Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. For most British families, this is the most important festival of the year. On Sunady before Christmas many churches hold a carol service where special hymns are sung. Sometimes carol-singers canbe heard on the streets as they collect money for charity. Most families decorate their houses with brightly-coloured paper or holly, and they usually have a Christmas tree in the corner of the front room. Family members wrap their gifts and leave them at the bottom of the Christmas tree to be found on Christmas morning. Children leave a long sock or stocking at the end of their bed 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 eats a big turkey dinner followed by Christmas pudding. They will probably pull a cracker with another member of the family. It will make a loud crack and a coloured hat, small toy and a joke will fall out!
December 26th is also a public holiday, Boxing Day, and this is the time to visit friends and relatives or be a spectator on one of the many sporting events.
On New Year’s Eve , people traditionally take a shower in the fountains in Trafalgar Square! The Christmas tree is an annual gift from Norway.
ST. VALENTINE’S DAY
On 14 th February many people send a card to the one they love or someone whom they have fallen in love with. People usually don’t sign these cards and a lot of time is spent trying to guess who has sent them.
Ash Wednesday is the day in February when the Christian period of Lent begins. This refers the time when Christ went into the desert and fasted for 40 days. Although not many people actually give up eating during this period, on Pancake Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, they eat lots of pancakes. Some towns have also pancake races. People run through the streets holding a frying pan and throwing the pancake in the air. If they drop the pancake they lose the race.
At Easter time, the British celebrate the idea of birth by giving each other chocolate Easter eggs which are opened and eaten on Easter Sunday. On Good Friday bakers sell hot cross buns, which are toasted and eaten with butter. Easter Monday is a holiday and many people travel to the seaside for the day or go and watch one of the many sporting events.
Britain likes to celebrate the end of the winter. In England on 1st May, Morris men may be seen in countyside celebrating traditional dances, waving their white handkerchiefs to drive away the evil spirits and welcome in the new ones. At school and in smaller villages children dance traditional spring dances such as Maypole, when they wave brightly coloured scarves into a beautiful pattern around a long pole.
Halloween means „holy evevning“, and takes place on 31st October. Although it is a much more important festival in the USA than Britain, it is celebrated by many people in the UK. It is particularly connected with witches and ghosts.
At parties people dress up in strange costumes and pretend they are witches. They cut horrible faces in potatoes and other vegetables and put a candle inside, which shine through the eyes. People play difficult games such as trying to eat an apple from the bucket of water without using games.
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 5th November of that year, when the King was going to open Parliament. Under the House of Lords they had stored 36 barrels of gun powder, which were to be exploded by a man called Guy Fawkes. However one of the plotters spoke about these plans and Fawkes was discovered, arrested and later hanged. Since that day the British traditionally celebrate that day by burning a dummy (called GUY), amde of straw and old clothes, on a bonfire, whilst at the same time letting off fireworks. Children usually collect money on the streets saying „penny for the guy“ and with enough money they can afford to buy fireworks.
Each city and town organizes its own ceremony on July 4, including parades, outdoor shows, boat races, various funny competitions, folk dancing and lively music everywhere. There are fireworks in the evening. It’s been celebrated since 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was read out.
It is a day for family reunions celebrated since 1621, whed Pilgrim Fathers succeeded to survive hard winter. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November since 1863 and a big family dinner is given. They serve roast turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, milk and coffee.
We celebrate Christmas on December 24, when a family dinner is given. We serve fish soup, fried carp with potato salad and sweets. After the dinner family opens their gifts under Christmas tree, sings carols and also may go to see Holy Mass into church.
On Easter Monday, all men and boys go from house to house and whip the women with a stick made from woven willows. They also pour cold water on the women so that they will stay beautiful throughout the following year. The women give them decorated eggs ad ribbon in return.
It is day of the liberation of Czechoslovakia from the Nazis and marks the end of WWII.
The day when St. Cyril and St. Method who came from Byzantia to teach the people of Great Moravia how to read and write.
Master Jan Hus was burned to death at the stake as a heretic in 1415.
The day of the rise an independet Czechoslovakia in 1918.
It is dedicated to honouring deceased family members. We go to the cemetery to place flowers and candles on their graves.
ST. NICHOLAS DAY
On December 5, devils and angels walk from house to house on the evening before St. Nicholas Day and give presents to the children who behave well.