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Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Другие методич. материалы / Проектная работа "Discover holidays in Tatarstan and in Great Britain"
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Проектная работа "Discover holidays in Tatarstan and in Great Britain"


Discover holidays

in Tatarstan and

in Great Britain

Работу выполнила: Гараева Резеда

Руководитель: учитель английского языка

Аксёнова Й.Г.


Introduction ………………………………………………………………….. 3

Nauruz and May Day ……………………………………………………….. 4

Sabantui and Highland Games ……………………………………………... 6

Maslenitsa and Pancake Day ……………………………………………….. 8

Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………10

Sources ……………………………………………………………………….. 11


Every country and every nation has its own traditions and customs. It is very important to know traditions and customs of different people. It will help you to know more about the history and life of different nations and countries. To understand the nature of a nation you should know its festivals, holidays and celebrations. Ceremonies and holidays express the emotional and aesthetic life of the people. We live in the republic of Tatarstan - in a multicultural republic. There are many various festivals and holidays. Some of them are specific to this or that nation. Many of them have become very popular, common and loved by all. Tatar people are also grateful to Islam for their very existence as a national community. The Islam religion made it possible for the Tatar to preserve their native language, their culture, their customs and traditions. Islam has brought to the Tatar people many Muslim customs, traditions and holidays (for example, Kurban-bairam, Uraza-bairam, Movled). But there are many celebrations which date back to the early history of the nation. They are Sabantui, Jien, Nauruz. One cannot speak about Tatarstan without mentioning its traditions and customs. They are very important in the life of Tatar people. They are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. Tatar holidays reflect national boldness and diligence.

But we are learning English. The English language surrounds us like a sea, and like the waters of a deep sea it is full of mysteries. Nowadays foreign exchange contacts are rapidly developing and this fact causes the need to study the English language as a means of cross-cultural communication. While learning English we develop our understanding of history and life of Great Britain and compare it with our own country. If we compare folk holidays of the nations all over the world, we can easily notice that they have much in common (for example, in the meaning, in the aims or in the origin). In our work we have tried to draw an analogy between the British, Russian and Tatar folk festivals and find their common features.

Nauruz and May Day

We would like to begin with spring festivals. One of the most popular spring holidays in Tatarstan is Nauruz. Nauruz is translated from the Persian language as “a new day“. According to the calendar the 21st of March is the day of vernal equinox, and Tatar people celebrate Nauruz on this day. It is a very old festival. On this day the daytime is as long as night. Days become longer and nights become shorter.

As for the UK, there are also a lot of spring festivals, but we are going to describe May celebrations. The month of May has many traditions and celebrations. The first day of the month of May is known as May Day. It is the time of the year when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom. It is said to be a time of love and romance. In Tatarstan Nauruz is a bright and unforgettable festival, too. People celebrate the beginning of the spring. This holiday symbolizes the end of the darkness and the victory of the light over the evil. But May Day in Great Britain is the holiday when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter. Although summer does not officially begin until June, May Day marks its beginning. May Day celebrations have their origins in the Roman festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer. It was held annually from April 28th to May 3rd. Many of the May Day celebrations take place at the weekend as well as on the “May Day” Monday. The weekend is known as bank holiday weekend because it comes with the extra day holiday on Monday. In our republic Nauruz lasts for a week, but it is not a bank holiday.

Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole. Maypole Dancing is a traditional May Day dance. On May Day, people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer. People danced around the tree poles in celebration of the end of winter and the start of the fine weather that would allow planting to begin. Maypoles were once common all over England and were kept from one year to the next. Schools would practice skipping round the pole for weeks before the final show on the village greens. Maypoles are still a part of some village life and on May Day the villagers dance around it.

Another traditional dance seen throughout the month of May is Morris Dancing. It is a traditional English form of folk dancing performed by groups of men or women. But the highlight of the day is the crowning of the May Queen, the human replica of Flora. By tradition she takes no part in the games or dancing, but sits like a queen in a flower-decked chair to watch her subjects.

