Реферат: USA holidays
1. NEW YEAR’S DAY
2. MARTIN LUTHER KING’S BIRTHDAY
3. ST VALENTINE’S DAY
4. PRESIDENT’S DAY
5. ST PATRICK’S DAY
6. APRIL FOOL’S DAY
7. EARTH DAY
8. TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY
10. MAY DAY
11. MOTHER’S DAY
12. MEMORIAL DAY
13. FLAG DAY
14. INDEPENDENCE DAY
15. FATHER’S DAY
16. LABOR DAY
17. COLUMBUS DAY
19. ELECTION DAY
20. VETERANS DAY
21. THANKSGIVING DAY
The population of the USA is made up of people of different
nationalities. Centuries ago they brought with them their native
celebrations. Some holidays which are marked in the US originated
in America. There is no provision for national holidays in the
USA. The number of holiday is different in different states – from
8 in the District of Columbia to 20 in Oklahoma.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
Love and joi come to you,
And to you your wassail, too !
And God bless you and send you
A happy new year !
Although in the United States the official holiday is January the 1
st, the celebration really begins on December 31st. New
Year’s Day is celebrated with parties which last beyond midnight so
that everyone can see in the New Year and watch the Old Year out.
Theatres, night clubs, restaurants are crowded. At 12:00 midnight when
the ringing of bells popping of champagne bottles and fire crackers,
and blowing of sirens and whistles announce the start of New Year.
People throw streamers and confetti, shake hands, exchange kisses and
embraces, and wish each other a “Happy New Year !” Some people
gather in the street of big cities, they ring bells, shoot of guns
and firecrackers. January 1st is celebrated with parades in
some cities. One of the noisiest and most crowded of New Year’s
Eve celebration take place in New York City at Time Square.
Thousands of New Yorkers gather there, and millions of Americans
across the country join them by TV.
Following a long, chaotic New Year’s Eve, Americans spend a quiet
New Year Day. In most households everyone sleeps late, often enjoys
meals and TV with the family and friends. Two famous New Year’s
Day festivals are showed for national viewing: the Tournament of
Roses and Mummer’s Parade. Both of these events have been American
traditions for more than half a century.
The Mummer’s Parade, which take place in Philadelphia is a ten –
hour spectacle. It was introduced in the US by Swedish immigrants.
There are clowns, musicians, dancers – all led by King Momus dressed
in bright satin.
The Tournament of Roses take place in Pasadena, California. Prizes
are awarded to the cities with the most unusual and attractive
floral displays. After the parade, the Rose Bowl football game, a
struggle between two top - ranking college football teams, is
played. Those events attract thousands of tourists and millions of
Besides champagne, streamers and noisemakers, other symbols of the
New Year celebration include a clock or hour glass, an old man
symbolizing the Old year, and a new baby symbolizing the New year.
This may be an allusion to the ancient Roman god Janus, for whom
the month of January is named. Legend has it that Janus had two
faces, one looking into the past, and the other looking into the
future. This certainly personifies the sentiments of many people
who, on New Year’s Day think both about the past year with its
achievements and shortcomings as well as looking forward with hope
to a new and better year to come. Sincere and practical, many
Americans even write down their “New year resolutions” to do
specific things like giving up smoking, going on a diet, getting
up earlier, spending less money on clothes, etc. Even though such
resolutions are rarely kept, at least they make for a good laugh
when the next New Year comes.
MARTIN LUTHER KING’S BIRTHDAY
“I have a dream that my four
children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be
judged by the color of their skin
but by the content of their
Martin Luther King
On January 15th, people in the United States celebrate the
birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a great civil rights
leader who fought against racial discrimination. He said that people
should be judged by their characters, and not the color of their
skin. He believed in integration. He received national attention when
he protested the injustice of segregated buses in Alabama.
Martin Luther King is remembered in church memorial services,
marches, and public ceremonies. People also listen to his speeches,
watch TV documentaries, and sing spirituals and the civil rights
anthem “We Shall Overcome.” In schools, students read about this
leader, study his writings and celebrate his memory with special
programs. Politicians and performers also participate in celebrations
to honor Martin Luther King.
The third Monday in January is a legal holiday to honor Martin
ST VALENTINE’S DAY
It’s Valentine’s Day. And in the street
There’s freezing rain, and slush, and sleet.
The wind is fierce. The skies are gray.
I don’t think I’ll go out today.
But here inside the weather’s warm.
There is no trace of wind or storm.
And you just made the morning shine.
