Otázka: All the year round
First of all, I’d like to talk about the most important holidays, which are celebrated in our country.
The first holiday of the year is the New Year’s Day, which is celebrated on January 1. It is not just a celebration of the new year, but also the date the independent Czech Republic was founded in 1993, after the break-up of Czechoslovakia. The Christians also celebrate it with a mass, where they thank God for the previous year.
Then in April, Easter comes. It is a Christian holiday, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was crucified on the cross on Good Friday and came back to life on Easter Sunday. We have also some traditions. On the morning of Easter Monday, boys and men last girls and women on their bottoms with pussy-willow sticks to make sure they stay healthy for the rest of the year. As a reward girs treat them with hand-painted eggs. But nowadays, little boys are rewarded with chocolates and men with alcohol.
An international Day of Labour is celebrated to remember a strike by American workers in Chicago that took place on May 1, 1886. It is celebrated as International Workers’ Day or Labour Day. In Czechoslovakia before the Velvet revolution this day was celebrated by all the workers. It was obligatory to take part in the parade. Nowadays it’s just another day off but it also became a day of lovers, who kiss under blooming cherry trees or go and pay tribute to K. H. Mácha in Prague.
The Liberation Day celebrates the end of WWII in Europe on May 8. It reminds us how Prague was liberated in the morning of May 8, 1945 by the Soviet Army. Ceremonial acts take place; the president, political representatives and WWII veterans commemorate the end od the war by placing flower wreaths at memorials of the victims of WWII.
A day to remember Saints Cyril and Methodius, two Byzantine Greek brothers who came to Great Moravia in 863 to spread Christianity is celebrated on July 5. On this day religious celebrations take place, as well as masses and processions remembering the two brothers that brought Christianity to Central Europe. The majority of people just enjoy a day off.
On July 6, 1415 – Jan Hus Day, religious reformer Jan Hus was burn at the stake in Kostnice. Jan Hus was a priest and reformer who blamed Catholic representatives for unholy behaviour and was sentenced to death. Nowadays we celebrate that day with another day off.
The day when the whole nation remembers the main patron of the Czech Republic is the St. Wenceslav Day or the Day of Czech Statehood, which we celebrate on September 28. In 921 Wenceslav became a duke of Bohemia and ruled until his death on September 28,935, when his younger brother Boleslav I. killed him. He was the first Czech ruler to suffer a martyr’s death. One of the longest squares in Prague is named after him and his statue at the top of the square is a popular meeting point.
On October 28, Czechoslovak state declared independence at the end of WWI in 1918. The first president, T. G. Masaryk, worked from exile on the formation and later on the recognition of Czechoslovakia as an independent state. So we call it Independent Czechoslovak State Day and on this day the president gives honours to people who did special deeds.
17.11. – The day of the Fighting (Struggle) for Freedom and Democracy is a day when we remember very important milestones from our history. In 1939, Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia and proclaimed it the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Czech students demonstrated against the occupation and in reaction, Czech universities were closed by the Nazis on November 17. In 1989 the Velvet Revolution started as a student demonstration against the communist regime. Nowadays some people bring flowers and light candles on Národní třída in Prague and other places connected with the Velvet Revolution.
And with the end of the year comes the most favourite holiday – Christmas. It starts with Christmas Eve on December 24. It is a celebration of the birth of baby Jesus. He was born in a stable in Betlehem. His arrival in this world was announced by a comet that appeared in the sky. Christmas Eve is the most important feast of the whole year. In the morning a Christmas tree is decorated. In the evening the family gathers to have a traditional dinner that consists of fish soup and carp fillet with potato salad. After dinner children await a ringing of the bell that announces that little baby Jesus has come to visit them and left presents under the Christmas tree. People often go to a midnight mass. On December 25 (Christmas Day) and December 26 (St. Stephen’s Day, Boxing Day) is time for family visits and reunions.
And the last and the most amazing holiday is New Year’s Eve, which is a celebration of the whole year which is behind us. Usually we spend time with our loved ones, have fun with them and make fireworks.
American and British Holidays (celebrated a lot of similar holidays)
Christmas is celebrated on December 25. Father Christmas (in the UK) or Santa Claus (in the US) brings gifts for children in the morning, and families traditionally eat a roast turkey meal. Boxing Day (December 26) is also a public holiday in the UK.
Easter is in March or April and commemorates the death of Jesus Christ and the start of spring. It is another big family holiday, and children often paint and decorate eggs, and eat chocolate eggs.
Halloween, on October 31, is another shared holiday. Although it started in the UK, it became more popular in America. Typically people dress up in scary costumes like ghosts, devils and witches, and go “trick or treating” – knocking on doors and asking for sweets. They also carve pumpkins to create jack-o´-lanterns and decorate their houses. The children are given the sweets, fruit or money. The most common trick is soaping the windows. People make a lantern from a scraped pumpkin with eyes, nose and mouth. Then a candle is lit inside.
Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night is a uniquely British celebration held on November 5 to commemorate the failed plot by the Catholic rebel Guy Fawkes to blow up parliament in 1605, It is celebrated with fireworks, bonfires and parties.
Thanksgiving is a special American holiday, always on the fourth Thursday in November. Originally the first Pilgrims gave thanks to God with a feast to celebrate their successful first harvest. Now it is an important family holiday with a roast turkey meal.
Independence Day, or the Fourth of July, is an impostant day for the USA. It is the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. Today it is celebrated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, picnics and family get-togethers.
Remembrance Day (in the UK) and Veterans Day (in the US), on November 11 (the date when WWI ended in 1918) soldiers who have died in wars and war veterans are remembered.
Because our republic is found in the middle of Europe and lies in the mild climazone, we have four seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Every season takes about three months and brings us something special and beautiful.
According to a calendar, domes first Spring on March 21. Nature wakes up, everything starts to bloom like snowdrops or crocuses and snow melts. Days become longer and longer and the sun shines more. But the spring weather is very changeable. One day the sun shines, on the next day it rains and on another one it snows. Nobody ever knows, what the weather will be like.
On 21st June Summer begins. The sun shines as strongly as it can, days are the longest and for all children two-months‘ holidays start. Beautiful weather interrupted by sudden downpours or big rainstorms is typical for summer.. Also a lot of people take their days off and go abroad or spend some time with their families.
As the summer holidays end, the new school year starts and so does Autumn. According to a calendar, Autumn starts on September 23. The nature has breathtaking colours, days get shorter and colder. But also fruit, especially apples, ripen and birds fly to the south. Typical weather is rainy and cold and first frosts might appear.
And the end of the years brings us Winter, which starts on December 21. Days are the shortest and weather is freezing. Everything is covered with snow and sometimes it snows or the sun shines. But it is the most beautiful part of the year, because it brings us peaceful holidays – Christmas.
below zero – pod nulou
blizzard – sněhová bouře
breeze – vánek
bright – jasno
changeable – proměnlivý
chilly – mrazivo
clear – jasný
cool – chladný
damp – vlhký
drizzling – mrholení
drought – sucho
flood – povodeň
freezing – mráz
gale-force – síla vichřice
get soaked – promoknout
get sunburnt – spálit se
hailstorm – krupobití
heatwave – teplá vlna
humid – vlhko
hurricane – hurikán
icy – zledovatělý
lighting – blesk
melt – tát
mild – mírný
monsoon – monzum
pouring (with rain) – lít
scorching – parný
settled – stabilní
showers – přeháňky
sunny – slunečno
thunder – hrom
warm – teplo
wet – mokro, deštivo
windy – větrno
climate change – klimatická změna