Bank holidays are public holidays in Britain, originally called so as banks were closed on these special day.
Easter is celebrated on the 1st Sunday after the first full moon in spring but it starts on Ash Wednesday 40 days before Easter. It is a Christian festival, marking the crucifixion and resurgence of Christ. Many people go to church. Good Friday – Christ was crucified on that day, Easter Sunday – his resurrection, Easter Monday and Good Friday are bank holidays. On Good Friday hot cross buns are eaten for breakfast. Children believe that the Easter Bunny has hidden eggs in the house and go searching for them. This is called egg hunt.
Christmas before Christmas, children write letters to Father Christmas, who is the British version of Santa Claus. December 24 is called Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day (December 25), children get up as early as possible in the morning and they sing Christmas carrols. They open the gifts which were left there by Father Christmas the night before. When all the gifts are opened, Christmas dinner is eaten. This is roast turkey, potatoes, vegetable and Christmas pudding. Christmas pudding is special cake traditionally prepared a long time before Christmas. When it is served on Christmas day, some brandy can be poured over it. Boxing day is the 26th of December and it’s named after the tradition of giving dustmen, newspaper boys, milkmen, postmen,etc. Small sums of money in boxes. On New Year’s Eve people stay up till midnight to see the odl year out and drink a toast to the New Year.
Guy Fawkes Day also called „Bonfire Night“ – celebrated on November 5. It is named after Guy Fawkes who wanted to blow up the Parliament and the King in 1605.
Martin Luther King Day is celebrated in January to commemorate a black clergyman who fight for civil rights of his people, the blacks and he was assassinated.
President’s Day is official birthday of all American presidents. The ceremonies take place in February.
Independence Day commemorates the signing of „Declaration of Independence“. It’s celebrate in July.
Labour Day it’s celebrated in September.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on last Thursday in November. Pilgrim Fathers settled in America in 1620. The winter was cold and half of them died. In spring they planted corn and other plants with helps and advice from the Indians. In autumn they celebrated good harvest and had a feast with much food. They called this day their day of Thanksgiving. It is family holiday the whole family gathers together and enjoys a traditional dinner – roast turkey, bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
Easter is celebrated in early spring. On Easter Monday, men and boys go from house to house and hit the women with a stick (made of woven willows) so that the girls and women stay young and beautiful. Then the girls give them coloured (dyed) eggs – either real eggs or made of chocolate.
Christmas In the Czech Republic, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December. We start to prepare for Christmas four weeks before this day. This time is called „Advent“. Children have „Christmas Calendars“ – it has 24 windows and every day, children open a window and find a piece of chocolate. Traditionally, during the time of Advent, Czech women clean and decorated house and bake Christmas sweets. Before Christmas or on 24 December, a Christmas tree is decorated with Christmas ornaments, chocolate candies, gingerbread or candles. If you don´t eat meat on this day,you will see the „golden pig“ in the evening. A traditional Christmas diner is fried carp with potato salad. After Christmas dinner, presents are opened. Some people go to church later in the evening for midnight mass.
The other and international holidays
Sain Patrick’s Day is a typical Irish holiday. People are dressed in green. St Patrick was a roman born in England, he was a Christian bishop who spread Christianity.
St Valentine’s Day is a lover’s day. On 14th February people give presents to the people they love.
April Fool’s Day on that day you are alowed to pull jokes and pranks. It’s very popular.
Halloween it starts on 31th October. In the evening children light pumpkin lanterns called jack-ólanterns to chase away witches and evil spirits, they dress up as saints, angels, devils, witches and ghosts. They knock on the door and say: „Tick or treat!“ and if they aren’t given candies, popcorn or cookies, they will play a trick. 1st November is All Saints Day and 2nd November All Souls Day.
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