Iin Tatarstan we have the similar tradition. In Great Britain they choose the May Queen, in our republic we have “Nauruz-bikeh”. The people who take part in the celebration of Nauruz choose the most beautiful girl. She is called “Nauruz-bikeh”. She drives throughout the town in a coach, also decorated with flowers, bright ribbons and bells. Everywhere people greet her cheerfully. Like the British on May Day, the people in the republic of Tatarstan sing songs and dance, too. These two festivals are celebrated in different countries, but they have much in common.

Sabantui and Highland Games

Our next step is to draw an analogy between Sabantui in Tatarstan and Highland Games in Scotland. They are both festivals of culture, music, sport, history and national traditions. Sabantui, as well as Highland Games, is celebrated in summer. In Tatarstan life without Sabantui is unthinkable. In June, when works on the fields are finished, Tatars look forward to their favourite national holiday. It is “a celebration of the plough”. Young boys climb to the top of a mast to get a pair of boots attached there, under the eyes of their girlfriends. A coin is dropped in a big bowl full of milk, and contestants try to find it with their mouth. Some years ago, the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin did it, and since then Tatars say that there is no way you can hide money from the Russian ex-President.

During this festival there are a lot of spectacular competitions. The most exciting are the horse races. There are also different sport games and funny competitions, for example, egg-races – carrying eggs in spoons between the teeth, running with pails full of water, “running-in-sacks” races.

The old people remember that in the villages, after the feast of Sabantui, everybody discussed for months the smallest details of the main feature: the wrestling match. The winners - the batyrs received a sheep as a prize and become local heroes. Their fame and glory lasted for the rest of their lives. Many things have changed in the countryside in Tatarstan. The feast has changed, too, but winning the wrestling contest is still a very honorable achievement. And the big prize is now a car. The sheep comes with it but only to preserve the tradition. Things tend to change, but people and their traditions do not. Neither does Sabantui.

Highland Games, as well as Sabantui, are an old festival, it has been held since 1832. It is one of the most spectacular holidays in Great Britain. In Scotland, one of the parts of the UK, people try to maintain their separate identity, their own customs and traditions. This is the land of tartans and fine whiskey, of romantic castles and the melodies of bagpipes. Scotland also has a rich cultural heritage. The lively Highland Games take place up and down the country between May and September. Highland Games do not only take place in Scotland villages and towns, but also in many other countries where Scottish people have settled. Nowadays Sabantui is also celebrated not only in some Russian cities (Moscow, Ufa, Nizhniy Novgorod, etc.), but in such countries like China, Australia and the USA. Sabantui is a holiday, which unites the people of different nationalities. Like Sabantui in Tatarstan, Highland Games also attract many visitors.

One of the most impressive events at the games is the tossing of caber. A caber is a long log, it is 5 metres long and weighs about 45 kg. The athlete holds the caber by one end and tries to throw it so that it lands on the other end and then falls away from the thrower.

Like Sabantui, Highland Games are also famous for its funny national competitions, such as hammer throw, stone put, tug of war (rope pulling), as well as running and jumping. There also competitions in bag-piping and Scottish dancing. The atmosphere is great. You can meet Scottish people, learn a little about Scottish history, listen to Scottish music and enjoy great Scottish food and drink.

Maslenitsa and Pancake Day

Our next aim is to compare winter holidays in Tatarstan and Great Britain. As it has been said before our republic is multinational, more than one hundred nationalities live here. The two main nationalities are the Tatars and the Russians. Not only Tatar national holidays are popular, people in our republic like celebrating the holidays of other nationalities, too. Maslenitsa is among them. Maslenitsa is a traditional Russian holiday, it takes place at the end of winter. In late February and early March Russia celebrates Shrovetide, the most ancient festival of the Slavonic people. This festival is also an old one. In old times Slavic people believed in different Gods, and Yarilo was the main of them. Slavs thought that the change of seasons was the struggle between Yarilo, god of the sun, and the evil spirits of cold and darkness. In his honour people fried a lot of pancakes - hot and round like the sun, and put much butter on them.

Making and eating pancakes is the most important part of Shrovetide week. In old times pancakes symbolized Yarilo, the old Slavs supposed that by eating pancakes they got the power, light and warmth of the sun.

