Инфоурок / Иностранные языки / Статьи / РЕФЕРАТ «Необычные праздники и фестивали России и стран изучаемого языка» “Unusual Holidays, Festivals and Traditions of Russia and English Speaking Countries” дисциплина: английский язык Автор:МагомедоваН., ученица 7 класса

РЕФЕРАТ «Необычные праздники и фестивали России и стран изучаемого языка» “Unusual Holidays, Festivals and Traditions of Russia and English Speaking Countries” дисциплина: английский язык Автор:МагомедоваН., ученица 7 класса

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Муниципальное казенное образовательное учреждение

«Воробьевская СОШ» имени Героя Советского Союза Н.Т. Воробьева


«Необычные праздники и фестивали России и стран изучаемого языка»

Unusual Holidays, Festivals and Traditions of Russia and English

Speaking Countries”

дисциплина: английский язык

Автор:МагомедоваН., ученица 7 класса

Руководитель:Накшинова Бактыгуль Мухамеджановна, учитель английского языка высшей квалификационной категории



Introduction___________________________________________________p. 3

Chapter 1 Unusual holidays, festivals and traditions of Russia and English speaking countries (comparative analysis)

  1. Appearance and manners”_____________________________________ p. 4

  2. Animals”___________________________________________________ p. 7

  3. Birds” _____________________________________________________ p. 10

  4. Dolls”_____________________________________________________ p. 11

  5. Mud and Water”_____________________________________________ p. 13

  6. Masks and Costumes”________________________________________ p. 14

  7. Food”_____________________________________________________ p. 15

  1. Fairy-tale Characters”________________________________________ p. 19

  2. Fire”______________________________________________________ p. 20

  3. Professions”________________________________________________ p. 25

  4. Musical Instruments”________________________________________ p. 27

Chapter 2 Sociological Research

  1. Survey №1____________________________________________________ p. 30

  2. Survey №2____________________________________________________ p. 30

Conclusion ____________________________________________________ p. 31

Enclosures_____________________________________________________ p. 32

Resources______________________________________________________ p. 40



There are thousands of countries and thousands of nations and nationalities in the world. Each country and each nationality has its own traditions, customs and holidays.

This variety is conditioned by the locations on the world map, by the religions which people confess and the interaction of people with each other. People cherish the traditions and customs, continuing thus the history of the state.

But all people on the Earth planet like holidays and festivals.

The theme of my paper is “Unusual holidays, festivals and traditions of their celebrations in Russia and in English speaking countries”.

Side by side with the usual traditions, unusual ones appear in the countries that indicate people’s desire to live in joy and to give joy to the people of the whole world. Some holidays adopted some traditions or were transformed, the others became international. The actuality of the chosen theme is that uncommonness always attracts people. Opening for oneself the world of uncommonness and beauty the man himself becomes better and is ready to make kindness.

The aim of the paper is to expand the knowledge about the cultures of the English speaking countries.

In order to realize the aim the following tasks were put by us:

  1. to study unusual holidays, festivals of Russia and traditions of their celebration;

  1. to study unusual holidays, festivals of English speaking countries (the USA, Canada, Great Britain) and traditions of their celebration;

  1. to find the similarities and differences in the celebration of unusual holidays and festivals in Russia and English speaking countries;

  1. to carry a survey out in order to get the information about the pupils’ knowledge of unusual holidays and festivals of Russia and the English speaking countries.

The subject of the research: unusual holidays, festivals and traditions of their celebrations in Russia and in English speaking countries.

Methods of the research: analysis, comparison, generalization.

Hypothesis: Some unusual holidays and festivals of Russia should be very similar or have something different from unusual holidays and festivals in the English speaking countries. Perhaps among these holidays and festivals there are such ones which are celebrated only in one country.

To make it easier to analyze and compare the unusual holidays and festivals in Russia and in the countries of the target language, we distributed them on the topics: “Appearance and Manners”, “Animals”, “Birds”, “Dolls”, “Mud and Water”, “Masks and Costumes”, “Food”, “Fairy-tale Characters”, “Fire”,

Chapter 1 Unusual holidays and festivals of Russia and the English speaking countries and traditions of their celebration

(comparative analysis)


The Chap & Hendrick’s Olympics

Representatives of Chap and Hendrick's communities hold an annual competition among gentlemen outdoors in the Square of Bedford in London in July. The aim of this Olympiad is to keep and to preserve the traditions of the

English gentleman. Men wear gentlemen’s suits and participate in various competitions and contests: they carry women in their hands, say compliments, jump in sacks, throw a plate with sandwiches, fight with canes sitting on the bike and jump with a glass of whiskey in their hands. And, of course, traditionally they drink whiskey and tea.


Ladies’ Day

In the city of Entree near Liverpool every April Grand National Horseracing takes place. It is considered to be the most spectacular in Britain. The stands of the racecourse collect 100 thousand spectators every year. Some of the spectators come to grieve for the favourite athlete or to stake on this or that horse. In the town there is an atmosphere of competition, but for the fair sex “Ladies’ Day” is organized.

On this day ladies dressed in the elegant clothes should inspire the jockeys for sports achievements. The abundance of extravagant outfits, splashes of champagne, a lot of beautiful and charming girls, sport’s passion make the competition in Liverpool a colorful unforgettable show.



If the holiday of the elegant dresses is held in Britain, Striped Vest Day is celebrated in Russia.

Striped Vest Day

The Day of the Russian Striped Vest is celebrated on 19, August. The date of the holiday is associated with the name of Alexander II who signed a decree in which the striped vest became a part of the sailors’ clothes. The combination of blue and white stripes is associated with the colours of St. Andrew's flag.

People wear the striped vests and participate in various competitions related to the marine issues on this day.

Although it is not yet an official holiday it is very popular in our country. Especially it is widely celebrated in St. Petersburg where enthusiasts mark it as their own tradition.


