Traditions, Holidays, Feastdays

Great Britain

New Year's Day - January 1 - Titles and decorations are conferred by the sovereign.
St. Valentine's Day - February 14 - It's lovers day. On this day people send Valentine cards to a person of the opposite sex, usually anonymously, and change gifts. The cards have funny, loving or serious contents.
St. David's Day - March 1 - the patron saint of Wales
St. Patrick's Day -March 17 - the patron saint of Ireland. It is a public holiday in Ireland. It's celebrated all over the world (for example - parades in America).
All Fools' Day - April 1- people play practical jokes and tricks on people.
Easter - April - Spring feast of the Christian Church.(religiouns holiday) Good Friday commemorates Jesus' crucifixion. Easter Sunday commemorates the Ressurection of Jesus. Originnaly it was a festival celebrating the spring eqionox. Easter eggs are dyed and decorated and given as presents. Sometimes chocolate eggs have money or sweats inside. They symbolize new life. Typical easter animals - chicken, lamb. It is celebrated on Easter Sunday in Britain. Easter Monday isn't celebrated in GB.
St. George's Day - April 23 - the patron saint of England
May Day - May 1 - political parties of the left hold processions and public meetings
Mother's Day - 4th Sunday in Lent - honours all mothers
The Queen's Official Birthday - Saturday after June 9
Father's Day - 3rd Sunday in June - honours all fathers
Halloween - October 31 - Eve of All Saints Day, when the Christian Church honours the memory of the dead. Children celebrate it with dressing up in Halloween costumes with masks over their faces. People treat children with sweets, fruit or money. The favourite custom is to make a jack-o'-lantern from a pumpkin which is scraped out and in which eyes, a nose and a mouth are cut and then a candle is lit inside. Adults sometimes give parties with costumes and masks in the evening.
Guy Fawks Day - November 5 - the anniversay of the Gunpowder plot is celebrated with fireworks and the burning effigies of an English conspirator, Guy Fawks, who attempted to blow up Parliament, but he wasn't successful.
St. Andrew's Day - November 30 - the patron saint of Scotland
Christmas - December 24 - the English have no traditional celebration on Christmes Eve, people only have "office party". A lot of people spend this day by shopping. Before English children go to bed on Chritmas Eve, they hang up Christmas stockings at the end of their beds and believe that Santa Claus or Father Christmas rides through the air on a sledge drawing by reindeer and comes down the chimney and fills up the stockings with presents and toys. They also leave out mince pies for Father Christmes to eat. Chritmas trees are often decorated with fairy lights and bright coloured ornaments.
- December 25 - The most festive day of the Christmes is Christmas Day. In the morning children enjoy presents and at midday Christmas dinner is a great occasion. It consists of roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and roast potatoes and Chritmas pudding. There is an old custom of stirring into the pudding, when it is being prepared, a coin, a thimble and a ring to bring wealth, work and wedding to those who find it. There are plenty of carols on the radio and TV. On Christmas Day the monarch addresses the nation and the Commonwealth on radio and television.
- December 26 - is called Boxing Day ( from the custom in earlier times of giving postmen, milkmen, dustmen, newpaper boys and the like small sums of money, which they collected in their Christmas boxes.) Lost of people go visiting on Boxing Day or to parties in the evening. For children this day marks the beginning of the pantomime season which ends on Easter. A pantomime is a theater show based on fairy tale or traditional story with music, dancing and clowning. Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Peter Pan and Dick Wittington are the favourite fairy tales.
- December 31 - Some nations celebrate New Year's Eve but for the English the most importent holiday is Christmas. On New Year's Eve English people stay up till midnight to see the old year out and drink a toast to the New Year.
Hogmanay is the Scottish name for New Year's Eve which is more celebrated than Christmas. People celebrate it together with their friends and relatives. It begins with dinner, which begins with haggis, Scotland's national dish. At midnight they sing and dance in the streets, there is a great cheer, people cross arms and link hands for a traditional song "Auld Lang Syne".

United States

F = federal holiday (is celebrated in whole USA)
Martin Luther King's Day - 3rd Monday in January (F) - King was a black leader and civil-rights campaigner. He demended equality among people. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in1964. He was assassinated in 1968.
St. Valentine's Day - February 14
The Presidents' Day - 3rd Monday in February (F) - all presidents of the USA are honoured
Easter - is not a national holiday. Most Americans spend Easter with their family. Many people give children dyed eggsand sweets. Sometimes thay organize an egg hunt - children look for eggs which adults hid somewhere in the house or garden. There is a traditional Easter Egg Roll in front of the White House in Washington on Easter Monday.
Mother's Day -2nd Sunday in May
Memorial Day - 4th Monday in May (F) - It honours Americans killed in wars and most recently all the dead. Flowers and falgs are placed on the graves of the dead. It also marks the beginning of the summer season.
Father's Day - 3rd Sunday in June
Independence Day - July 4 (F) - This day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, thus establishing the USA. Each city has its own ceremony and parades, band concerts and firework.
Labor Day - 1st Monday in September (F) -honours all the working people. It is celebrated by a day of rest. It marks the end of the summer season.
Columbus Day - October 12 (F) - It is the anniversary of the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in1492.
Halloween - October 31
Veterans' Day - November 11 (F) - honours the veterans of all wars
Thanksgiving - 4th Thursday in November (F) - national Holiday in the USA, first celebrated in 1621 by the settlers of Plymouth Colony, Massachussets, on their first harvest. Now the whole family is together. They eat the traditonal dinner whose main course is roast turkey.
Christmas - is not a national holiday in the USA. Almost all shops are closed and people have a rest day on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Christmas isn't a family holiday, families invite friends to join them at Christmas dinner and often give parties at Christmas-time. On Boxing Day most shops are open. Besides the Christmas tree the Americans also decorate their houses with garlands and wreaths and electric coloured lights. The January sales begin just after Christmas both in the USA and in Britain. Most large shops sell of their old stock at low or "bargain" prices.

Czech Republic

Easter - Easter Monday - boys and man go carolling, they have whip (maybe decorated with ribbons), they visit girls and women and they beat them for good health. Girls give them refreshment, alcohol, eggs, sweats.

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