Holidays, festivals and traditions – otázka z angličtiny



  Otázka: Holidays, festivals and traditions

  Jazyk: Angličtina

  Přidal(a): Eliška Růžičková




  • – every year, there are days which are socially or religiously outstanding and significant
  • – people celebrate them regularly acc. to particular traditions
  • – those habits along with celebrated days aren’t usually common and the same for the whole world
  • → a day very important for one country can be absolutely ordinary for the others
  • – furthermore: one festival which originates from the same basis or event can be celebrated in diverse ways
  • – apart from national holidays and festivals, also days connected only with a certain person have their significance – by this I mean various anniversaries, B-days and as for the CZ, name days as well
  • – I don’t come from a wide family
  • – we celebrate almost every anniversaries or birthdays together
  • – we always gather at my uncle’s flat or we book a restaurant
  • -one of the advantages of holidays → set aside by law (people don’t have to work and have time with their families)


As for the CZ

  • – 8 national holidays connected with our history
  • – an interesting situation occurs at the beginning of July though we (students) don’t realize it so much in summer holidays
  • → two national holidays in a row (5th and 6th)
  • 5th July  – reminds us of the arrival of Slavic apostles Cyril and Methodius from 863
  • – important → influenced cultural development in our country
  • 6th July  = the day when Jan Hus was executed
  • – he was protesting against the church which was too greedy and corrupted
  • – after a trial when he refused to take back what he said about it, he was burned to death
  • 28th October – we commemorate the establishment of the independent republic of Czechoslovakia     in 1918
  • – in this year, the boarders of new state were set according to the Treaty of Versailles
  • – result of the World War I and culminating dissatisfaction of both Czech and Slovak nation in the Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • 17th October 1989  = the day when students went to the streets to protest against the communist regime
  • – the demonstrations developed into an event called Velvet Revolution and let into the fall of regime and establishment of the Czech Republic 4 years later



  • – despite the fact they have common history with the UK, they celebrate a few special festivals which they put emphasis on:

4th July: Independence Day

  • – the most important holiday for American (each state its own ceremony, parade)
  • – commemorates Declaration of Independence in 1776 and establishing USA
  • – concerts and fireworks in the evening take place
  • – politician and celebrities give public speeches about America’s freedom


Thanksgiving day (4th Thursday in November)

  • = day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest
  • – remembers the first settlers who came to America 1620
  • – brought by the ship called Mayflower
  • – the winter was cold, they were starving, half of them died
  • – in spring – thanks to the help and advice of Indians – planted corn
  • – in autumn they could harvest for the 1st time
  • – they celebrated the success with a great feast and a lot of food which called Thanksgiving
  • – nowadays a national holiday in the USA and Canada
  • – families gather to give their thanks for their happiness and good being, many of them begin dinner with a prayer
  • – traditional food: turkey + pumpkins, squashes, cranberry sauce
  • – curiosity: tradition – president of the USA gives pardon to the turkey → saves bird’s life and ensure that it will spend its whole life roaming freely on farmland



5th November: Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire night)

  • – 1605: Guy Fawkes, a leader of the Gunpowder plot (unsuccessful plot of Catholics to assassinate Protestant king James I)
  • – G. Fawkes was betrayed, tortured and executed
  • – people lit bonfires around London celebrating the fact that the king had survived
  • – nowadays> set off fireworks, light bonfires with effigy called The Guy


11th November: Remembrance Day (Poppy Day)

  • – people remind soldiers who died in WWs
  • – it has been celebrated since the year 1920
  • symbol: poppy – according to a poem – were growing in Flanders
  • – people tack them on their clothes or tie them to wreaths
  • – let’s move to internationally celebrated festivals. To start chronologically:


14th February: St. Valentine’s Day

  • – also called Lover’s day, Sweat-heart’s day
  • – commemorates the Roman priest Valentine
  • – in that age, Caesar Claudius forbid the soldiers to marry women (afraid that they wouldn’t go to war)
  • – Valentine didn’t obey and secretly married couples
  • – this was revealed and he was executed
  • – now: time to show your feelings to your beloved ones
  • – people send Valentine cards anonymously + gifts (tulips)
  • – serious or just a joke



  • – celebrated after the 1st full moon in spring → usually in April
  • – thought it’s considered to be strictly Christian festival, it has pre-Christian roots (people celebrate the arrival of spring and awakening of nature)
  • – the faithful people commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ
  • Good Friday   = day when Christ was crucified
  • – people all around the world go to church and some of them fast
  • – on the other hand: Easter Sunday  = day of the resurrection of Jesus
  • – children wake up early and look for dyed and decorated eggs or various sweets hidden in the house
  • symbols: cross, Easter bunny, eggs – symbol for fertility and rebirth


31st of October: Halloween

  • – important esp. in USA. Conn. to witches and ghosts. People go to parties wearing strange or scary costumes and play games. Sometimes: group children – wear sheets – streets – knock on the door – Trick or treat. When they don’t get anything – play a trick – very noisy or spill flour on the front of the doorsteps. Symbols: Jack O’lantern – hollowed out pumpkin with a candle inside. Christian celebrated it as the Eve of All Saints Day – 1st November  – people remember the death ones.

24th December: Christmas

  • – derived from the words Christ’s Mass = the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ
  • – combination of Christian + pagan habits, born of Jesus
  • symbols:   Christmas tree = eternal life (evergreen throughout the year)
  • mistletoe = love, reconciliation
  • candles = light (pre-Christian roots)
  • – people give each other presents and gifts – Roman saturnalia, good luck gifts were given: fruit, pastry or gold
  • – in Britain presents are given on 25th December, 26th = Boxing Day (priests of Middle Ages opened alms boxes to give to the poor)
  • – spend pre-Christmas time by listening to carols, decorating their houses (nativity scene, trees decorated by coloured ornaments…)
  • – traditional meal of GB: minced pies (raisins, currants, sugar, candied peel and apples), pudding (currants, raisins, sultanas, eggs ,spices, suet + COINS)
  • – story about Santa, hanging stockings on beds, larger gifts are to be found under the tree, leaving minced pies for Santa


New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day

  • – celebrating starts several hours before the midnight of 31st December
  • – parties, drinking alcohol with friends
  • – “official” celebration starts at midnight (set off firework, toast with champagne)
  • 1st January (New Year’s Day) – sleep long to recover from the hard partying
  • – eating lentils will bring money, in the CZ: some people don’t eat poultry = luck would fly away
  • – people make New Year’s Day resolutions and then try to fulfil them
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