The British “Ladies’ Day” is only a demonstration of unusual outfits, while the “Striped Vest Day in Russia is connected with the history of the country, particularly with the history of the Russian Navy.

The whole world knows such a holiday as a Day of the Blondes. Russia also has a holiday which is associated with hair colour. It is a Day of Brunettes. And if they say that blondes are not conspicuous by mind, the brunette, on the contrary, are clever. And the emergence of this holiday in Russia is not accidental, because Russian women have one of the highest IQs in the world.


Brunettes’ Day

On 28, May Russia celebrates the Brunettes’ Day, an unofficial holiday of dark-haired women. It must be said that there is no equivocal opinion about the date of the holiday. In the Internet you can find a few dates, but the most popular date is 28, May. Unfortunately, there is no data on how, when and by whom this holiday was founded. However, it is believed to be originated as a “reply” to the Day of Blondes that has been celebrating since 2006. The brunettes gethello_html_3b2db92e.jpga lot of congratulations on this day. There are no any special traditions of celebrating this day in our country.


The person is arranged in such a way, that the soul always demands a holiday. And we also like to strive for perfection in everything we can. Many people are even successful in the ability of making faces, especially the British ones.

Ugly Mug Championship

Making faces is a great art. The British organize an unusual competition of grimaces in the county of Egremont, Cumbria every year in September. This tradition started in 1297 at the crab fair. The rules are simple: the participants make the most bizarre faces, including grimaces of the “rubber face’ and at the same time put on a neck collar.

Each “performance” is regulated and usually lasts for 4 minutes. However, this time is enough to “let oneself into the wild.” Naturally, the degree of toothless also plays a significant role. The participants go to the victory with great stubbornness perfecting their skills. Some of them even faint when having achieved the aim.

A legendary Champion is Peter Jackson pulled all his teeth out in order to be a winner.



There is no similar championship in Russia.


Homeless and Wild Cats’ Day

Homeless and Wild Cats’ Day has been celebrating in the United States on 16,October since 2001 on the initiative of the national organization “Allies of Homeless cats.” The holiday was founded by Colleen Paige to draw attention to the homeless cats and to pay tribute to all the cats that live with people. The members of the association treated cats. The cats with a friendly attitude towards the person, as a rule, fall within the family, and healthy adult cats with wild temper are given back to where they were found.

Homeless and Wild Cats’ Day is a good opportunity to learn more about homeless and wild cats.

This Day is celebrated in all states and includes activities to raise money for the benefit of the homeless and wild cats, sterilization of the animals and their distribution in the families.


Russia takes part in the celebration of the International Cats’ Day on 1, March as the other countries in the world. However, there is a special holiday in Russia related to the cats. It is St. Petersburg Cats’ Day.

St. Petersburg Cats’ Day

The citizens of St. Petersburg celebrate the Day of St. Petersburg Cats on 8,

June. It was declared in 2005 by “Mitki” (as a group of local artists call themselves). They placed a sculpture of the cat named Tishka Matroskin on the ledge of their studio. The surname was chosen not by chance: on the occasion of the holiday the cat was dressed in a striped vest which has become the so called uniform of “Mitki” many years ago.

The citizens of St. Petersburg dress up in the costumes of cats and walk in the parks and along the streets on this day. Artists paint cats and sell their paintings in the streets. On this day cats receive presents, delicious food and a lot of attention.



Both holidays are combined with the love to these furry creatures. Either in America or in Russia people talk much about the homeless cats on this day. If the American celebration calls for paying attention to the homeless cats, Russian people are simply happy these creatures to be near them.

Ground Hog’s Day

In the United States and in Canada there is an unusual holiday called a Ground Hog’s Day. It is celebrated on 2, February annually. The essence of this festival is that on this day it is necessary to watch the ground hog which is in hibernation. The ground hog wakes up and gets out of its hole. According to its behaviour you are able to know if spring will come early this year. If the day is cloudy the ground hog quietly gets out of its hole and doesn’t see its shadow. It means that the winter is coming to the end and the spring will come soon. People can prepare for the spring work. But if the day is sunny the ground hog sees its shadow while getting out of the hole, takes a fright of it and hides in the hole again. It means the winter will continue for at least six weeks. There is no information in the history where this belief was taken from. According to the first version it came from the Indians who lived in these parts of the country many centuries ago. The second version says that this custom was brought by the Germans who immigrated to America.

This tradition has got accustomed and is alive up to nowadays. This peculiar celebration turned into a real show, the main hero of which is a ground hog. Thus in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a Ground Hog Club has been existing since 1886. This holiday is celebrated here in a special way. From the early morning people go to the Turkey Hill. The members of the Ground Hog Club dressed in tuxedos and top-hats arrive here. For the convenience of the interview with the ground hog named Phil people built a personal apartment for it that looks like a stump. The Chairman of the Club pulls a sleepy ground hog out of its apartment and lean toward him, “listens” to his predictions. Then the Chairman of the Club proclaims the summery of the ground hog. The ground hog named Phil is the most titled “person”. Well-known and famous people of the United States and Canada come to watch that ground hog.



In Russia there is also a holiday that is related to a wild animal. It is Tiger’s Day.

Tiger’s Day

On the fourth Sunday of September the inhabitants of the Far East celebrate the Tiger’s Day. The idea of this environmental holiday was originated in 2000. A famous writer and a hunter Vladimir Troinin and an international charity foundation “Phoenix” with the support of the Russian and international environmental organizations were the initiators of this holiday. The aim of the Tiger’s Day was the desire to make the inhabitants of the Far East, as well as the inhabitants of the planet, think about the necessity of saving such a rare representative of the cat family as the Amur tiger.

The Tiger’s Day in Vladivostok is celebrated by the organizing of the holiday procession. People dressed in homemade costumes of tigers go through the city streets carrying placards. They call the inhabitants of the Far East to learn to live harmoniously with the “big wild cat.” The procession is ended with the show in the main square of the city.


