Говоримо англійською - 40 розмовних тем - Л. П. Ільєнко 1997

The United States of America
Holidays celebrated in the United States

New words to be remembered:

to celebrate святкувати

to honor вшановувати

to commemorate увічнювати

clothing одяг

gift подарунок

People in the United States, like citizens of most countries, look forward to a number of holidays each year. These days usually celebrate a patriotic, political or religious event of the past. Among the patriotic holidays in the United States are Labour Day, Veteran’s Day, Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. Political holidays include Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday and Independence Day.

Many Americans think of two religious holidays — Easter and Christmas — as the most important celebrations of the year. One holiday in a category of its own is New Year’s Day.

Labour Day, celebrated on the first Monday of September, pays tribute to the agricultural and industrial workers who have contributed to America’s growth over the past 300 years. Veterans’ Day honors the і non who have served in the United States armed forces. On the second Monday of October, Americans pause to recall the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, who set out in the fifteenth century in search of the New World. The Thanksgiving holiday recalls America’s earlier history. Thanksgiving dinners, centred around roast turkey, are served on the third Thursday of November in memory of the colonists who first came from England in the seventeenth century to settle in Massachusetts.

Another type of American holiday, the political celebration, commemorates significant figures or events in United States history. Two highly esteemed presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, are honored by a single holiday: the birthdays of Washington, the first president of the United States, and of Lincoln, America’s Civil War president, are celebrated on Presidents’ Day, the third Monday of February. Perhaps the most colourful celebration each year takes place on Independence Day, popularly called the Fourth of July. Many families plan picnics and attend public fireworks displays on this political holiday recalling the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

Unlike America’s political holidays, two popular religious holidays are marked by intense preparations and lengthy celebration. Most schools and colleges are closed for a week’s vacation in spring at Easter. The holiday takes place each year sometime between March 22 and April 25, During Easter many homes are decorated with white lilies. In many cities, families dressed in their new spring clothing walk down the main street in an «Easter Parade». For children, Easter brings the excitement of the mythical Easter rabbit, who hides coloured eggs for them to find. Each year at Easter children gather for festivities on the White House lawn in Washington D.C.

A religious holiday in which the leaving of gifts plays an even more important part is Christmas. Celebrating the birthday of Christ, Christmas occurs on December 25. Most schools are closed for the last two weeks of December. Because the three Magi were said to have brought gifts to Christ at his birth, American families leave gaily wrapped packages under a decorated ever-green tree on the night before Christmas to be opened the next morning.

Like people everywhere, Americans welcome the idea of making a fresh start in life. For this reason the first day of every new year is celebrated as a holiday.

Answer the following questions:

1. What patriotic holidays are there in the USA?

2. What holidays do many Americans think of as the most important celebrations of the year?

3. Name the political celebrations, commemorating significant figures or events in the United States history.

4. What religious holidays are the most popular among Americans?

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