Otázka: Festivals and celebrations
Festivals and celebrations in the Czech Republic
I think that people are social being, so celebrating is in their nature. It´s occasion for meet relatives, or people. You can have a good time over meals and drinks. You can chat, sing, dance or meet new partner.
In my family we usually celebrate the baptism, name day, birthday, wedding and so on. We usually invite our relatives and we drink and eat some foods. I have been drunk last year when we were on the feast in Syrovín. I and my cousin wear a national folklore clothes and we drank a lots of wine and maybe a few shocks of slivovitz. But I remember everything.
We have holidays and festivals around the year such as Christmas, New Year´s Eve, Easter or St. Nicolas day and so on. In our village we have feast and harvest-home (dožínky) or we just maypole putting up (stavění máje). We celebrate also Mother´s day or St. Valentine´s day.
We have holidays during them are banks close and we call them Bank holidays. On the 1 of may it is Labour day , on the 8 of may it´s Liberation day, on the 5 of July it´s Cyril and Methodius day, on the 6 of July it´s John Huss day. Foundation of Czechoslovakia on the 28 of October is the most important of celebrations.
Now I want talking about Christmas
In my family. We are believers, so we celebrate the birth of Jesus-baby. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary. He was visited by angles and wise Men (Tří králové). But we also have family reunion, exchange gifts and we enjoy peace and quiet atmosphere.
Advent is special time before Christmas. It´s a tradition to have an advent wreath with four candles, they are lit one by one each week up to Christmas Eve. When I was a child I had an advent calendar, there was 24 small numbered windows and doors with a piece of chocolate. I loved it.
In my family we clean house and decorate it with mistletoe. My mother and brother bake Christmas sweets and my father buys the Christmas tree usually buys spruce. I´m last minute buyer, it means that I buy presents maybe week before Christmas.
On the 24 of December my mother and father put up the Christmas tree and decorate it with Christmas decorations like glass balls, festoons, candles, electrical lights and sparkles. My brother and I usually decorate candlestick. I learned it in primary school and since that I do it every year. In the evening my parents and grandparents prepare Christmas dinner. We usually have fried carp, potato salad, and some dessert. We usually have Christmas dinner at around 5 o´clock, and then we go to Christmas tree my father rings the bell and we sing carol. Then finally unwrap the presents.
We go to Christmas mass around 10 o´clock. We don’t do and special customs.
Christmas means to me peace time and it´s occasion when our family is together and I don’t go to school.
One week later we have new year´s Eve. It´s on December 31st. That day we celebrate New Year´s Eve, which means the end of the old and the beginning of the New Year. January 1st we call New Year´s Day. The night between these two days is full of celebrations. People always dance, drink or chat. Some people make New Year´s resolutions. My parents usually go out to their friends and I invite my friends to our house and we dance, drink or do some activities.
Easter is celebrated in spring; the date is stated by the church. The date is movable.
For believers it is the most important festival. We remember the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The symbol is a lamb. We also welcome the end of winter and the beginning of spring with Easter eggs as a symbol of a new life and fertility. In the Czech Republic boys usually pleat wicker twigs and girls decorate eggs and prepare ribbons. On Easter Monday boys walk house to house and they whip girls. Girls reward them with eggs, sweets and refreshments and a drink like wine or water. Sometimes we water girls and they are fresh for the rest of the year.
St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February. Its lover’s day. On this day young people send Valentine cards, buy flowers and sweets to which they like or admire. The cards have funny, loving or serious contents. The day was named after one clergy man, who was executed.
Christmas in Great Britain
Unlike the CR they don’t celebrate Christmas Eve, Children 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 drawn by reindeer and comes down the chimney and fills up the stocking with presents and toys. The main festive day is on the 25 of December – Christmas day. In the morning children like unwrapping presents and at midday Christmas dinner is served. It consists of roast turkey with stuffing and roast potatoes and Christmas pudding. There are plenty of carols on the radio and TV. The Queen makes a speech on the radio and television. On the 26 of December is called Boxing day – from the custom in earlier times of giving postmen, milkmen and servants a small sums of money which they collected in their Christmas boxes. New year´s Eve in Great Britain is not very important holiday. In London people gather in Trafalgar Square and celebrate the coming of the New Year with singing and dancing.