Both holidays are devoted to the wild animals. In America and in Canada

A Groundhog’s Day has its long history. In Russia the Tiger’s Day may be called “a baby”. In America and in Canada the holiday is mostly connected with the meteorology. In Russia the Tiger’s Day is related with the problem of disappearing of this species, and call people to solve this problem. As a result, the traditions of these holidays celebrating are fundamentally different.


1.3 “BIRDS”


This holiday takes place in Bognor, the UK in July. There are a lot of competitions on this day. The participants make home-made flying aircrafts and extravagant costumes. They climb on a high platform and make a running jump into the sea. The aim of “a birdman” is to overcome the greatest distance with the help of self-made wings or constructions for the flight.


There is no such a popular unusual mass holiday in Russia.

Hens’ Holiday

Hens’ Holiday is held in the middle of July in the US city of Wayne, Nebraska every summer. People make a feast in honour of these birds. They dance with the prettiest hens and crow like cocks. Local artists compete in building the most beautiful perch. At the end of the holiday there is a competition on eating the hen’s wings.


There is holiday devoted to these domestic birds in Russia too. It is celebrated in Sakhalin.

Hens’ Day

This holiday is celebrated on the Far Eastern island of Sakhalin on 20,


November. At the beginning of the holiday you may watch the show of trained hens. Then the guests get acquainted with the new breeds of hens. Children and adults make the hens’ models of different materials and play the game “A Fox and Hens” and “Molchanka”.


Either in America or in Russia these holidays, despite the fact that they are similar in some ways and in some ways they are different from the point of view of celebrating traditions, they just simply glorify these birds.

1.4 “DOLLS”

Barbie’s Birthday

The legendary Barbie doll has been celebrating celebrates its birthday since 9, March 1959. It was namely 9, March when it was first presented to the world at the toy fair in New York. Ruth Handler, who made the first doll for her daughter, is considered to be the official Barbie’s “mother.”

The first Barbie doll cost only $ 3.00. It was dressed in a black-and-white striped swimsuit. The dresses for the doll had to be bought separately. It had blonde hair pulled in the “ponytail” and black eyes. At first, the customers treated the novelty cautiously because the doll looked very bluntly. However, it soon became extremely popular among the schoolgirls.

Then all of a sudden it has become an incredibly popular doll for everybody. The famous designers of the world take part in designing clothes for Barbie. A lot of Hollywood celebrities play with Barbie. For example, Demy Moore

has about 3,000 dolls in her collection.

The most expensive Barbie doll was made in 2010. The diamonds were brought into its outfit and it cost 302 500 dollars.

Barbie doll with the longest hair (26 cm) was made in 1996. Barbie is the heroine of more than 20 cartoons.

Three Barbie dolls are sold every 3 seconds in the world. Her boy-friend Ken by name appeared in 1961.

The holiday is celebrated with exhibitions and sales.



Barbie doll is considered to be a national American doll. Russia also has a national doll. Its name is Matryoshka and it has a birthday too.

Matryoshka’s Birthday

A Russian painted wooden doll appeared in Russia in the 90s of XIX century in the period of rapid economic and cultural development of the country. It was the time of the recovery of national identity when the interest to the Russian culture began displaying more and more insistently.

The idea of creating a detachable wooden doll was inspired to S.V. Malyutin by a Japanese toy. It was brought by Savva Mamontov’s wife from the island of Honshu. It was a figure of a good-natured bald old man, the sage named Fukurumy. There were a few more figures, nested one inside the other. The first Russian Matryoshka doll, carved on the sketches of S.V. Malyutin by the best toy master from Sergiyev Posad V. Zvyozdochkin, had eight dolls. A girl with a black cock was followed by the boy. Then there was a girl again. All the figures differed from each other. The last eighth figure looked like a swaddled baby.

Russian wooden doll was called Matryoshka. It was done not by chance. In the pre-revolutionary province the name Matryona, Matryosha was considered to be one of the most common female names. At The basis of the root has a Latin word “mater” which means "mother". This name was associated with the mother of a numerous family, good health, and the portly figure. Later it became a household name and denoted a split lathe beautifully painted wooden product. But up to our days Matryoshka remains a symbol of motherhood because it has a lot of children.



Compared with a Barbie doll, a Russian Matryoshka doll is an "old lady", because it has a long history of creating. Barbie doll is a symbol of beauty and fashion. Matryoshka is a symbol of a big and happy Russian family. There are not only similarities in the celebrations of Barbie’s and Matryoshka’s birthdays

(exhibitions and sales) but also there are differences. The celebration of

Matryoshka’s birthday is held in old Russian traditions, including games, singing old Russian folk songs and, of course, dancing in a ring.

1.5 “WATER and MUD”

Festival “The Summer Redneck Game”

This festival is held in East Dublin in the state of Georgia in the United States in July. The origin of this festival is associated with the Olympic Games which were held in Georgia in 1996.

The festival has the following unusual competitions: throwing toilet chairs, fighting for the pig’s trotters, singing serenade with the help of the armpit, eating seeds and debrisshoveling. But the apotheosis of this unusual festival is a competition on flopping into the liquid clay (Mud Pit Belly Flop) under the joyful cries of the fans.

A clay rain, spilling after a particularly loud diving into the red sticky mass, provokes a special delight of the audience.


In Russia there is also a holiday which is connected with the liquid, namely water. It is Ivan Kupala Day.

Ivan Kupala Day

No wonder there is a saying to this day “Ivan Kupala, throw water on anybody!” On this day you can get under the artificial rain at the wrong time and at the wrong place. And although the water in this day is considered to be "cleansing and healing", it is not very pleasant to be thrown by a bucket of cold water while leaving a bus.



