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New Year! Celebration the first day of a new year is an age-old custom. We gather at midnight on New Yea’s Eve to drink a toast to the coming year. We think about how we have lived during the past year and look forward to the next twelve mouths. With a new year, we can expect a new life.
We give and receive gifts and make New Year’s resolution to break bad habits or to start good ones in the following year. In old Denmark, people threw all their broken dishes against their friend doors! The family with the biggest pile on their doorstep had to invite everyone for refreshments.
Long ago, in Germany, young men prepared a gift of a wheel with a gold star in the middle, surround by apples on spikes. They would leave these wheels at their sweethearts’ doors, fire their gun, and run away. If the girl caught up with the man, it meant that they would be married during the year.
In Russia, there ones were a custom to tie the feet of people sitting at the table on New Year’s Eve. This was to make sure that they would get together again at this table the following year. American colonists in New England celebrated the coming of the New Year by firing guns into the air and shouting. Guns were also fired in some Scandinavian cities. St. Petersburg welcomes the New Year with one hundred cannon shots at midnight.
Halloween! On Halloween children dress up in costumes and go from door or door at dusk gleefully calling “Trick or Treat!” the holiday got its name from “All Hallows Evening” or the evening before All Saint Day, November 1, according to the western European Christian church calendar.
October the 31 was the eve of the Celtic New year, a time when ghost or evil spirits walked the earth and mingled mischievously with the living. Costumes and jack-o-lanterns thought to protect people from any harm they might cause. A jack-o-lantern is a face carved into one side of a hollowed out pumpkin in which a lighted candle has been placed.
Children still go beginning for treats. However, over the last few years, school, church and neighborhood parties are replacing the custom of trick or treating from house to house. More and more adults are also celebrating Halloween with masqueraded parties in which they dress up like political and historical figures, or just plain old scary fellows from recent horror films like ghost, vampires, goblins, Frankenstein and etc. Witches flying on broom-sticks with black cats, skeletons, spider and haunted house are other symbols of Halloween.
Thanksgiving Day! Imagine a day set aside for families to come together from near and far to feast and feel thankful for all that they have and you’ve got Thanksgiving Day. Some families take part in religious ceremonies in the morning, but for most families the highlight of the day is Thanksgiving dinner.
This custom began with the Pilgrims in 1621. The Pilgrims were an English religious minority, which did not worship the Church of England and therefore suffered persecution. On September 16, 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower, carrying 102 passengers, left Plymouth harbour in England and sailed west. On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower reached North America.
The colonists endured a very hard winter of sickness and starvation by the end of which half were dead. But with the help of the native Indians, who taught them how to fish, hunt, and plant corn, their chance for surviving the winter of 1621 looked much brighter. After a successful harvest, Governor William Bradley decided to hold a special Thanksgiving feast, and invited the Indian chief Massosoit and ninety Indian braves to attend.
Today in the United States both children and adults play small tricks on each other. Among some common tricks are trying to convince someone that their plant or skirt has a rip down the center back seam, pointing down to a friend’s shoe and saying ‘You shoelace is untied’. Putting salt in the sugar bowl is another common prank, so beware.
Cовременный мир сегодня глобализирован, в любом уголке мира можно встретить людей, носящих джинсы и поедающих пиццу, хотя изначально эти вещи были созданы и использовались в США и Италии. Это касается и праздников. Возьмите, хотя бы День Святого Валентина и День всех святых. Они разные по значимости, смысловой наполненности, отношению (неприятие Дня всех святых и ажиотаж на День Святого Валентина), но факт осаётся фактом: и тот и другой отмечаются русскими людьми, поэтому нашим детям желательно знать корни этих праздников, традиции, связанные с ними, символы и костюмы. Ученик сам выберет, как ему воспринимать тот или иной праздник, а наша учительская задача проинформировать учащегося.