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Holidays

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24. Holidays Christmas is the most important holiday in Britain and America. However, the English have no traditional celebration on Christmas Eve. December 24th has never been a holiday. A lot of people spend the day shopping. Before English children go to bed on Christmas Eve, they hang up Christmas stockings with presents at the end of their beds and they 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 stockings with presents and toys. Christmas trees are often decorated with fairy lights, bright coloured ornaments, bells, stars and angels. Sweets and fruit orsparkles are not hung on the tree.Holly is used as a decoration as well. A sprig ofmistletoeis hung in a central position over the door. If you catch a girl under it, you are allowed to kiss her. December 25thisChristmas Day.In the morning children unwrap their presents. Christmas dinner is a great occasion. It consists of roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and roast potatoes and Christmas pudding. On Christmas Day the monarch addresses the nation and the Commonwealth on radio and television. December 26th isBoxing Day from thecustom in earlier times of giving postmen, milkmen, dustmen… and similar people small sum of money into their “Christmas boxes”. December 31st is calledNew Year’s Eve. People often go to parties and get drunk. At midnight there is a countdown. Then peopletoast with champagne glasses, kiss and sing. OnJanuary 1st, New Year’s Day people makeNew Year’s Resolutions. Valentine’s Day is February 14th. It is a day for lovers. People give Valentine’s cards and presents and try to do something romantic. Easter isa religious holiday, primarily a Christian festival, marking the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, and many people go to church. It is also a welcome spring holiday. The date is different every year but Easter always comes between March 22 and April 25. In the Czech Republic, boys hit girls withwillow branches(a cane) and girls give them dyed, painted or chocolate Easter eggs. April Fool’s Day is 1st April. People try to fool each other with practical jokes. July 4th is Independence Day. On that day, America celebrates independence from Britain. Americans have picnics, parades, parties, barbecue and fireworks. October 31st is Halloween. Children go from door-to-door dressed as ghosts and witches. They say “Trick or treat” and people give them candy. Adults often havecostume parties. Some people put “jack o´lanterns” on their doorsteps. These are emptypumpkins with a face and acandle inside. Thanksgiving is the most completely American holiday. It always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a family holiday, and for many families it is the occasion for large reunions. It is more important holiday than Christmas even for Christian families. Many people prefer to travel on their Christmas holiday, but everyone is with his or her family on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the first commemoration of the first autumn of the Pilgrims in America, who settled in Massachusetts. Their first winter was quite a shock! They had not planted enough crops, so they were facing hunger and starving. Fortunately, local Indians gave them enough food to survive the winter. When the Indians first brought them food, there was a great feast – the basis of Thanksgiving – the feast, where food cuts across all religious and ethnic lines. Typical food is turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. People are thankful for being well, for having friends and families, and for being in America. But it is not pleasant holiday for women. They spend all day cooking while men spend Thanksgiving Day eating, drinking and watching football and next day taking stomach medicines.

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