domingo, 13 de septiembre de 2015

Holidays and festivals in the UK and in the USA: ANGLOSAXON FESTIVITIES

Holidays and festivals in the UK, the USA

  • Holiday and festivals celebrated in both the UK and the USA
    • Christmas
    • New Year's Eve
    • Easter
    • Halloween
    • St. Valentine's Day

Christmas is the biggest festival of the year. Families usually come together to celebrate it. People put up decorations and decorate a Christmas tree.
In Britain people think that Father Christmas (also known as Santa Claus in the USA) brings presents for children on Christmas Eve (24th December). He is an old man with a white beard and a red suit who lives at the North Pole. On the night before Christmas he travels through the sky in a sleigh pulled by reindeer to bring children their presents. He comes down the chimney and leaves presents in the Christmas stockings which children hang up in their bedrooms before going to sleep on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Day (25th December), the children wake up early and open the presents in their Christmas stockings. There are usually small presents such as sweets and small toys. Afterwards they rush downstairs to the living room to open the larger presents which are waiting for them under the Christmas tree. At noon people have their traditional Christmas dinner: roast turkey and Christmas pudding.
December 26th is called Boxing Day when people give presents to people who serve them (e.g. postmen, milkmen, etc.)

New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is the night of big parties. Many people stay up till midnight to toast in the New Year with the glass of champagne. At 12 o'clock people meet in squares, they wish each other “Happy New Year!“ and sing a traditional song called Auld Lang Syne.

It is celebrated in April. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and Easter Sunday commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The egg is the traditional symbol of Easter. Eggs are usually made of chocolate, they symbolize new life. People sometimes organize an egg hunt – parents hide eggs somewhere in the house or garden and children look for it.

It is celebrated on 31st October. It is the eve of All Saints' Day.
It has become a celebration of witches, ghosts, goblins and candy which is especially attractive to children. They dress up to the costumes with masks on their faces. They go by house to house and say “Trick or treat”, which means give us a treat or we will play a trick on you. Treats are usually sweets, fruit, money and the most common trick is a soaping window or spill the flour on the stairs.
Many homes are decorated and lit by jack-o'-lantern, pumpkins with horrible faces carved in them. There is a candle inside.

St. Valentine's Day
It is celebrated on 14th February. It is lovers' day. Young people send Valentine cards to a person they like – usually anonymously.

  • Holiday and festivals celebrated in the UK
    • St. Patrick's Day
    • Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night)
    • All Fools' Day
    • Remembrance Day (Poppy Day)
    • Bank holidays
St. Patrick's Day
It is celebrated on 17th March. Patrick was the Ireland patron. He became the bishop in Europe and he returned to convert people in Ireland to Christianity. St. Patrick's Day is a public holiday in Ireland, people wear shamrock on that day.

Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night)
It is celebrated on 5th November. It is the anniversary of the Gunpowder plot in 1605. Radical catholic group, including Guy Fawkes, wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and the king James I. The plot was discovered and Guy Fawkes was executed.
Nowadays, this day is celebrated by fireworks and burning of guys.

All Fools' Day
It is celebrated on 1st April. On this day people play jokes on the others.

Remembrance Day (Poppy Day)
It is celebrated on the second Sunday in November and it honours veterans. Red paper poppies are sold by the British Legion to raise money for veterans.
There is the ceremony in the Cenotaph in Whitehall in which two minutes of silence honours those killed in the two world wars.

Bank holidays
Banks and other businesses close down on these days. It includes New Year's Eve, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and May Day – 1st Monday of May (festival of children).

  • Holiday and festivals celebrated in the USA
    • Thanksgiving
    • Independence Day
    • Columbus Day
    • Memorial Day
    • Veterans Day
    • Presidents' Day
    • Martin Luther King's Day

It is celebrated on last Thursday in November (a feast of giving thanks to God).
Originally, the first feast was celebrated by the Pilgrim settlers of Plymouth colony in 1621. They celebrated the first harvest (and its share with Native Americans).
Nowadays, the whole family gets together and people enjoy a four-day holiday. This celebration is famous for its traditional dinner – roast turkey.

Independence Day
It is celebrated on 4th July. This day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence (1776; the United States proclaimed its freedom from Britain).
Nowadays, it is celebrated by fireworks, barbecues, picnics and patriotic music.

Columbus Day
It is celebrated on 12th October. It is the anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492.

Memorial Day
It is celebrated on 30th May. It honours those who died during the American Civil War (1861 – 1865) and later those who died in all American wars. The flowers and flags are placed on the graves of the dead.

Veterans Day
It is celebrated on 11th November. It honours all veterans of all American wars.

Presidents' Day
It is celebrated on the third Monday in February. People celebrate the memory of America's first president – George Washington and its 16th president – Abraham Lincoln.

Martin Luther King's Day
It is celebrated on the third Monday in January. Martin Luther King fought for the civil rights for Blacks, against racism, discrimination and segregation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in 1968.

After reading; Questions:

Do you celebrate any of these festivities in your country?
Do you know any other festivals from other countries?
Have you ever heard about the “Tomato battle” or the “Chasing the Cheese” festivals?
What special dishes are served at Christmas all over the world?
Which traditions, customs and festival do you like and which ones you dislike?