Holidays and Festivals

BRITISH HOLIDAYS

Bank holidays are public holidays in Britain, originally called so as banks were closed on these special days.

Trooping the Color is the Queen's official birthday celebration on the 6th of June. It takes place at Whitehall with a Horse Guards Parade.

Easter is celebrated on the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon in spring, but it actually starts on Ash Wednesday which is 40 days before Easter when Christians start their Lent.
It is an ancient pagan celebration of spring and new life.
The Christians remember Christ's crucifixion and his resurrection.
Palm Sunday is one week before Easter, when Christ arrived in Jerusalem.
Maundy Thursday is when people remember the Last Supper.
Good Friday represents the day on which Christ was crucified. Easter Sunday and Easter Monday are bank holidays.
Easter Sunday celebrates Christ’s.
Pertaining to Easter Monday, children believe that while they were sleeping, the Easter Bunny hid eggs in the house and they go searching for them. This is called an Easter egg hunt. In Britain, people eat Hot Cross Buns.

Christmas

Starts on the 24th of December – on Christmas Eve when families decorate their houses with brightly colored paper, paper balls and chains, springs of holly with red berries, ivy, mistletoe, and of course, the Christmas tree. They say that people who stand under the mistletoe should kiss. On the mantelpiece, there are Christmas cards wishing a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Shops are open until late in the evening so that last minute shopping for presents can be done. Harrod's is closed when the Queen does her shopping there. In every house, there is a nativity scene or the crib with the Three Wise Men, shepherds, sheep, cows, camels, and baby Jesus.

Santa Claus or Father Christmas will come down the chimney and bring some presents for them. There are X-mas stockings hanging from their beds and larger presents are under the tree. Children get up very early in the morning to open the presents and play with their new toys.

On Christmas Day, they have Christmas dinner usually at noon or in the evening. They have roast turkey, potatoes and vegetables followed by Christmas pudding.

Boxing Day is on the 26th of December, and it is the second Christmas holiday, named after the tradition of giving dustmen, newspaper boys, milkmen, and postmen, etc. small sums of money in boxes.

On New Year's Eve people go to parties and they stay up till midnight to see away the old year and to drink a toast to the New Year. They gather in squares, link arms and sing ”Auld Lang Syne”.

The Edinburgh International Festival is celebrated from the 12th of August to the 2nd of September. It's a festival of Scottish music and dancing. The Scots dress in tartan kilts and compete in their typical sports: tossing the caber, throwing the hammer or, tug-of-war.

AMERICAN HOLIDAYS

Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January to commemorate a black clergyman who tried to fight for the civil rights of his people and was later assassinated.

Independence Day

Commemorates the victory over the British in the American Civil War and the signing of the ”Declaration of Independence“ in 1776. It's a day of picnics, parades, flying the flag, parties, barbecues, concerts, and fireworks. It's celebrated on the 4th of July.

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the last Thursday of November and it's the second most important holiday of the year after Christmas. When the Pilgrims fathers settled in America in 1620 they suffered a lot during their first winter and half of them died. The next year the Native Americans taught them how to plant corn and other crops and they celebrated their first Thanksgiving Day. Now it is the day of gifts, charity, and food for the poor people.

CZECH HOLIDAYS

The pagan Easter tradition is at the moment stronger than the Christian one. In the Czech Republic, boys prepare plaited willow whips and on Easter Monday they go from house to house and whip girls using rattles as music. As a treat, they get an egg, money, a drink, or a ribbon. While whipping, they have to recite a poem.

Czech Christmas is about the same as in England. We decorate the house with advent wreaths, candles, and sprigs, and the Christmas tree with chains, balls, chocolates, stars, angels, and other ornaments.
Our dinner is breaded carp with potato salad. We get presents on Christmas Eve in the evening after Christmas dinner. After the dinner, Baby Jesus rings a bell to announce that the presents are already there. In general, you should fast until dinner to be able to see the golden pig. Girls used to toss the shoe on Christmas Eve or cut apples.

St. Valentine's Day is a lover's feast named after an early Christian martyr. On the 14th of February people give presents to the people they love.

Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The tradition started in America.

On May Day, the 1st of May, people put a tall maypole decorated with colorful ribbons and flowers in the centre of the town.

Halloween starts on the 31st of October. It is also called All Hallows Eve.
The 1st of November is All Saints Day and the 2nd of November is All Souls Day when the Christian Church honors the dead.




Přidal: Valinale 12. 5. 2011
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