Holidays and Festivals in English Speaking Countries in Comparison with Czech Habits

27. března 2018 v 8:00 | Another |  Maturita Anglický jazyk

Holidays and Festivals in English Speaking Countries in Comparison with Czech Habits

I would like to start with special holidays and festivals for each country and then about some different traditions when it comes to international holidays.
Holidays typical for United Kingdom are Saint Patrick's Day celebrated in Ireland on the 17th of March. Saint Patrick spread education and helped establish the Christian faith; symbols are green color and shamrock. Guy Fawkes Night celebrated on 5th of November. Guy Fawkes was a man that wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. People usually celebrate it with bonfires, fireworks and children wear Guy Fawkes masks and say "Penny for a Guy", which is asking for money or candies. The last one I would like to talk about is Poppy day or Remembrance Day is observed of 11th of November. It is the day of honor for all those who were killed during the World Wars. Main symbol is of course Poppy.
Typical holidays for United States of America are Martin Luther King's day celebrated on the third Monday in January. Martin Luther King pushed for racial equality in America. Memorial Day which is similar to Poppy Day, but it is celebrated on the last Monday in May. And most important day for all Americans is Independence Day, celebrated on 4th of July. It is a day when thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as new nation and Declaration of Independence was officially signed.
Czech holidays are a reminder of important days in our history, for example Day when the 2nd World War was ended of 8th of May, Remembrance of the coming of Christianity in Great Moravia-Cyril and Methodius on 5th of July, Remembrance day when master Jan Hus was burned on 6th of July, Day when Prince Wenceslas was murdered on 28th of September and Day when the Czechoslovakia was formed on 28th of October.
When it comes to Easter in United States, Christians are reminded of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The symbol is an egg that symbolizes beginning of life. Easter is celebrated on the Sunday of following the fourth full moon after Christmas. When the date on which a holiday is celebrated changes from year to year as it is in this case, it is called a movable feast. About a week before Easter, people start decorating eggs. Usually people dye the eggs bright colors. The Easter bunny is a little like Santa Claus. He comes on Saturday night before Easter. He leaves the children a basket full of chocolates and other candies. He hides all the decorated eggs. Nobody ever saw him, because he always hops away quickly. On Sunday morning, all the eggs have been hidden and then it's time to look for them. Even people who don't go to church often go on Easter Sunday. Most people celebrate Easter with their families. After they return from church, and after all of the eggs have been found, it is time for Easter Dinner. In the United States, ham is a traditional Easter food. In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration, and the fresh pork that wasn't consumed during the winter months before Lent was cured for spring. Easter in United Kingdom is pretty much the same as in the United States, only the traditional food is lamb. And Easter in Czech Republic is culminated on Monday. Young, live willow twigs are thought to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. A pomlázka (from pomladit which means make younger) is braided whip made from willow twigs. Men and boys walk around the neighborhood and use them to gently beat women and girls and say or sing Easter carols. As a reward they receive painted eggs and colored ribbon, adults are usually offered a shot of strong alcohol and kids get additional chocolate. Girls and women can pour water or perfume on the men and boys after the lunch hours. Traditional lunch is chicken with stuffing.
Halloween has interesting origin. It is believed to have started a long time ago, when November 1st was considered to be the first day of the year. On that day, called "All Hallow's Day" all of the souls of the people who had died during the year would be judged and go to heaven or hell. On the night before, October 31st, All Hallow's Evening could be called All Hallow's Even and that got shortened to Hallow's E'en, which became the word Halloween. These souls had a chance to return to the living one last time and say goodbye. Many people were afraid that the dead souls might be angry at them, so they started to leave fruit, candy and other treats out as a kind of bribe. They were afraid that if they didn't the spirits might haunt the town forever, so some of the bravest would make lanterns out of hollow pumpkins and walk through the town out of the graveyard, hoping to lead the spirits back to their resting places. Sometimes they carved frightening faces in the pumpkins, or dressed up as ghosts themselves, so that the spirits would be more likely to follow them. Today in United States on Halloween especially children dress up in costumes. Some people at least put a hollow pumpkin (also known as Jack O'Lantern) in front of the house. Children go through the neighborhood in costumes, knock on doors and say "Trick or Treat". If the people in the house don't give them candy, then the children do something bad to them, a prank of some sorts, like put soap on their windows, or smash their pumpkin and sometimes even worse things. In United Kingdom this holiday is usually called All Soul's Day. Families visit cemeteries where they lay candles and flowers. The holiday is celebrated on the first of November as well. Most people in UK don't celebrate in any other way; however there are some small communities that celebrate Halloween the same way it is in the United States. Halloween in Czech is basically the same like in United Kingdom, but younger people like to some Halloween parties with costumes and so on.
Christmas in United States is celebrated on Christmas Day, December 25th. Christmas is a religious holiday, but many people who are not Christian celebrate the secular aspect of Christmas gift-giving. People give Christmas gifts to their family, friends and coworkers. Christmas is also a time then a lot of people give money and gifts to charities. Many churches and charities give out special meals for the poor and homeless, so that on this special holiday, no one needs to be hungry or alone. Children open their gifts in the morning of Christmas day and believe Santa Claus gave it to them. They often leave cookies and glass of milk for Santa to eat when he's delivering the gifts in the night. Christmas in UK is similar to Christmas in USA, only food and few traditions are different. Christmas dinner consists of roast turkey, roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts and Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and mince pie. Christmas in Czech is followed up with home-made sweets, decorating tree, singing carols and sometimes not eating whole day to increase their appetite for Christmas Dinner or in case of kids to see the golden pig. Christmas dinner consists of Fried cart with potato salad and fish soup. People open their presents after dinner.

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