Статьи Топики Разговорник Библиотека

National holidays

In Russia, as in every other country, there are many holidays: interesting, funny, patriotic or dedicated to an historical event. For example, in Russia there are such holidays as Women's day, Victory Day, Independence Day, April's Fool's day, and many others.

I like all holidays. But most of all I like New Year‘s Eve. New Year‘s Eve is a holiday for everyone. People all over the world welcome the New Year, that's why I think it's the most uniting holiday in the world, because in this moment every person can say that he loves everyone. I think it is an international holiday. But in different countries the New Year is celebrated on different days, for example it can be celebrated on the 1st of September. I've heard that from 2001, the New Year will be celebrated on the 1st of March by all countries all over the world. But to tell the truth I don't believe it.

There are lots of New Year traditions in Russia. In every home there is a New Year tree glittering in coloured lights and decorations. Children always wait for Father Frost to come and give them a present. Many people consider New Year‘s Eve to be a family holiday. But most of the young prefer to spend New Year‘s Eve in the company of their friends. Personally, I prefer to spend New Year’s Eve with my family, because I think I must spend as much time as possible with them as in the future I'll have to leave them to begin my own life and these holidays may be the last.

A Holiday is a day set apart for religious observance or for the commemoration of some extraordinary event or distinguished person, or for some other public occasion. National holidays are days set aside by official government proclamation to celebrate different occasions.

The U.S. has many national holidays, some of which are legal holidays - days on which banks, schools, or other public institutions and most places of business are closed.

Memorial Day is a legal holiday, observed annually on the last Monday in May. It honours the nation's armed servicemen killed in wartime. The holiday, originally called Decoration Day, is traditionally marked by parades, memorial speeches and ceremonies, and the decoration of graves with flowers and flags. Memorial Day was first observed on May 30, 1868, on the order of General John Alexander Logan for the purpose of decorating the graves of the American Civil War dead. It was observed on May 30 until 1971, when most states changed to a newly established federal schedule of holiday observance.

Independence Day is an annual holiday commemorating the formal adoption by the Continental Congress of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia. Although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the Fourth of July holiday has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence and is celebrated in all states and territories of the U.S. The Fourth of July is traditionally celebrated with parades, pageants, patriotic speeches, the organized firing of guns and cannons, and displays of fireworks. Family picnics and outings are a feature of private Fourth of July celebrations.

Thanksgiving Day, a legal holiday in the U.S., was first celebrated in early colonial times in New England. The actual origin is probably the harvest festivals that are traditional in many parts of the world. After the first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists in 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving, and since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, generally designating the fourth Thursday of November as a holiday.

New Year's Day is the first day of the year, January 1 in the Gregorian calendar. In the Middle Ages most European countries used the Julian calendar and observed New Year's Day on March 25, called Annunciation Day and celebrated as the birth to the Son of God. With the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582, Roman Catholic countries began to celebrate New Year's Day on January 1. The custom of visiting friends, relatives and neighbours on New Year's Day is one of the Old World traditions that have taken on a new form in the United States. A favourite place to see the old year out is New York City's Time Square.

Christmas is an annual festival, held on December 25, to celebrate the Nativity, or birth of Christ. The Christmas tree, an evergreen trimmed with lights and other decorations, is derived from the so-called paradise tree, symbolizing Eden.

Saint Valentine's Day, a holiday honouring lovers, is celebrated on February 14. There is a custom of sending greeting cards or gifts to express affection. The cards, known as valentines, are often designed with hearts to symbolize love. The festival gradually became associated with the feast day (February 14) of two Roman martyrs, both named St. Valentine, who lived in the 3rd century. St. Valentine has traditionally been regarded as the patron saint of lovers.

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