Holidays in America, Great Britain and Ukraine
In the United States Americans honor their mothers and grandmothers, on the second Sunday in May. Memorial Day called Decoration Day, is a day to remember those who have died in our nation's service. Holydays in Great Britain. Holidays in Ukraine.
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Theme: Holidays in America, Great Britain and Ukraine
Holydays in America
Mother's Day(May 10)
In the United States Americans honor their mothers and grandmothers, on the second Sunday in May. This day is set aside to show love and respect for mother. On Mother's Day children give thanks for the support, love, care, and guidance. Giving cards and gifts is also tradition. Children often make Mother's Day gifts in school. Pin cushions, sachets, tie clasps, decorated boxes and picture frames, recipe holders, and plaster - cast hand prints are all popular favorites. Another common gift for mothers is the “mother ring,” a ring set with the birthstones of each of the members of the family. Mother's Day was first proclaimed a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915. The idea of honoring mothers on a special day started with Ann Jarvis, from Grafton, West Virginia, who chose the second Sunday in May and began the custom of wearing a red carnation if one's mother was still living and a white carnation if one's mother was deceased. If the latter is the case, many people visit their mother's grave side and dedicate the day to their mother's memory.
Memorial Day. (May 31)
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember those who have died in our nation's service. After the Civil war many people in the North and South decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. Today, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season in the United States. It is still a time to remember those who have passed on, whether in war or otherwise. It also is a time for families to get together for picnics, ball games, and other early summer activities. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the last Monday in May. In the Spring of 1866, Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of Waterloo, NY, suggested that the patriots who had died in the Civil War should be honored by decorating their graves. On May 5 of that year, a processional was held to the town's cemeteries, led by veterans. The town observed this day of remembrance on May 5 of the following year as well. Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John 11, and was first observed officially on May 30, 1868. The South did not observe Decoration Day, preferring to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I. In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day, and soldiers who had died in other wars were also honored.
Thanksgiving Day(September 24)
.Thanksgiving Day is a four - day holiday for most Americans. This is a family holiday. Families come together from near and far. In some places special religious services are held in the morning. Then comes the traditional feast. Turkey with stuffing is the main dish. It is served with sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Apple cider is the drink of the day. Football is the most popular game on this day. Usually there are several football games to watch on TV. There is Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Stores, classrooms, and homes are decorated with turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, wreaths of dried flowers, and vegetables. Horns of plenty are also very popular.
Thanksgiving Day is marked on the fourth Thursday of November in memory of the first Thanksgiving Day held by the early Pilgrim settles in Massachusetts in 1621,in gratitude for the successful harvest. They experienced difficulty in those early times and survived only with the help of American Indians who taught them how to grow and harvest indigenous foods such as squash and corn. The first Thanksgiving day lasted three days and was celebrated with their Indian,friends. Thanksgiving was proclaimed a national day of observance by Congress in 1941.
Holydays in Great Britain
Saint Valentine Day (February 14th)
On February 14th it's Saint Valentine's Day in Britain. It is not a national holiday. Banks and offices do not close, but it is a happy little festival in honour of St. Valentine. On this day, people send Valentine cards to their husbands, wives, girlfriends and boyfriends. You can also
send a card to a person you do not know. But traditionally you must never write your name on it. Some British newspapers have got a page for Valentine's Day messages on February 14th. This lovely day is widely celebrated among people of all ages by the exchanging of “valentines”. Saint Valentine was a martyr but this feast goes back to pagan times and the Roman feast of Lupercalia. The names of young unmarried girls were put into a vase.
This custom came to Britain when the Romans invaded it. But the church moved the festival to the nearest Christian saint's day: this was Saint Valentine's Day. The first Valentine card grew out of this practice. The first true Valentine card was sent in 1415 by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife Cupid, another symbol of the holiday, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards. Claudius had determined that married men made poor soldiers. So he banned marriage from his empire. But Valentine would secretly marry young men that came to him. When Claudius found out about Valentine, he first tried to convert him to paganism. But Valentine reversed the strategy, trying instead to convert Claudius. When he failed, he was stoned and beheaded. Before he was taken to his death, he signed a farewell message to her, "From your Valentine." Although the lottery for women had been banned by the church, the mid- February holiday in commemoration of St. Valentine was still used by Roman men to seek the affection of women. It became a tradition for the men to give the ones they admired handwritten messages of affection, containing Valentine's name.