You said you’d be my Valentine.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th. It isn’t a
national holiday. Banks and offices are open this day, but it is a
happy little festival in honor of St Valentine, patron sweethearts
and lovers. In this day school children typically make valentines
for their teachers and classmates and put them in a large decorated
mailbox. It is customary on the day to send a “Valentine”, a card
with affectionate message to someone you love, or to your best
friends or a little present. The greeting cards are often colored
red trimmings and pictures of heart.
Whatever the reasons, Americans of all ages love to send and
receive valentines and to hear and sing the thousands of new and
traditional love songs which flood television and radio programs on
Among all the red hearts, birds, love letters, candies, chocolates
and kisses which comprise symbolism and realia, Cupid or Eros is
the unquestioned favorite in personifying the spirit of the day.
According to Greek ( later Roman ) tradition. Cupid was the
eternally child – like son of Venus, the goddess of love. Although
he remained a baby, he could fly and was equipped with a tiny
bow and countless golden arrows special power, and that is why if
Cupid shot you with his arrow, you would fall in love with the
first person you met.
So St Valentine’s Day is the day of love for many people.
Until 1986 this holiday was in fast two holidays: Abraham Lincoln’s
Birthday, celebrated on February 12, and George Washington’s Birthday,
celebrated on February 22. Their birthdays are celebrated on the 3
rd Monday in February.
Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War ( 1861 – 1865 ).
He led the fight to keep the nation together and free the slaves.
His life ended tragically. He was killed at the theatre during the
performance soon after the victory of the North. In honor of this
great man a beautiful memorial has been built in Washington, D. C.
George Washington led the American Army to victory in the War for
Independence. Later he was elected President of the United States
and was in office for 8 years (1789 –1797). The national capital
of the United States, a state and several towns are named after
George Washington. In addition to commemorating the birth of the
US’s first President, it’s a great day for shoppers. The department
stores of Washington, D. C., started a national tradition of sales
marked by unusual bargains. The US Congress observes the birthday
of G. Washington with speeches and reading from his works.
ST PATRIC’S DAY
It’s a great day for the Shamrock,
For the flags in full array,
We’re feeling so inspirish,
Sure because for all the Irish
It’s a great, great day!
On March 17th, Americans celebrate an Irish religious
holiday, St Patrick’s Day. It is a day to remember the Irish
people in the United States and Ireland. Ireland is a country with
a lot of green grass and shamrocks. Shamrock are small plants with
three leaves. There is a lot of green in Ireland, so green is
Ireland’s national color.
People often wear green clothes on St Patrick’s Day. There are
parades in many cities with large Irish population, but the largest
parade is in New York. Many people go to parties. They sing,
dance, and eat Irish food. Some drink green beer.
St Patrick was a priest in Ireland many years ago. He taught the
Irish people about God. St Patrick died on March 17th in
the year 461.
Beginning in 1845, many Irish people moved to the United States.
They came because there wasn’t enough food to eat in Ireland. St
Patrick’s Day celebrations helped the Irish remember their country,
their music and their families. Many Americans say, “Everyone is
Irish on St Patrick’s Day.”
APRIL FOOL’S DAY
The first of April, some do say,
It set apart for All Fool’s Day.
But why the people call it so,
Nor I, nor they themselves do know.
But on this day are people sent
On purpose for pure merriment.
April Fool’s Day is celebrated on April 1st. It is the day
for harmless tricks and good laughs. The origin of April Fool’s Day
or All Fool’s Day goes back to the dilemma faced by many Europeans
in 1562 when Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar, one which
shifted the start of new year from its traditionally warm nesting
place of April 1st to the cold and dreary date of
Today in the United States both children and adults play small
tricks on each others. If the trickster is still around he or she
may take credit for his deed by shouting “April Fool !” but
probably not before you’ve spoiled your cup of morning coffee or
tea. If you are innocent victim of such mischief, your first
reaction may be to “wring the scoundrel’s neck.”
American author and satirist Mark Twain summed up the nature of
the holiday thus: “The first of April is the day we remember what
we are the other 364 days of the year.”
The earth is a garden.
It’s a beautiful place.
For all living creatures,
For all the human race
April 22 is a special day around the world. On that day
inhabitants of Earth celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day is a time when
many people show that they care for our fragile planet. They show
concern about the threats the planet faces – destruction of the rain
forest, holes in the ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, too much
garbage, and all forms of air and water pollution. It is a day
for people to learn what they can do to preserve the planet
The first Earth Day was held in the U.S. twenty two years ago,
in April 1970. At that time, Americans were just beginning to
learn about the problems facing the planet.