Either a festival “The Summer Redneck Game” or Ivan Kupala Day are considered to be village holidays. But if the mud festival of mud is just an entertainment, Ivan Kupala Day is associated with religion and mysticism. There are no practically any similarities in their celebrations.


Zombie March

Zombie March is held on 19, October in Boston. The strange creatures going in search of their victims captivate the city center. Some “zombies” prefer to dress up in blood-stained wedding costumes and rubber masks, the others imitate the living dead men moving like Michael Jackson in his the music video “Thriller” that was made in 1983year. This outfit can be made by everyone. The participation in the festival and the march is free. You can dress up any costume you like and join the “the invasion” or you may simply be a bystander.


In Russia there is also a holiday when people put the masks on. But

Russian holiday is not so terrible and “bloody” because Russian people dress in animal masks. The holiday is called Kolyada.


Kolyada is a Slavic holiday of the winter solstice and a deity of the same name. Slavs celebrate Kolyada when the day increases on “one sparrow jump” and the winter sun began flaring up. Kolyada is celebrated from 25, December 25 till 6, January (the Volos day). The other name of this holiday is Karachun.


The nascent Sun appears in the image of the child. The baby is the disk of the Sun the so-called Kolo. The witch named Winter captures Kolo and turns him into a wolf. When they burn the wolf's skin down, Kolo becomes a handsome boy. And the Sun-Kolo goes to meet spring.

Originally Kolyada was not taken into minds like a masker. Only later people began dressing up and going from house to house glorifying the masters and singing carols. They repeated the name of Kolyada and asked for money. People dressed up like bears, horses, goats, cows symbolized abundance. Eating ritual cookies in the form of the cows they prayed for Tur. The holiday ended with games. The ritual of rolling the burning tire up the hill with the words “Go up the hill but come back with spring” was an obligatory one.

The present games and fortune-telling are only the echoes of the old holiday. But the rituals of dressing up, singing carols and asking for money or sweets are still alive in different parts of Russia.


These two holidays have only one thing in common. These are masks. If

Zombie March can be called “blooded” and senseless, Koyada is an old jolly holiday which is deeply rooted in history.

1.7 “FOOD”

Giant Omelette Day

Since 1985 the first weekend of November belongs to the omelettes in the American town of Abbeville, Louisiana. They are not usual omelettes, they are giant ones.

Every year local chefs cook a giant omelette, the recipe of which includes 5 thousand eggs, about 6 litres of oil, 10 kilos of greens and 25 litres of milk. All inhabitants and visitors of Abbeville can taste this dish, which was a Napoleon favourite dish.

According to the legend, Napoleon and his friends stopped for the night in the town of Besser where he was offered a local delicacy called “Hen’s gift.” He liked it very much and ordered to collect all the eggs within the town and to cook a giant omelette for his army. In memory of this event a Giant Omelette Day is held every year.



In Russia there is no such an unusual holiday when a great meal is traditionally cooked in public. In return, there is Herring Day in Russia.

Herring Day

Herring Day has been celebrating in Kaliningrad since 2006. The holiday is connected with the first herring expedition sailed to the shores of Iceland from Kaliningrad port in April 1948. This expedition was the beginning of the fishing fleet in the region. This holiday caught on at once becoming massive and popular. There is no definite date of the holiday. It is usually held on the second Saturday of April and takes place on the quay of Historical Fleet of Museum of the Pacific Ocean.

It is believed that the herring was not confessed a worthy food because of the smell of rancid fish oil and unpleasant bitter taste for a long time. But in the middle of the XV century a Dutch fisherman Willem Jacob de Bakels began removing the gills before pickling. In such a way herring became a favourite treat of many people.

Traditionally the holiday begins with a solemn procession of veterans in the historical waterfront. A fair of souvenirs, a fish market and numerous cafes work for the guests of the festival. Local chefs cook a lot of dishes with herring. The cultural program with concerts and competitions are held on the main and the minor stages. In the evening the inhabitants of the city attend a gala concert.


These two holidays are united with the fact that the dishes are cooked in public and everyone can taste it. The main difference of the holidays is the size of the cooked dishes. If the main aim of the American holiday is the omelette eating then in Russia it is a celebration in honour of the Navy veterans. Also


there are different competitions and shows on Herring Day. On Giant Omelette Day people only eat this dish.

The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake

This is an annual event which is held on the last Monday of May at 12:00 local time in the framework of Spring festival at Cooper's hill near Gloucester in Cotswold’s, England. The event takes its name from Cooper's hill. The origin of the custom is unknown, but the tradition of its carrying out is two hundred years old. According to the first version, the tradition originated from the pagan rites to roll burning bundles of brushwood down the hill. It symbolized the beginning of the New Year after the winter. The other tradition tells that people confirmed their right to use the communal land for grazing their herds.

The essence of this tradition is as follows. A cheese is kicked down the hill and people runs for it skipping or rolling. The winner is a person who first catches the cheese.

Races are often linked to health risk. In previous years the runners had sustained serious back injuries of the back, the neck and the head. They broke legs, arms and ribs. Sometimes, due to the fall of the participants, the spectators were injured too. So the weigh of the cheese now is 5 kilos, while previously it weighed up to 18 kilos.


Easter Eggs Rolling in the White House

Egg rolling” in the White House, which is always held on the day after Easter Sunday, was first held in Washington in 1878. Since then the Easter egg Rolling is an annual “presidential” tradition in the USA. The families, that have at least one child younger than seven years old, can take part in this Easter celebration. The egg rolling symbolizes the stone that was rolled near the Holy Sepulcher before the resurrection of Christ. Competing, the children roll the painted eggs hidden in the grass and the flower beds on the South lawn with the help of the ladles. By the way, you may get in the White house for this holiday only by winning a ticket in a special lottery.



In Russia there is also a holiday where the tradition of egg rolling is presented. It is Easter.