Memorial Day. (May 31)
Rest Haven Cemetery in Edinburgh, Indiana is the final resting place of many war veterans. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember those who have died in our nation's service. After the Civil war many people in the North and South decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. In the Spring of 1866, Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of Waterloo, NY, suggested that the patriots who had died in the Civil War should be honored by decorating their graves. General John B. Murray, Seneca County Clerk, embraced the idea and a committee was formed to plan a day devoted to honoring the dead. Townspeople made wreaths, crosses and bouquets for each veteran's grave. The village was decorated with flags at half must. On May 5 of that year, a processional was held to the town's cemeteries, led by veterans. The town observed this day of remembrance on May 5 of the following year as well.
Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed officially on May 30, 1868. The South did not observe Decoration Day, preferring to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I. In 1882, the name was changed to Memorial Day, and soldiers who had died in other wars were also honored. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the
last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season in the British. It is still a time to remember those who have passed on, whether in war or otherwise. It also is a time for families to get together for picnics, ball games, and other early summer activities.
Halloween! (October 31)
Most of people do not believe in devil spirits. On this day they just have a nice holiday. Children dress up as ghosts
and witches and go out into the street to beg. They from house to house and say: “Trick or treat!”, meaning “Give me a treat or I'll play a trick on you”. People give them candy, cookies and apples. This custom comes from the Celts in ancient Britain who feared the coming of winter and dressed in frightening costumes so the demons of winter would think they were one of them and do them no harm. Hence, the origin of costumes for today's celebration: It represents a devil coming to your home whom you can placate with a treat. A favorite custom is making a jack - o - lantern. Children scrape out a pumpkin and cut the outlines of eyes, nose and mouth in its side. They light a candle inside the pumpkin to scare their friends. This custom refers to a man named Jack who still wanders around the earth lighting his way with a pumpkin lantern.
The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven. It's Halloween! It's
Halloween! Halloween is the day or evening before All Saints Day. The name is a shortened version of “All Hallows Eve” the night
before All Saints Day which is celebrated on November 1st by the Catolic Church. Halloween customs date back to a time when
people believed in devils, witches and ghost. They thought that these devil spirits could do all kinds of damage to property. Some people tried to ward off witches by paintings signs on heir barns.
Holidays in Ukraine
Ivan Kupala Day
Every year a pagan fertility rite called Ivan Kupala Day is celebrated in Ukraine and Russia during the summer holidays. Depending on the calendar, the celebration either takes place on the 24th of June if you use the Julian calendar or on the 7th of July if you use the Gregorian calendar. The Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar and therefore celebrates Ivan Kupala Day in June. Although this is a pagan celebration, which originates from ancestral beliefs, the Orthodox Church has added Kupala day to many of its other celebrations. The Church has scheduled this occasion to coincide with the birth of John the Baptist in an attempt to make the celebration more of a Christian holiday. The name of the holiday `Ivan Kupala' is Slavic: `Ivan' means the same as John and `Kupala' means bathing, hence the connection to John the Baptist Ivan Kupala is also an ancient Goddess of water and literally means “Water God” from pre-Christian mythology. The evening before this Holiday the elements of fire and water are used as part of the purification process. Children participate in various cleaning rites. Boys and girls are required to run and jump over a burning bonfire. Another of these rituals involves girls standing by a river with flower garlands in hand. When children drop the garlands into the water they watch how it moves and from this they can tell what will happen in their future. These purification exercises are believed to scare away the witches, werewolves, water spirits, nymphs and wood-goblins. Participants in these celebrations believe that the evening before Ivan Kupala Day is the only time when ferns and other flora will bloom. Local inhabitants often spend the evening looking through their gardens and wandering around forested areas in hope that they will find a fern-flower. Finding a fern-flower is believed to bestow financial prosperity so do not be surprised if you are or Ukraine on the 24th of June or on the 7 July because you will see crowds of people running around the towns while enjoying Ivan Kupala Day!
