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Public holidays in English-speaking countries

    Every country has its typical holiday when some memorable event is celebrated. Then there are some holidays which are celebrated all over the world - for example Christmas or Easter. These two are religious festivals celebrated mainly by Christians.
    Christmas is celebrated in December. It is the celebration of Christ's birth, but also a family holiday. On Christmas Eve (Dec 24) people in the Czech Republic usually give presents to one another. This is not the same in Great Britain where people only decorate the Christmas tree on 24th December but they get presents on 25th December (Christmas Day). They believe that Father Christmas (in the USA it's Santa Claus) comes down the chimney the previous night and puts the presents under the Christmas tree. Father Christmas wears a red suit and rides a sleigh with four reindeer. On Christmas Eve, he sets out from the North Pole and visits children's homes. He goes down the chimney and leaves presents in the stockings that children hang up at their beds. So children in Great Britain open their presents on Christmas Day in the morning. At noon families have their traditional Christmas dinner - roast turkey and Christmas pudding. They also sing carols - such as Jingle Bells or Silent Night. In the Czech republic, however, the traditional Christmas dinner is carp (or another fish) with potato salad.
    Easter is a symbol of spring and new life. Christians remember Christ's death and his return to life. The traditional symbol of Easter is the Easter egg. In Britain, the eggs are usually made of chocolate and are given to friends and relatives on Easter Sunday. In the USA, many homes organize Easter egg hunt - children look for hard-boiled eggs hidden around the house.
    New Year's Eve is the night of merry-making all over the world. People make New Year's resolutions but they rarely keep them. In Scotland, they have family parties and at twelve o'clock they sing “Auld Lang Syne”. They call the last day of the year Hogmanay and the first visitor on New Year brings good luck.
    Halloween is celebrated both in Great Britain and in the USA. This day, October 31st, is a night of traditional fun and games. Children wear masks and they dress up in costumes of ghosts and witches. They go from house to house with pumpkin lanterns. They knock the doors and say: “Trick or treat”. They want to get some treat -  some sweets or money, or they can play some trick on a person - for example ring the bell and run away. This pagan holiday marks the beginning of winter.
    Saint Valentine's Day is not a public holiday, but it's a special day for people who are in love. People send greeting cards called Valentines to people they like or admire. Or people give gifts to one another. This holiday is celebrated on 14th February.
     Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated only in Great Britain and it is also called Bonfire Night. A figure of a guy is put on a bonfire and then it's burnt. There are also a lot of fireworks. This holiday commemorates November 5, 1605, when Guy Fawkes wanted to blow up the Parliament with gunpowder. But he was found in the cellar and he was executed.
     Saint Patrick's Day  is celebrated in Ireland and in the USA, where many Irish people imigrated in 19th century. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland because he brought Christianity to this country. On his holiday people make parades in the cities and they drink a lot of whisky.
    In the USA, there are some more special holidays:
Independence Day is the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, celebrated on July 4th.
Thanksgiving Day remembers the first settlers in the USA, the Pilgrim Fathers, who came to America in 1620. They survived their first winter thanks to the Indians and so they celebrated thanksgiving together. Today it's a family holiday. The whole family goes together and they enjoy a traditional dinner which is roast turkey. They speak about the things for which they are thankful. This is the day of gifts and food for poor people.

public holiday státní svátek pumpkin lantern dýòová lucerna
memorable památný knock klepat
event událost pagan pohanský; pohan
celebrate oslavovat admire obdivovat
religious náboženský one another navzájem
decorate zdobit guy chlapec
chimney komín bonfire vatra
previous pøedchozí burn, burnt, burnt pálit; shoøet
sleigh spøežení firework ohòostroj
reindeer sob commemorate pøipomínat
stockings punèochy blow up vyhodit (do vzduchu)
hang up (hung, hung) viset gunpowder støelný prach
carols koledy cellar sklep; sklepení
carp kapr executed popraven
relatives pøíbuzní anniversary výroèí
hunt lovit;lov settler osadník
hard-boiled natvrdo uvaøený survive pøežít
merry veselý thanksgiving díkùvzdání
resolution pøedsevzetí together spoleènì
rarely zøídka whole celý
ghost duch roast turkey peèený krocan
witch èarodìjnice thankful vdìèný

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