Holidays in Russia, Britain and the USA

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e May Day commemorates the suppression of the workers in Chicago on May 1, 1886, who were struggling for an eight-hour working day. In 1889 American Labour Unions decided to hold such demonstrations everywhere. This social festival is observed in different countries. St. Valentines Day is celebrated on February 14. It is not an official holiday, but people in many countries celebrate it in a very special manner. They send greeting cards to the people they love. Such cards are called "Valentines". This day is named after a Christian martyr, whose feast day is observed on that day. It is held that Valentine before his execution sent a message of friendship to his prison wardens blind daughter. Nowadays New Year is celebrated at midnight on 31st in many countries. Although certain countries calculate time by other calendars, most countries number their years according to the Gregorian calendar introduced in the 16-th century by Pope Gregory XIII. Although certain countries follow their national calendar, they always remember January 1. New Years Day is a cultural festival. Bells ring out around the world to welcome New Year.

- Is there anything common in the celebration of New Years Day in different countries?

- New Year is a family day. On this day everyone gives and receives presents. Both adults and children love it. People believe that a miracle is a must on this day. They are also convinced that if New Year begins well it will continue like that. On the New Year night people visit their friends or stay at home and watch TV. The dancing goes on all night. On January 1 business offices, banks, schools are closed so that people can feast, dance, and generally enjoy themselves.

- Are there differences in the celebrations and customs of New Year in European countries?

- In Scotland New Years Eve is called Hogmanay. It is notable for its Flambeaux Procession and the custom of First-Footing. Most differences in European tradition are connected with a meal or special food. Food is essential because most people prefer to stay up all night to welcome New Year. In Switzerland special bread, rich in butter, eggs and raisins is baked and a roasted goose is cooked. In Spain there is a custom to eat 12 grapes at midnight. In Greece some people play cards believing that they will be lucky the whole year if they win. In Turkey celebrations are held in restaurants all night long.

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