonfire Night, what is another name for this feast, was originally Protestant demonstrations against Roman Catholics (because Guy Fawkes was a Catholic) but now it is a good occasion for funny celebration.
  Remembrance Day on November 11th is a ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall in London when two minutes of silence remember those killed in the two world wars.
  Christmas, a time of peace and friendly will [9] between December 23rd - 25th was originally a pagan [10] celebration of hope of good coming spring and their religious aspect grow up [11] much later. A lot of things is prepared for this holidays and there is usually decoration all over the cities. Shop windows are turning into artistic scenes, they are lit up at night, you can heard some carols and there are many presents and Xmas cards to buy. There is of course Father Christmas (in the USA called Santa Clause) - a man dressed up in red robe, with a red chap on his head, thick white beard and reindeers [12] put on into his slider which stopping outside the chimneys.
 
This celebration have a different course [13] in Great Britain and in the Czech Republic. The final preparations for Christmas Day are done on Christmas Eve (24th December) in UK. This day is most important in the Czech Republic and any other European countries but the British don’t celebrate it. They also haven’t got a decorated Xmas tree (like people in CR), but on Christmas Eve children hang up their stockings [14] near the fireplace - Father Christmas come down the chimney at night and fill this stockings with lots of little gifts. Christmas presents are opened after breakfast on Christmas Day (25th December) and there is traditionally lunch - roast turkey and Christmas pudding (often in GB, always in USA but in CR there is a fish on evening December 24th). This special festive Xmas pudding is made of eggs, chopped candied peel [15], mixed dried fruit and shredded suet [16]. It is covered with white sauce and burning [17] of strong brandy. Those who find the ‘treasure’ are supposed to have good luck in the coming year.   The day after is Boxing Day (26th December) - the day of evening parties and public celebrations.
New Year’s Eve is the night of merry-making all over the land, especially in Scotland. They have family parties and at twelve o’clock they sing a songs. People gather [18] in squares, link arms and sing. In Scotland they call the last day of the year Hogmanay and the first visitor on New Year brings good luck. They give each other a piece of coal and wish „Lang may your lum reek“ which express the hope that ‘your chimney will smoke for a long time’.
 
Bank Holidays in England are held three times a year - on first Monday in May, on last Monday in May (or first in June) and on the last Monday in August (or last in September). The offices and banks of England are closed, no business houses, factories, shops or schools are open on these days. On Bank Holidays there are convoys of cars heading to the coast and the seaside are crowded [19] of people. Many families take a picnic or tea party and enjoy their meal in the open. Many Londoners take their families to Hampstead Heath, a large park in Greater London where take place an annual fair.
 
Royal Traditions
  One of the many royal traditions is the State Opening of Parliament when the Queen reads the ‘Queen Speech’. This ceremony takes place every autumn and hundreds of people watch the procession as the Queen travels from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in a gold coach. In the House of Lords she sits on a throne, wearing a crown and Crown Jewels.
  The Queen is also the only person in Britain with two birthdays. She was actually born on April 21st but her ‘official’ birthday is on the second Saturday in June. On this day there is the traditional ceremony called the Trooping the Colour. One regiment of foot guards and one regiment of horse guards ‘troop’ [20] the flag (‘the colour’) in front of the Queen. It is a big and spectacular ceremony with brass bands [21] every year.

·  The United States of America
Martin Luther King Day held the third Monday in January is a remembrance day of a black clergyman and civil rights leader who preached the rights of black people which aren’t the second-class citizens. King was assassinated in 1968.
Memorial Day on May 30th (or last Monday in month) is a day in honour of those Americans who have given their lives to their country in all wars.
Independence Day on July 4th is the birthday of the USA.
Veteran’s Day on November 11th is a day in honour of those Americans who have served and given their lives in WW II. There is a official ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington D.C.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated every fourth Thursday in November. It remembers the first settlers - the Pilgrim Fathers - who came in 1620. It is mainly the family holiday - the whole family gathers together and enjoys a traditional dinner - roast turkey and pumpkin pies etc. This is also the day of gifts, charities and food for poor and homeless people.
 
There are also other holidays which have the tradition longer than the USA. Most of them came from Europe, especially from Britain and are celebrated by the majority of the population. The most important of these are e.g. St.Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Christmas.

[1] mučedník
[2] zmrtvýchvstání
[3] na ochranu proti čarodejnicím
[4] věštění
[5] se ptají kolemjdoucích
[6] sláma
[7] hadry
[8] gunpowder - střelný prach; „Puč se střelným prachem“
[9] vůle, mysl
[10] pohanský
[11] náboženský význam získaly
[12] sobi
[13] průběh
[14] punčochy
[15] kandovaná ovocná kůra
[16] krájeného loje
[17] pálit
[18] shromažďují se
[19] nabitý, přeplněný
[20] houfovat se, sešikovat se
[21] dechové kapely
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