Russian Easter Eggs Rolling

The custom of celebrating Easter appeared in the era before the Exodus and was originally associated with cattle breeding, and later with farming. The symbols of Easter were Update (Easter streams), the Light (Easter fire) and Life (Easter cakes, eggs and hares).

In the evening of Easter right in the Church yard the festivities began. In Imperial Russia festivities with dances and games continued from one day to three weeks and were called Red hill. People kissed three times on the cheek. The children arranged egg rolling. Easter eggs in Russia were rolled on the ground giving fertility to it. Egg rolling is a competitive game. Its purpose is to get the eggs of the other players. The track made of wood or cardboard is set. The prizes are put on the blanket. The painted eggs are put at the end of the track. The track may be curved or of any shape. Sometimes the eggs are rolled on the floor, the sand or grass. Each player rolls his egg down the path. If the egg strikes any of the prizes the player takes it. If the egg doesn't touch any object, it is left on the court.

Many Easter traditions have been kept up to our days: the pudding, the cakes, egg painting and rolling.


The three holidays may be united with the word “rolling”. Egg Rolling in the White House and in Russia are related to religion. Easter Sunday is also connected with history. According to the traditions of Easter celebrating there is no Moscow Kremlin Egg Rolling while in the White House there is such a


tradition. The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is just an entertainment.


Santa Claus’s Birthday

The inhabitants of the English-speaking countries celebrated the birthday of this fairy-tail character on 6, December.

Christian holidays are often mixed with pagan traditions. But in the case with St. Nicholas something really amazing happened: he concurred with Santa

Claus in such a way that the Catholic can’t look into it.

In fact, the Day of St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas), the patron Saint of sailors, was celebrated in Holland in the XVII century. It was brought to America by the Dutch The image of this Saint incorporated the features of different cultures there, and then in the image of Santa Claus he returned to Europe.

Santa Claus of the English-speaking countries lives in Lapland and likes his birthday very much. On this day, he receives a lot of presents from the children and the adults. Santa Claus has a wife, but no one has ever seen her.


Russian people have their own Santa Claus. His name is Father Frost. He has a birthday too.

Father Frost’s Birthday

The Russians celebrate the official birthday of Father Frost on18, November. This holiday is rather young. That is way it is not known to everyone. The date of his birthday was approved was approved in the Vologda region in 2005. Here there is his patrimony in Veliky Ustyug.

Father Frost holds the leading position among the popular magic heroes of all known characters of Russian fairy tales or folk tales nowadays. According to calculation Father Frost is more than 2000 years old.

His official residence is located in a pine forest on the banks of the river Sukhona not far from Veliky Ustyug. It was built of wood in a traditional Russian style. In the main house there are 13 rooms including a dressing room where all the costumes of the winter wizard are kept. There is also a special room where he keeps all the sent presents. There is a nice room where all wishes come true.


Every year Father Frost receives about 200 thousand letters. Father Frost lights the fist New Year Tree on his birthday.

His magic stick is innovative. It is connected with the satellite system of


Father Frost has a granddaughter Snegurochka who celebrates her birthday on 4, April. Her birthday has been celebrating since 2009. It is believed that Snegurochka was born in Kostroma. Every year in early spring there are celebrations in Kostroma.


The two holidays take place in the time of white winter. They are united with the belief in non-existent fairy-tale characters which are loved by children and grown-ups all over the world. Both characters wear red clothes. They take after each other in appearance. They are tall, stout and bearded. They present gifts in different ways. Father Frost present them right into the hands while Santa Claus flies through the chimney and put the presents into the stockings over the fireplaces. Their means of transport are different: Santa Claus flies by deer in the sky while Father Frost tears in symbolic Russian carriage-in-three. They both have their own patrimonies. Otherwise, their family statuses are different: Father Frost is not married but has a granddaughter while Santa Claus has a wife. They are both of solid age. Either Father Frost or Santa Claus present New Year Trees.

1.9 “FIRE”

A Festival “Aphelia Up-Helly-Aa”

This festival originated in the Scottish villages 140 years ago. Fire playing is a traditional fun of the Scots. On New Year and on Christmas every street in Scotland was lit with the lights of torches and burning tar barrels. After the Napoleonic wars a tradition of binding together several burning barrel and lowering them into the water appeared. These holidays often ended by the fires. Having realized the danger of such festivities the inhabitants of one Scottish village made their own holiday. Local men armed with wooden swords burnt the boat which symbolized the Viking ship down. The Scots are proud of their relation


to the history of the Scandinavian barbarians. The holiday became very popular and a lot of guests visited it.

Now “Aphelia Up-Helly-Aa” is the greatest fire festival in Europe. The festival starts in the morning and continues until late at night. Dressed up in the medieval costumes people walk with torches through the streets of the city. Hundreds of people imitate the Vikings’ troops. They are dressed in skins, chain mails and horned helmets. Every year a wooden ship Drakkar (the Viking ship) is built to celebrate “Aphelia Up-Helly-Aa”. The participants of the procession blow the horns and carry the Viking ship to the sea. The ship is lowered down the water and everyone who has a torch in the hand can throw it on the deck of Drakkar. The burning of the ship symbolizes the barbarian rituals. In such a way the Scandinavian warriors buried their comrades who fell on the battlefield.


Baltane Fire Festival

Many years ago Beltane Fire Festival began at night of May 1, when Celtic priests lit bonfires on hilltops. These fires chased the evil away and protected local population from evil spirits. If the night was ended well, the morning was greeted with wine and nuts.

The ancient Celtic Beltane heralded the arrival of summer. The main thing was to appease the gods on this day so that they gave people a good harvest and fertility.