TAKE YOUR DAUGHTER TO WORK DAY
This holiday is celebrated on April 28th. Schools are closed
this day and girls go to work to their mothers. It is very
important holiday, because girls know that can become anything they
want when they grow up. If the mothers don’t work the girls stayed
at home and mothers teach them to cook, to work at home and to
hold the house.
EASTER Easter is a Christian religious holiday. Ibis
memory of Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It falls on the first
Sunday after the first full moon between March, 22, and April, 25.
The 40 days before Easter are called Lent. Just before Easter,
schools and colleges usually close. The students have a week or ten
days of spring holidays.
Easter is a church holiday, and many churches have an outdoor
sunrise service. On the night before Easter, an imaginary creature
known as the Easter Bunny comes to visit children and leaves a
basket filled with candy in the shape of eggs, bunnies and baby
chicks. Another tradition is painting hard – boiled eggs different
colors and designs on them. It is common to hide these eggs, as
well as candy eggs, for children to look for an Easter Sunday as
part of an Easter egg hunt.
It’s May! It’s May! The lusty month of May,
That lovely month when everyone goes
Blissfully astray !
The roots of the May Day celebration go back to very ancient time
and are evident in many civilizations, where basically the idea was
to express gratitude to the gods for the renewal of spring. May
Day was not widely celebrated in the United States during its
early years, because the Puritans disapproved of frivolous
Some American parents and teachers use this holiday as a chance to
encourage their children and students to bring some surprise and
joy into the life of the lonely or aged. They make May baskets
filled with flowers and candy and hang them on doorknobs throughout
their neighborhoods, sometimes ringing the bell, hiding, and watching
smiles replace frowns and unexpected joy light up the wrinkled
faces of their neighbors.
“M” is for the million things she gave me.
“O” means only that she’s growing old.
“T” is for the tears she shed to save me.
“H” is for her heart of purest gold.
“E” is for her eyes, with lovelights shining.
“R” means right she’ll always
Put them all together; they spell “mother”,
A word that means the world to me.
In the United States Americans honor their mothers and grandmothers,
on the second Sunday in May. This day is set aside to show love
and respect for mother. On Mother’s Day children give thanks for
the support, love, care, and guidance. Giving cards and gifts is
also tradition. Children often make Mother’s Day gifts in school.
Pin cushions, sachets, tie clasps, decorated boxes and picture
frames, recipe holders, and plaster – cast hand prints are all
popular favorites. Another common gift for mothers is the “mother
ring,” a ring set with the birthstones of each of the members of
Mother’s Day was first proclaimed a national holiday by President
Woodrow Wilson in 1915. The idea of honoring mothers on a special
day started with Ann Jarvis, from Grafton, West Virginia, who chose
the second Sunday in May and began the custom of wearing a red
carnation if one’s mother was still living and a white carnation
if one’s mother was deceased. If the latter is the case, many
people visit their mother’s grave side and dedicate the day to
their mother’s memory.
The last Monday in May is Memorial Day. This is a national
holiday to remember the dead. The first Memorial Day was many
years ago after the Civil War (1861 –1865). After the war, people
wanted to remember the dead. So around 1866, people began to
decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. People called this day
Decoration Day or Poppy Day (Poppies are small red flowers).
On the Memorial Day, Americans honour the servicemen who gave their
lives in past wars. Schools, clubs and churches decorate the
cemeteries. They put up the flags on the graves of the army, navy
and airmen. They hold memorial services in churches, halls, parks
In addition to solemn services Memorial Day is often marked by
other, more joyful ceremonies: colorful parades, sports competitions.
Then hurrah for the flag, our country’s flag,
Its stripes and white stars, too.
There is no flag in any land
Like our own Red, White and Blue.
On June 14th, 1777, the United States adopted its first
flag. Today Americans honor the US flag each year on June 14th
. Flag Day is a national commemorative day. It is not a holiday
from work. Many people fly the flag outside their homes and
businesses on this day.
The American flag has different names. One name is “The Red,
White, and Blue.” This name is for the colors of the flag.
Another name is “The Stars and Stripes.” This name is for the 50
stars and 13 stripes.
The flag did not always have 50 stars and 13 stripes. In 1777,
the original flag had 13stars and 13stripes for the 13 colonies.
The 13 colonies became the first 13 states. Then more states
joined the United States. In 1794, the flag had 15 stars and 15
stripes. Then more states joined. This created a problem for the
flag makers. The flag was getting too big! So in 1818, Congress
decided to have only 13 stripes on the flag. They decided to add
one star for each new state. So now there are 50 stars and
13stripes on the flag.