1st of May - Holiday of Labour!
1st of May... For many of us this holiday has associations with demonstrations, picnics, meetings with friends, balloons and decorated cities. But let us go back into history, it is better to understand whom and what to honour this holiday is celebrated for. Only some people know that this month is named after a goddess Maya - the patroness of earth and fertility. To honour the goddess the last month of spring was named May, and people started to celebrate on the first day of May. But this was more than three thousand years ago in Italy. After ploughing up the land and sowing, ancient people celebrated the first day of May, to have good harvest. Also, traditionally, the First of May is celebrated in many European countries. Mostly, this holiday is associated with different spring colours. Nowadays this holiday is celebrated after the strike of Chicago workers. Exactly on the 1st of May, 1886 the workers of Chicago city. They organized a strike against the 15-houred working day. They wanted to have an 8-houred working day.
After that, in July, 1889 Parisian congress of II International, decided to organize annual demonstrations. For the first time the day of international worker solidarity was celebrated in 1890 in Avstro-Hungary, Belgium, Germanium, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the USA, Norway, France, Sweden and some other countries.
For a long time the 1st of May was associated with revolution and irreconcilable class struggle. This holiday is celebrated in 66 countries all over the world.
You may have heard from your grandmothers or grandfathers or lead in books or seen in TV programmes about Christmas celebrations. Why is Christmas so important in keeping these strong links to the past? Reaching back to our roots, knowing where we come from helps us know where to go. Christmas is the most beloved festival among Ukrainians. It's really a family holiday and preparation for it starts a week before the 7th of January. On Christmas eve the family gathers for a holy supper of 12 dishes. Food is one of the aspects of culture that endures the longest. If you lose the language you lose the literature and songs, but you don't have to speak Ukrainian to eat "holubtsi" or "pyrohy". Traditionally the father of the family brings in the "snip" (a bundle of wheat) and sets it in a place of honour at the table. Bread is important to Ukrainians. It comes from land and Ukrainians are close to land. So this "snip" represents the spirit of our forefathers at the holiday table. The beginning of the holy supper is signalled by the first star. Christmas eve supper starts with a lighting of the beeswax candle. The main dish is "kutia" made of honey, poppy seeds and wheat kernels boiled in pure rainwater. After a carol and Lord's prayer "the kutia" is passed and everyone takes a spoonful but nobody eats yet. The head of the family raises his spoonful and greets the family with "Christ is born". The family answers, "Glory praise him". That's the signal to start the meal. The meal is traditionally meatless and milk free. The menus vary depending on what region of Ukraine your family comes from. The most well-known dishes are "holubtsi", "varenyky" or "pyrohy". Carols usually end the evening and signal the start of a joyous season of visiting
April Fool's Day
Many people think April Fool's Day is the funniest day in a year. This holiday originated in France. When the French first adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1582, some people continued to use the old calendar and celebrated the New Year's Day on April 1. These people were called April fools. The custom of playing tricks on this day became popular in France and then spread to many other countries. Whatever the trick, if you fall for the joke the prankster cries: "April Fool!" Most April Fool jokes are in good fun and are not meant to offend anyone. Here are some typical jokes: -- Calling the zoo and asking to speak to Mr Lion.-- Putting salt in the sugar-bowl.-- Setting the clocks back an hour.-- Saying to a friend, "Oh my. You have four big holes in your oat... Buttonholes".-- Fixing a string to a wallet and leaving awalld the middle of the street. When someone tries to pick it up, the Inkster pulls it out of the reach. Some people though prefer more cruel jokes, which are called "praccal jokes". April Fool's jokes as any other jokes are as humorous or uel as the people who perform them. On this day of national good humour, television and newspapers in in the fun. British television once told the story of a building that ad been built upside-down by mistake. They showed an example of odern architecture which actually looked better when it was turned e other way. Many people must have been fooled, and, perhaps, the rchitect himself was puzzled. In all countries, in all times the best joke has always been the one hich makes everyone laugh, especially the person on whom the joke played. The famous American writer Mark Twain said, "The first of April is the day when we remember what we are the other 364 days of e year".
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