May 1 was considered by the Celts to be most auspicious day for the wedding. On this day the Celts arranged archery tournaments, danced with swords and jumped over the fire. During Beltane the Celts extinguished their home hearths to light them from the fire of the sacred bonfires. Also the Celts constructed May gestures which symbolized the Earth pole. These gestures were made of birch. Many-coloured ribbons were tied to the end of the pole and people danced around it holding by the ribbons and wrapping them around. In such a way the Celts imagined the energy moving between the Earth and the Sky. The Celts gained the

Gods’ favour with the help of these ceremonials.

Now this festival is celebrated in Edinburgh in Celton Hill at the beginning of May in a different way. A parade of bagpipers goes along the streets. There are flags everywhere. A lot of exhibitions and shows are organized. The festival is ended with the fireworks. People wear traditional Celtic clothes: furs and kilts of


blue and green colours. The houses are decorated with the branches of hawthorn. Some pagan traditions have been kept up to our days in many Scottish

villages. This Scottish holiday is ended with a festive and hearty supper everywhere.


Ivan Kupala Day

Even in pre-Christian time the Slavs celebrated the feast of Kupaila what means “the Sun”. By merging of Christian and pagan traditions the holiday of Ivan Kupala was formed. Especially for the day of Kupala boys and girls made stuffed dolls Kupalo and Marena. They were the main characters of the holiday. Marena was a doll made of straw and it was dressed in women's clothes. Kupalo was also made of straw but it was dressed in men’s clothes. Marena was made by the girls, but Kupalo was made by the boys. It is interesting to know that there is no information about the origin of Marena and Kupalo. But it is known that either Marena or Kupalo must be drowned or burnt down at the end of the holiday.

People girded with crossbelts of flowers, wore wreaths of herbs on their heads, danced in a ring and sang songs. Old men with the help of friction of dry sticks mined “living fire”, made bonfires in the middle of which they set a pole with a burning wheel that was a symbol of the Sun. Kupalo celebrations took place in the time of paganism in honor of the Sun God and his wife a luminous Zaryada, a fair maiden.

Later, owing to the new system of chronology, this holiday is held at night on 7, July.

There are two flowers symbols of the holiday. They are a non-existent fern flower and a cow-wheat flower.

The other custom associated with fire is a jumping through a burning fire. This fun was tended to be indulged by young men and women. If you jump over the bonfire nimbly, you will have a good health. If a loving couple jump over the bonfire nimbly, they will get married. If you don’t jump over the bonfire accurately, the year will be unhappy.



Beltane Fire Festival has a great resemblance to the Russian holiday Ivan Kupala. Both of these holidays are pagan, and the traditions of their celebration have much in common: jumping over the fire, scaring away evil spirits, home decoration, fortune-telling, dancing in ring. Both holidays are old-aged and are related to religion.

A Burning Man

If you want to choose the most unusual festival in the world, the “Burning Man” is one of the leaders. This is an annual of seven days event taking place in the US state of Nevada in the Black Rock Desert. This desert is saline and a closed lake. It is a part of the dried prehistoric lake Lanthanum which existed in 18-7 BC in the period of the last Ice age.

The festival begins on the last Monday of August at one minute past zero a.m. The culmination takes place on Saturday after the sunset when a huge wooden statue of a man is burnt down. The organizers themselves define the event as an experiment to create a community of radical self-expression. The works of modern art, often in fantastic shapes, are exhibited during the week in the desert. Some of them are burnt down long before the end of the festival. Hundreds of “mutated” machines of the incredible shapes drive at the festival.

Some participants are dressed in the costumes of art characters, animals and objects. Various actors and dancers give performances. DJs twist music on several dance pavilions. Each participant is responsible for his sustenance (food, water, protection from the heat, wind, cold, a lace to sleep, a shower) and cleaning the desert from any trace of their staying.

The first burning of a small wooden man by a small group of friends was in 1986 on one of San Francisco beaches. Later the number participants increased and they moved to its present location in the desert in Nevada. In 2015 70 thousand people participated in the festival.



A Straw Bear Festival

One of the most unusual and at the same time traditional English celebrations is held every winter in the north of the campus in Cambridge. The city Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire is one of the places in modern Britain where a Straw Bear Festival takes place up to our days.

In its basis there is a national rite dedicated to the spring fertility. It is a very funny rite and at the same time it is a fascinating pagan spectacle which was particularly loved by the British in the XIX century. More than 250 dancers and musicians performing traditional songs and dances take part in the festival. During this period all the pubs in the area work.

From early Saturday morning a man dressed up like a bear is led around the city. According to the old tradition the costume of the bear is made of straw. In the old days, immediately after gathering the harvest the farmers set aside the best straw for the celebration. The “Straw Bear” don’t go by itself. It is accompanied by the so-called “trainer” dressed in a neat suit and a bowler hat. The Straw Bear goes from house to house dancing and performing a variety of tricks in exchange for treats, tobacco and alcohol. A festive procession of musicians, dancers, actors and just spectators moves after it. Despite the fact that the festival has pagan roots, musicians traditionally perform the hymns. The march stops in one of the biggest bars in the city center. The burning of a Straw Bear “skin” is the main event of the day


There is a holiday in Russia which is also ended with the burning of a straw man. It is Maslenitsa.

Maslenitsa (Carnival)

The other names for the holiday are Maslyona, Maslenaya, Maslenaya Week, World Celebration, Blinnitsa, Blinschina, Pancake Week, Blinoedka, Prozhornaya week, Obedukha, Wide Maslenitsa, fair, fun Tselovalnitsa, Krivoshejka, Krivaya week, Boyarynya Maslenitsa, Dairy Week, Molochnitsa, Maslyonka, Masloed, Kolyada Maslyanaya, Cheese Week.

The personification of the holiday is a Maslenitsa scarecrow that is an echo of the dying and resurrecting god which guards fertility and fecundity.


The burning of the Maslenitsa scarecrow is a destruction of the old fertility and a push for a new revival of fruitful forces.