Land of hope and liberty,
Freedom rings from every mountain,
From sea to sea.
July 4th is Independence Day. Another name for Independence
Day is the Fourth of July. On this day in 1776 the final of the
Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, was adopted.
Independence Day is a national holiday. Government offices, banks,
and schools close. Most people don’t go to work. Families and
friends get together outside for picnics and cookouts.
Traditionally the Fourth of July is celebrate with firing of guns
and fireworks, parades open – air meetings and speeches praising
“Americanism, democracy, free enterprise.”
Independence Day isn’t only day for cookouts, noise, and fireworks.
It is also a day to think about freedom. The Declaration of
Independence says everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence more than 200
years old, but its ideas are important today.
Everything to both of us is so new.
As you learn about the world
I learn about you,
There’s no need to fear.
Daddy will be here,
And I’ll love and care for you
Through the years.
People in the United States honor their fathers with special day:
Father’s Day. This holiday is celebrated on the third Sunday in
Father’s Day dates back to 1909, when one daughter, a certain Mrs.
Dodd from Spokane, Washington, wanted to honor her own father who
had raised four sons and a daughter after her mother’s death.
Although the first Father’s Day was observed in Spokane in 1910
and it has been likewise observed in many other states for many
decades, Father’s Day did not become a national holiday until
Senator Margaret Chase Smith helped to establish it as such in
Giving cards and gifts is the tradition of this holiday. Children
make them in schools. Many people make their own presents. Greeting
cards, stores, florists, candy makers, bakeries, telephone companies
and other stores do a lot of business during this day.
Labor Day is a legal holiday. It is celebrated each year on the
first Monday in September. It was planned as a day to honor
workers in America and to give them a long weekend holiday from
Labor Day was started in 1882 by a union called the Knights of
Labor. The first celebration was a long parade followed by a
picnic in New York City. In 1894 Congress made it a legal
Labor Day is traditionally celebrated with parades, speeches, and
recognition of the labor unions. Labor Day sales are a popular
event held on this holiday. Barbecues and picnics are popular on
Labor Day. They mark the end of the summer season. Schools usually
open after this holiday.
The American continent was discoved in
1492 by the Spanish seaman Christopher Columbus. Columbus is said to
be the first Euaropen man, stepping on the American land, and that
day, when it was happend, the 12th of October, became the
holiday, which is called Columbus Day. This holiday is celebrated in
34 States of the USA and Puerto Rico. There are parades and
parties in San Francisco and New York. One of the squares of New
York is called Columbus Circle with the monument of Columbus in the
middle of it.
It’s Halloween! It’s Halloween!
The moon is full and bright
And we shall see what we can’t be seen
On any other night.
Halloween is the day or evening before All Saints Day. The name is
a shortened version of “All Hallows Eve” the night before All
Saints Day which is celebrated on November 1st by the
Catolic Church. Halloween customs date back to a time when people
believed in devils, witches and ghost. They thought that these evil
spirits could do all kinds of damage to property. Some people tried
to ward off witches by paintings signs on their barns. Others tried
to scare them away by nailing a piece of iron, such as horseshoe,
over the door.
Now most of people do not believe in evil spirits. On this day
they just have a nice holiday. Children dress up as ghosts and
witches and go out into the street to beg. They from house to
house and say: “Trick or treat!”, meaning “Give me a treat or
I’ll play a trick on you”. People give them candy, cookies and
apples. This custom comes from the Celts in ancient Britain who
feared the coming of winter and dressed in frightening costumes so
the demons of winter would think they were one of them and do
them no harm. Hence, the origin of costumes for today’s
celebration: It represents a devil coming to your home whom you
can placate with a treat.
A favorite custom is making a jack – o – lantern. Children scrape
out a pumpkin and cut the outlines of eyes, nose and mouth in
its side. They light a candle inside the pumpkin to scare their
friends. This custom refers to a man named Jack who still wanders
around the earth lighting his way with a pumpkin lantern.
The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is Election
Day. It is a legal holiday. Since 1845, by Act of Congress, this
date has been set aside for elections.
On this day American citizen elect their public officials,
president, congressmen, governors, mayors and judges. All states
require that voters be citizens of the United States.
“Election Day” sales in stories are very popular on this day. The
night of the election, people watch the election results on TV.
They listen to the speeches made by the winners.
November 11th is a national holiday. Veterans Day is a day
to remember and honor all those Americans who served in the armed
forces and particularly those who fought during the Spanish –
Americans War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the
Vietnam War. People also remember those soldiers missing in action.
