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Public holidays and celebrations - Реферат

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

I. Britain round the calendar.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS AND CELEBRATIONS

There are only six public holidays a year in Great Britain, that is days on which people need not go in to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Spring Bank Holiday and Late Summer Bank Holiday. In Scotland, the New Year's Day is also a public holiday. Most of these holidays are of religious origin, though it would be right to say that for the greater part of the population they have long lost their religious significance and are simply days on which people relax, eat, drink and make merry. All the public holidays, except Christmas Day and Boxing Day observed on December 25th and 26th respectively, are movable, that is they do not fall on the same day each year. Good Friday and Easter Monday depend on Easter Sunday which falls on the first Sunday after a full moon on or after March 21st. the Spring Bank Holiday falls on the last Monday of May or on the first Monday of June, while the Late Summer Bank Holiday comes on the last Monday in August or on the first Monday in September, depending on which of the Mondays is nearer to June 1st and September 1st respectively.

Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries and simply days, for example Pancake Day and Bonfire Night, on which certain traditions are observed, but unless they fall on a Sunday, they are ordinary working days.

NEW YEAR

In England the New Year is not as widely or as enthusiastically observed as Christmas. Some people ignore it completely and go to bed at the same time as usual on New Year's Eve. Many others, however, do celebration it in one way or another, the type of celebration varying very much according to the local custom, family traditions and personal taste.

The most common type of celebration is a New Year party, either a family party or one arranged by a group of young people. This usually begins at about eight o'clock and goes on until the early hours of the morning. There is a lot of drinking, mainly beer, wine, gin and whisky; sometimes the hosts make a big bowl of punch which consists of wine, spirits, fruit juice and water in varying proportions. There is usually a buffer of cold meat, pies, sandwiches, savouries, cakes and biscuits. At midnight the wireless is turned on, so that everyone can hear the chimes of Big Ben, and on the hour a toast is drunk to the New Year. Then the party goes on.

Another popular way of celebrating the New Year is to go to a New Year's dance. Most hotels and dance halls hold a special dance on New Year's Eve. The hall is decorated, there are several different bands and the atmosphere is very gay.

The most famous celebration is in London round the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus where crowds gather and sing and welcome the New Year. In

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

Trafalgar Square there is also a big crowd and someone usually falls into the fountain.

Those who have no desire or no opportunity to celebrate the New Year themselves can sit and watch other people celebrating on television. It is an indication of the relative unimportance of the New Year in England that the television producers seem unable to find any traditional English festivities for their programmers and usually show Scottish ones.

January 1st, New Year's Day, is not a public holiday, unfortunately for those who like to celebrate most of the night. Some people send New Year cards and give presents but this is not a widespread custom. This is the traditional time for making "New Year resolutions", for example, to give up smoking, or to get up earlier. However, these are generally more talked about than put into practice.

Also on New Year's Day the "New Year Honours List" is published in the newspapers; i.e. a list of those who are to be given honours of various types – knighthoods, etc.

In CanadaNew Year's Day has a long tradition of celebration. New Year's Eve in French Canada was (and still is) marked by the custom of groups of young men, to dress in COLOURful attire and go from house to house, singing and begging gifts for the poor. New Year's Day was (and is) a time for paying calls on friends and neighbours and for asking the blessing of the head of the family. The early Governors held a public reception for the men of the community on New Year's morning, a custom preserved down to the present day. While New Year's Day is of less significance in English Canada than in French Canada, it's a public holiday throughout the country. Wide spread merry-making begins on New Year's Eve with house parties, dinner dances and special theatre entertainment. A customary feature of the occasion that suggests the Scottish contribution to the observation is the especially those that couldn't be arranged for Christmas, are held on New Year's Day. New Yearisn't such important holiday in England as Christmas. Some people don't celebrate it at all.

In USAmany people have New Year parties. A party usually begins at about 8 o'clock and goes on until early morning. At midnight they listen to the chimes of Big Ben, drink a toast to the New Year and Sing Auld Lang Syne.

In London crowds usually gather round the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus and welcome the New Year.

There are some traditions on New Year's Day. One of them is the old First Footing. The first man to come into the house is very important. The Englishman believes that he brings luck. This man (not a woman) must be healthy, young, pretty looking. He brings presents-bread, a piece of coal or a coin. On the New Year's Day families watch the old year out and the New Year in.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

In Scotland the New Year's Day is also a public holiday. Some people ignore it completely and go to bed at the same time as usual on New Year's Eve. Many others, however, do celebrate it in one way or another, the type of celebration varying very much according to the local custom, family tradition and personal taste.

The most common type of celebration is a New Year party, either a family party or one arranged by a group of young people. This usually begins at about eight o'clock and goes on until the early hours of the morning. There is a lot of drinking, mainly beer, wine, gin and whisky; sometimes the hosts make a big bowl of punch which consists of wine, spirits, fruit juice and water in varying proportions. There is usually a buffet supper of cold meat, pies, sandwiches, savories, cakes and biscuits. At midnight the wireless is turned on, so that everyone can hear the chimes of Big Ben, and on the hour a toast is drunk to the New Year. Then the party goes on.

Hogmanay Celebrations

Hogmanay is a Scottish name for New Year's Eve, and is a time for merrymaking, the giving of presents and the observance of the old custom of First – Footing. One of the most interesting of Scottish Hogmanay celebrations is the Flambeaux Procession at Comrie, Perthshire. Such processions can be traced back to the time of the ancient Druids. There is a procession of townsfolk in fancy dress carrying large torches. They are led by pipers. When the procession has completed its tour, the flambeaux (torches) are thrown into a pile, and everyone dances around the blaze until the torches have burned out.

The Night of Hogmanay

Nowhere else in Britain is the arrival of the New Year celebrated so wholeheartedly as in Scotland.

Throughout Scotland, the preparations for greeting the New Year start with a minor "spring-cleaning". Brass and silver must be glittering and fresh linen must be put on the beds. No routine work may be left unfinished; stockings must be darned, tears mended, clocks wound up, musical instruments tuned, and pictures hung straight. In addition, all outstanding bills are paid, overdue letters written and borrowed books returned. At least, that is the idea!

Most important of all, there must be plenty of good things to eat. Innumerable homes "reek of celestial grocery" – plum puddings and currant buns, spices and cordials, apples and lemons, tangerines and toffee. In mansion and farmhouse, in suburban villa and city tenement, the table is spread with festive fare. Essential to Hogmanay are "cakes and kebbuck" (oatcakes and cheese), shortbread, and either black bun or currant loaf. There are flanked with bottles of wine and the "mountain dew" that is the poetic name for whisky.

Holidays and traditions in English – speaking countries.

In the cities and burghs, the New Year receives a communal welcome, the traditional gathering-place being the Mercat Cross, the hub and symbol of the old burgh life. In Edinburgh, however, the crowd has slid a few yards down the hill from the Mercat Cross to the Tron Kirk – being lured thither, no doubt, by the four-faced clock in the tower. As the night advances, Princes Street becomes as thronged as it normally is at noon, and there is growing excitement in the air. Towards midnight, all steps turn to the Tron Kirk, where a lively, swaying crowd awaits "the Chaplin o' the Twal" (the striking of 12 o'clock). As the hands of the clock in the tower approach the hour, a hush falls on the waiting throng, the atmosphere grows tense, and then suddenly there comes a roar from a myriad throats. The bells forth, the sirens scream – the New Year is born!

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