Holidays in Great Britain,
There are fewer public holidays in Great Britain than in other European countries. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday. May Day, Spring Bank Holiday and Summer Bank Holiday. Public holidays in Britain are called bank holidays, because the banks as well as most of the offices and shops are closed.
The most popular holiday is Christmas. Every year the people of Norways give the city of London a present. It's a big Christmas tree and it stands in Trafalgar Square. Central streets are beutifuly decorated. There are lots of traditions and customs dedicated to the Christmas day.
People decorate ther trees on the 24th of December. Children hang stockings at the end of their bed, hoping that Father Christmas will come down the chimney during the night and fill them with toys and sweets. Christams is a family holiday. The 26th of December, Boxing Day, is an extra holiday after Christmas Day.
New Year's Day is less popular in Britain than Christmas. But in Scotland Hogmanay is the biggest festival of the year. Besides public holidays there are some special festivals in Great Britain. On that day British burn a dummy, made of straw and old clothes, on a bonfire and let off fireworks. This dummy is called a "guy" (like Guy Fawkes and children can often be seen in the streets before the 5th of November, saying, "Penny for the guy." If they collect enough money they can buy some fireworks.
There are also smaller, local festivals in Britain.
The United Kingdom of G.B. and Northen Irelands is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consists of two large islands, G.B. and Ireland, and about five thousand small islands. Their total area is over 244,000 square kilometres.
The UK is made up of four countries:England, Wales, Scotland and Northen Ireland. GB consists of England, Scotland and Wales and doesn't include Northen Ireland. The capital of the UK is London.
The British Isles are separated from European continent by the North Sea and the English Channel. The western coast of GB is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands, while the south, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands.
There are a lot of rivers in GB, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest river, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one.
The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters if Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. The weather in GB is very changeable. A fine morning can change into a wet afternoon and evening and the wrong side out. The english people say:"Other countries have a climate; in England we have weather." The English also say that they have three variants of weather: when it rains in the morning, when it rains in the afternoon or t\when it rains all day long.
The weather is the favourite conversational topic in GB. After they greet each other they start talking the weather.
The best time of the year in GB is spring(of course, it rains in spring too). The two worst months in britain are January and February. They are cold, damp and unpleasant. The best place in the world then is at home by the big fire. Summer months are rather cold and there can be a lot of rainy days. So most people who look forward to summer holidays, plan to go abroad for the summer.
The most unpleasant aspect of English weather is fog and smog. This is extremely bad in big cities especially in London. The fog spreads everywhere so cars move along slowly and people can't see each other. They try not to be run over by a car but still accidents are frequent in the fog.
The Russian Federation
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. It occupies about one-seventh of the earth's surface. It covers the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia. Its total area is about 17 million square kilometres. The country is washed by 12 seas of 3 oceans:the Pacific, the Arctic and the Atlantic. In the south Russia borders on China, Mongolia, Korea, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the west it borders on Norway, Finland, the Baltic States, Belorussia, the Ukraine. It also has a sea-borders with the USA.
There is hardly a country in the world where such a variety of scenery and vegetation can be found. We have steppes in the south, plains and forests in the midland, tundra and taiga in the nirth, highlands and deserts in the east.
There are two great plains in Russia:the Great Russian Plain and the West Siberian Lowland. There are several mountains chains on the territory of the country: the Urals, the Caucasus, the Altai and others. The largest mountain chain, the Urals, separates Europe from Asia.
There are over two million rivers in Russia. Europe's biggest river, the Volga, flows into the Caspian Sea. The main Siberian rivers- the Ob, the Yenisei and the Lena- flow from the south to the north. The Amur in the Far East flows into the Pacific Ocean.
Russia is reach in beautiful lakes. The world's deepest lake is Lake Baikal. It is much smaller than the Baltic Sea, but there is much more water in it than in the Baltic Sea. The water in the lake is so clear that if you look down you can count the stones on the bottom.
Russia has one-sixth of the world's forests. They are concentrated in the European north of the country, in Syberia and in the Far East.
On the vast territory of the country there are various types of climate, from arctic in the north to subtropical in the south. In the middle of the country the climate is temperate and continental.
Russia is very reach in oil, iron ore, natural gas, copper, nickel and other mineral resources.
Russia is a parliamentary republic. The Head of State is the President. The legislative powers are exercised by the Duma.
The capital of Russia is Moscow. It is its largest political, scientific, cultural and industrial centre. It's one of the oldest Russian cities.
At present, the political and economic situationn in the country is rather complicated. There are a lot of problems in the national economy of the Russian Federation. The industrial production is decreasing. The prices are constantly rising, the rate of inflation is very high. People are losing their jobs because many factories and plants are going bankrupt.
But in spite of the problems Russia is facing at present, there are a lot of opportunities for this country to become one of the leading countries in the world. I'm sure that we, the younger generation, can do very much to make Russia as strong and powerful as it used to be.
Holidays in Russia.
There are many holidays in Russia, when people all over the country do not work and special celebrations.
The major holidays are: New Year's Day, Women's Day, May Day, Victory Day, and Independence Day.
The first holiday of the year is New Year Day. People see the new year in at midnight on the 31st of December. They greet the New Year with champagne and listen to the Kremlin chimes beating 12 o'clock.
There are lots of New Year traditions in Russia. In every home there is a New Year tree glittering with coloured lights and decorations, Children always wait for Father Frost to come and give them a present. Many people consider New Year's Day to be a family holiday. But the young prefer to have New Year Parties of their own.
A renewed holiday in our Country is Christmas. It is celebrated on the 7th of January. It's religious holiday and a lot of people go to church servies on that day.
On the 8th of March we celebrate Women's day when men are supposed to do everything about the house and cook all the meals.
The greatest national holiday in our country is Victory Day. On the 9th of May, 1945, the Soviet Army and its allies completely defeated the German fascists and the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War ended. Few years ago we celebrated 50th year anniversry of this great event.
Independence Day is a new holiday in our country. On the 12th of June, 1992, the first President of Russia was elected.
We also celebrate Day of the Defender of Motherland on the 23rd of February, Easter, Day of Knowledge and lots of professional holidays which are not public.