A praying part of Maslenitsa was also connected with fertility. Died ancestors according to the ideas of the peasants were at the same time in the heaven and in the land. This meant that they could affect its fertility. So it was extremely important not to offend their ancestors and to honor them with their attention. To do this, there are Maslenitsa praying rites: funeral feast (fistfights, horseracing), visiting cemeteries, abundant meal (originally praying) which included pancakes. Pancakes have become a main attribute of Maslenista in modern mass consciousness. On the contrary to popular belief, the pancakes have never been a symbol of the Sun among the Slavic people. They have always been a praying dish.

Centuries passed. New church holidays appeared with the adoption of Christianity in Russia but Maslenitsa continued living. Pancakes became one of the main attributes of this holiday.

Such rituals as “Forgiveness Sunday”, mother-in-law pancakes, fistfights, poles and the Maslenitsa burning down have been kept up to our days.


If the Burning Man Festival is a young and modern holiday, the Straw Bear Festival and Maslenitsa are the holidays with a long histories. Both of these holidays are connected with religion and fertility. The three holidays are celebrated in different time, but the scare which is burnt down at the end of all the holidays is made of straw in all presented countries. In the traditions of celebrating the Straw Bear Festival and Maslenitsa there are some common features: public merry-makings, tricks and singing songs.


Chimney Sweeps’ Day

In ancient times the craft of a chimney sweep was shrouded with some mystery. There were legends about the rich gentlemen who had lost their children and after the years of inconsolable grief they found them among chimney sweeps. The stories were surrounded by an aura of mystery. No one was able to treat


chimney sweeps badly. Everybody was afraid if he turned out to be the son of a peer or a noble lord. Many of those who believed in miracles thought that the cleaning of chimneys is a hard work and sooner or later chimney sweeps of noble birth would find their titles and ranks. It was customary to treat the chimney sweeps’ craft with great respect. With the development of technology the need for a chimney sweep has been decreased.

There are nearly 600 chimney sweeps in England nowadays. Modern heating systems are not needed in this profession but in old houses with fireplaces and stoves the pipes are still needed to be cleaned. Moreover, according to the belief, the meeting with the chimney sweep brings happiness. They are willingly invited to the weddings.

At the beginning of May there is Rochester Chimney- Sweeps Festival. It attracts a lot of tourists because of its colours. The Festival has been holding since 1981. It has three days programme. The festival programme includes performances of dancers and actors, chimney sweeps’ parades, dancing around the May pole, and many other colorful and exciting events. There are also a lot of amusements for children. One of the most important traditions of the festival is a colorful procession with dancing, where the procession is headed by the “milord.” It is followed by a procession with the “Jack-in-the-Green” who is a boy decorated with green leaves and branches. In front of the procession teenagers dressed like clowns make different tricks. Lords and ladies go after them. The procession is closed by the “lady” who collects “treasury”. “Jack-in-the-green” symbolizes the spring and forest spirits. In the evening the Festival moves smoothly in the local pubs where people drink a lot of beer and the local bands play national music.


Russia also has a holiday that honours those people who help us to live in cleanness and comfort. This holiday is called the Day of Workers of Housing and Communal Services.

A Day of Housing Workers and Communal Services

Formally the Day of Workers of Public Services and Housing and Communal Services was celebrated by those whose work was related to various


areas of service. This holiday was celebrated in the Soviet Union since 1966 on the fourth Sunday of July as the Day of Trade Workers, Public Services and Public Communal Services by the decree of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR from October 1, 1980. Since 2016 the Day of Workers of Housing Workers and Communal Services will be celebrated separately on the fourth Saturday of July.

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of professionalism and responsibility of those people who work in the sphere of housing and communal services. The workers of this sphere working tirelessly our homes always have water, gas, heat and light, pleasing to the eye to parks, streets, roads, yards and porches to be a pleasure to the eye.


Chimney Sweeps’ Day has an abundant history. The history of the Day of Housing Workers and Communal Services is not so abundant because of it is a young holiday. If Chimney Sweeps’ Day has bright traditions of its celebration, the Russian holiday has no unusual and bright traditions.


Bagpipe Festival

Scotland is the only country in the world that has kept a bagpipe as a folk instrument.

Bagpipe Festival is the most significant event for all fans of this musical instrument. This traditional festival of Scotland has been holding annually in August in Glasgow since 1930. The best music bands of the country attend the festival. The competition is held on 2 stages. The first stage of the competition is home assignment during which the contestants present a prearranged melody to judge of the spectators. During the second stage, the bands must perform a song chosen by an organized group.

The Scots believe that during the festival the sound of bagpipes are heard at a distance of 5 kilometers.

Wearing the Scottish kilt and furs at the festival on playing a bagpipe is a required subject for the participants.



Balalaika is a national Russian musical instrument. It also has its Birthday.

Balalaika Day

One of the most famous of Russian folk instruments balalaika celebrates its birthday on 23, June.

Balalaika Day is not an official holiday. But the musicians-populists have been celebrating it since 2008. They organize concerts and exhibitions of this instrument on this day. The idea of celebrating belongs to Dmitry Belinsky, the President of the Russian Folk-Music Club. The very history suggested the date of the holiday. Supposedly the first mention of the balalaika dates back to 23, June 1688. You can read the information about balalaika in the document “the Memory from the Archer's Order into the Russian order”


Some people think that this instrument is not interesting for anyone. But don’t jump to the conclusion! A lot of people still learn to play the balalaika on their own or at the educational institutions.

Both holidays make a feast in honour of the folk instruments and both of them have rich histories. While playing the bagpipe it is necessary to wear traditional kilts and furs. While playing the balalaika wearing Russian national clothes is not obligatory. There are some similarities in celebration of these two holidays. They are concerts and exhibitions of the instruments. But the main difference is that the Bagpipe Festival takes place only in Scotland while Balalaika Day is celebrated everywhere in Russia.