This day reminds people of the courage and patriotism of all men
and women who serve their country.
President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice
Day so Americans would not forget the tragedies of war. In 1954
Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to honor all United
States veterans. It is also a day dedicated to world peace.
On this day, the radio and television broadcast services held at
the National Cemetery in Arlington. High officials come from
Washington to attend these services. They place a wreath of flowers
at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All stand in silence for a
few minutes at eleven o’clock to honor the memory of the
serviceman killed in the two World Wars.
When Pilgrims sailed to this new land,
They met a friendly Indian band.
The Indians taught them to plant, hunt, and fish,
Then they all had a feast with many a tasty dish.
Thanksgiving Day is marked on the fourth Thursday of November in
memory of the first Thanksgiving Day held by the early Pilgrim
settles in Massachusetts in 1621, in gratitude for the successful
harvest. They experienced difficulty in those early times and
survived only with the help of American Indians who taught them
how to grow and harvest indigenous foods such as squash and corn.
The first Thanksgiving day lasted three days and was celebrated
with their Indian friends.
Thanksgiving was proclaimed a national day of observance by Congress
in 1941 .
Thanksgiving Day is a four – day holiday for most Americans. This
is a family holiday. Families come together from near and far. In
some places special religious services are held in the morning.
Then comes the traditional feast. Turkey with stuffing is the main
dish. It is served with sweet potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce,
and pumpkin pie. Apple cider is the drink of the day.
Football is the most popular game on this day. Usually there are
several football games to watch on TV. There is Thanksgiving Day
Parade in New York City.
Stores, classrooms, and homes are decorated with turkeys, pilgrims,
Indians, wreaths of dried flowers, and vegetables. Horns of plenty
are also very popular.
It’s time for hanging stockings,
It’s time for riding sleighs,
It’s time for jolly greeting,
Snow and holly overeating,
It’s Christmas! Merry Christmas!
It’s the best of holidays.
Christmas is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus
Christ. Americans celebrate Christmas on December the 25th .
It is usually a one – day official holiday, but it is proceeded and
followed by festive parties. By this day people decorate fir - trees
with toys and candies. Children wait for Santa Claus who comes to
every house and brings them presents. Before going to bed, children
leave their shoes to find in them what they want most of all the
Decorating the house with holly, ivy and mistletoe is a custom,
which comes from England. Ivy means immortality. Holly is a bush with
shiny red berries and glossy leaves with a characteristic shape and
sharp pointy edges. Because it remains green throughout the year it
was believed to hold a promise that the sun would return. Holly'’
berries symbolize Christ’s blood. Mistletoe is an interesting green
parasitic plant which grows in globe – like formations high up in
the branches of oak trees. Springs of it are tied together with
ribbons and hung up in doorways. By custom anyone standing under
the mistletoe gets to be kissed.
Christmas is a family holiday. Schools and colleges close between
Christmas and New Year’s Day. People stay at home and spend the
time with their families. Everybody tries to come home for
Christmas. People send cards or Christmas greetings to family and
friends away from home. All the members of the family exchange
gifts. It is a merry holiday.
Some holidays in America have their own symbols. Here they are:
1. Presidents Day 6.
2. Columbus Day 7. New
3. St. Patrick’s Day 8.
Martin Luther King’s day
4. Easter 9.
5. Valentine’s Day 10.
And there are festival post cards for every holiday, which American
people give the friends and relatives when they congratulate each
other. Here are some postcards for some parties:
Such are the US holidays. A holiday has simply become, for most Americans,
a day off from work. No matter what the holiday’s origin is, they
all seem to be the same thing, though some (for example, Thanksgiving,
Christmas, Halloween) retain some individuality.
The list of literature:
1. “Holidays Go Round and Round”; Authors: Kathleen Carroll,
Marina Novikova. St Petersburg, 1996, Triada Publishing.
2. “Английский для поступающих в ВУЗы”; Authors: Цветкова И. В.,
Клепальченко И. А., Мыльцева Н. А. Москва, ГЛОССА, 1995.
3. “95 устных тем по английскому языку”; Author: Занина Е. А.
Москва, Айрис Рольф, 1997.
4. “Spotlight on the USA”; Author: Natalia Timanovskaya. Тула,
5. “Living in the United States”. Intercultural exchange series.
Copy right 1994.
6. “Happy English 2”; Authors: Татьяна Клементьева, Джилл Шэннон.
Обнинск, Титул, 1996.
7. “English”. Еженедельное приложение к газете “ Первое сентября”,
N 7, 9, 11, 17, 18, 20, 29, 32, 36, 42, 1994.