In the UK there is a similar holiday, too. It is called Shrove Tuesday, it is also known as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday because it is the one day of the year when almost everyone eats a pancake. Pancake Day is the last day before the period which Christians call Lent. It is celebrated on the day before Ash Wednasday, is therefore the final day before the commencement of Lent, a Christian festival leading up to Easter Sunday, or Easter Day. Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between 3 February and 9 March. For example, this year Pancake Day in the UK was celebrated on 16 February.

Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration, as well as penitence, because it is the last day before Lent. Throughout the United Kingdom, and in Russia too, people indulge themselves on foods that traditionally aren’t allowed during Lent. Like in Russia, in Great Britain the main symbol of this holiday pancakes are eaten on this day because they contain fat, butter and eggs which were forbidden during Lent. A traditional English pancake is very thin and is served immediately from the frying pan. Caster sugar is sprinkled over the top and a dash of fresh lemon juice added. The pancake is then rolled. Some people put golden syrup or jam on their pancakes. During Shrovetide week or Maslenitsa in Russia people eat pancakes with butter, sour cream, meat, fish, jam, honey and even with caviar.

To eat pancakes is the main tradition both on Maslenitsa in Russia and on Pancake Day in Great Britain. But there are other traditional celebrations. In England it is a tradition to toss pancakes and take part in pancake races on that day. Pancake races are held all over England. The object of the race is to get to the finishing line first while flipping a pancake in a frying pan. The skill lies not in the running of the race but in flipping and catching the pancake. The most famous pancake race takes place at Olney. It is now world famous. Competitors have to be local housewives and they musr wear an apron and a hat or a scarf. Each contestant has a frying pan with a hot, cooking pancake. She must toss it three times during the race that starts at the market square at 11.55 a.m.

The celebrations of Maslenitsa in Russia are wonderful. In old times people usually cooked pancakes, had fires, burnt straw figures of winter, they sang songs and danced. Now during “Maslenitsa week” people have fun and games. They play snowballs, make snow castles and ride a sledge. Russian people traditionally visit their nearest and dearest, and celebrate this holiday together. It is a tradition that on that day sons-in-law visit their mothers-in-law, they have to bring their mothers-in-law presents and sweets. The last day of Shrovetide is called Shrove Sunday. On that day people have to ask one another to forgive them for anything bad they have done.

Although these holidays are different, and they are celebrated in different ciuntries, they have one thing in common – the atmosphere is great, and it is a week of pancakes and fun.


We have tried to compare different celebrations in Tatarstan and Great Britain. The main aim is to develop the student’s understanding of history and life in our republic and how this compares with Great Britain. Both in Tatarstan and in Great Britain traditions play an important part in the life of the people. In Tatarstan preserving traditions is a natural thing. Great Britain is famous for its old traditions, too. It’s common knowledge that the British are lovers of traditions. A whole year, each season in Britain is connected with various colourful traditions, customs and festivals. Great Britain, as well as the Republic of Tatarstan, has a rich cultural heritage. We have different dialects and languages, different cultures and history. Our holidays are strikingly different in their origin, nevertheless, they show surprising similarities in the manner of their celebration. Having compared folk holidays of our cultures, we see that they have much in common. Learning to understand your native country and compare it with another is not an easy task. Most of us do not usually think of ourselves as people who different from others and at the same time belong to one beautiful world “The planet Earth”. It means we are different, we are alike.


1. Yarulina L.A. Discover Tatarstan. Intermediate (a language practice in cultural matters of Tatarstan), 2005

2. Afanasyeva O.V., Mikheeva I.V. English VII (учебник для кл. шк. с углубл. изучением англ.яз., лицеев и гимназий), 2006

3. Ivanova L., Sabirova D., Garipova Zh. English. Welcome to Tatarstan, Student’s book, 2007

4. Журнал для изучающих английский язык «Speak Out», 2-3, 2007

5. Oschepkova V., McNicholas K. Macmillan Guide to country studies. Student’s book 2, 2007

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