The comparative analysis shows that there are either a lot of similarities or a lot of differences among the Russian holidays and the holidays of the English speaking countries. Some holidays are quite young and modern while the others have long and bright histories. A few of the holidays are unique in their ways and have no analogues in the world.


Chapter 2 Sociological Research

We have done a sociological research. It consisted of 2 surveys. 20 pupils of the 7th form and 30 pupils of the 9th form took part in the surveys. The choice of these respondents was not made by chance. We wanted to compare the level of knowledge of the presented theme and the level of motivation of the pupils of two age groups to getting information about the theme.

2.1 SURVEY №1


The survey №1 included the questions on knowledge of unusual holidays, festivals and traditions of Russia and of the English speaking countries (see Enclosure №1).

hello_html_m68811aa6.jpgThe results of the survey №1 (see Enclosure №2) show that most of the pupils either in the first group or in the second one confuse the concepts “a traditional holiday, a festival” and “an unusual holiday, a festival.” Because of this, traditional holidays and festivals were mainly named.

Extremely high percentage of negative answers to the questions №№1, 2 shows that the pupils have practically no any knowledge about the unusual holidays, festivals and traditions not only of the English speaking countries but also of their native country.

2.2 SURVEY №2


The survey №2 (see Enclosure №3)included the questions on getting information about the students’ motivation to learning the unusual holidays, festivals and traditions of Russia and of the English speaking countries.

hello_html_m68811aa6.jpgThe results of the survey №2 (see Enclosure №4)) also show that most of the pupils either in the first group or in the second one confuse the concepts “a traditional holiday, a festival” and “an unusual holiday, a festival.” The results of the survey show that the children enjoy taking part in the holidays in general (positive answers to the questions №2 in both groups of pupils). They also would like to take part in any unusual holidays (100% of positive answers to the question №3 in both groups of pupils). The variety of the chosen holiday themes tells about the different interests of the pupils either in the first group or in the second one. In addition, the answers to the questions №№ 3, 4, 5 of the survey №1 roused positive emotions at the pupils.



We made the comparative analysis of the holidays, festivals and traditions of their celebration in our paper. Our hypothesis is confirmed. We have known that in spite of the fact that Russia differs from the English speaking countries very much there are some similarities in the traditions of celebrating. Either some Russian or some English, Canadian and American holidays have historic roots or have pagan origin. On the other hand, some holidays and festival take place only in one country. But all the holidays are bright and vivid.

As for me, it was interesting to look for the material, to analyze and to compare holidays, festivals and traditions. It was difficult to find information in books or magazines. The Internet helped us. The got information gave me new interesting knowledge.

In spite of the fact that the results of the surveys show that the pupils don’t know unusual holidays and festivals, they have a desire not only to know about them but also to take part in their celebrations. We think that our surveys will motivate the pupils to know more about unusual holidays and festivals of Russia and the English speaking countries.

The material of the paper will be interesting for pupils and teachers.


Enclosure №1

Survey №1

  1. What unusual English, Canadian or American holidays do you know?

  1. What unusual Russian holidays do you know?

  1. British people like cats very much. People in our country like cats too. Do

you know 8, June to be a Day of St. Petersburg Cats?

  1. A Burning Man” is an American holiday. How is it celebrated?

    1. people kill a man for the sake of gods. After that they gather together and have a great meal;

    1. American people gather in a desert and make sandcastles. Then they burn a straw man down;

    1. American people make a straw man and go around the town showing it to people.

  1. People celebrate the holiday devoted to the herring in Russia. How is it celebrated?

    1. People cook dishes and eat them. Then they go to a big concert;

    2. men go fishing for herring, women cook dishes and the family just eat it.


Enclosure №2

Results of Survey №1


1. What unusual English, Canadian or American holidays do you know?

The 7th Form

The 9th Form

Halloween - 6

Thanksgiving Day - 3

Guy Fakes Night - 1

Don’t know – 2


Don’t know – 13



2. What unusual Russian holidays do you know?




3. British people like cats very much. People in our country like cats too. Do you know 8, June to be a St.

Petersburg Cats’ Day?

  1. A Burning Man” is an American holiday. How is it celebrated?

    1. They kill people for the gods. After that people gather together for

a big dinner;

  1. American people gather in a desert and make sandcastles. Then they burn a straw man down;

  1. American people make a straw man and go with it in around the town.

The 7th Form

The 9th Form

a - 0

a - 1

b - 8

b - 6

c – 12

c - 23






5. People celebrate holiday devoted to the herring in Russia. How is it celebrated?

  1. People cook food and eat it. After that they go to a big concert;

  1. men go fishing for herring, women cook it and the family eats this food.


b – 18

b – 20





Enclosure №3

Survey №2

  1. What unusual holidays did you take part in?

  1. Did you enjoy it?

  1. Would you like to take part in any unusual holiday?

  1. What theme of the holiday is the most attractive for you?

а) “Appearance and Manners”;

    1. Animals”;

    2. Birds”;

    3. Dolls”;

е) “Water and Mud”;

  1. Masks and Costumes”;

  1. Food”;

  2. Fairytale Characters”;

  3. Fire”;

  4. Professions”;

  5. Musical Instruments”.


Enclosure №4

Results of Survey №2


1. What unusual holidays did you take part in?


The 9th Form


2. Did you enjoy it?

The 7th Form The 9th Form


3. Would you like to take part in any unusual holiday?

The 7th Form The 9th Form




4. What theme of the holiday is

7th Form

9th Form

the most attractive for you?

а) “Appearance and Manners”;



b) “Animals”;



c) “Birds”;



d) “Dolls;



е) “Water and Mud”;



f) “Masks and Costumes”;



g) “Food”;



h) “Fairytale Characters”;



i) “Fire”;



j) “Professions”;



k) “Musical Instruments”.





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