Holidays in the United States of America

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r who are not Christian. In this way, some Christmas traditions have become American traditions. Going home for Christmas is a most cherished tradition of the holiday season. No matter where you may be the rest of the year, being at "home" with your family and friends for Christmas is "a must." The Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are the busiest times of the year at airports, train stations and bus depots. It seems that all America is on the move and Americans are on their way to spend the holidays with their loved ones. This means that the house will be full of cousins, aunts and uncles that might not see each other during the year. Everyone joins in to help in the preparation of the festivities. Some family members go to choose a Christmas tree to buy and bring home. Others decorate the house or wrap presents. And of course, each household needs to make lots of food! Christmas Eve, there are evening church services. Attention is focused on the nativity scene, while all join in singing carols. On Christmas Day, there are other religious ceremonies at churches which families attend before they make their rounds to visit friends and relatives.

The Christmas table looks much like a Thanksgiving feast of turkey or ham, potatoes and pie. No Christmas is complete without lots of desserts, and nothing symbolizes Christmas more than baked breads and cookies hot from the oven. Many American traditional desserts, like other Christmas customs, were started long ago in other parts of the world. Guests bring English fruit cake or plum pudding as presents to their hosts. "Crostoli," fried bread spiced with orange peel, is made in Italian-American communities. As an ending for the Christmas banquet, Americans of German background eat "Pfeffernuesse," bread full of sweet spices. Doughnuts are a holiday offering in many Ukrainian-American homes. Norwegian "Berlinerkranser" is a wreath-shaped cookie, dozens are made, but few are left by Christmas morning! Candy doesn't remain for long, either, during the holiday weeks. Hard candies such as peppermint candy canes and curly green and red ribbon candy are traditional gifts and goodies. year human interest newspaper articles remind readers of the origin of Christmas. Shelters for the homeless and hungry appeal through the newspaper to send money or gifts to those who are less fortunate. Members of organization such as the Salvation Army dress up as Santa Claus and stand on the sidewalks outside stores to collect money for their own soup kitchens. City police forces supervise a "Toys for Tots" donation, in which people contribute new or used toys for children in hospitals and orphanages. Employees give a small part of their pay checks as a donation to a favourite charity. Such groups and organizations try to emphasize the true message of Christmas- to share what you have with others


. St. Valentines Day


Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? , who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men - his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl - who may have been his jailor's daughter - who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints.Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America. to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.


8. April Fool's Day


The first of April is the day we remember we are the other 364 days of the year.


In sixteenth-century France, the start of the new year was observed on April first. It was celebrated in much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night. Then in 1562, Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar for the Christian world, and the New Year fell on January first. There were some people, however, who hadn't heard or didn't believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April first. Others played tricks on them and called them "April fools." They sent them on a "fool's errand" or tried to make them believe that something false was true. In France today, April first is called "Poisson d'Avril." French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their friends' backs. When the "young fool" discovers this trick, the prankster yells "Poisson dAvril!" (April Fish!)

The "fools' errands" we play on people are practical jokes. Putting salt in the sugar bowl for the next person is not a nice trick to play on a stranger. College students set their clocks an hour behind, so their roommates show up to the wrong class - or not at all. Some practical jokes are kept up the whole day before the victim realizes what day it is. Most April Fool jokes are in good fun and not meant to harm anyone. The cleverest April Fool joke is the one where everyone laughs, especially the person upon whom the joke is played.

public holiday сulture america

9. Halloween


On October 31st, dozens of children dressed in costumes knock on their neighbours' doors and yell, "Trick or Treat" when the door opens. Pirates and princesses, ghosts and popular heroes of the day all hold bags open to catch the candy or other goodies that the neighbours drop in. As they give each child a treat the neighbours exclaim over the costumes and try to guess who is under the masks.the 800's November 1st is a religious holiday known as All Saints' Day. The Mass that was said on this day was called All Hallowmas. The evening before became known as All Hakkiwe'en, or Halloween. Like some other American celebrations, its origins lie in both pre-Christian and Christian customs. 31st was the eve of the Celtic New Year. The Celts were the ancestors of the present-day Irish, Welsh and Scottish people. On this day ghosts walked and mingled with the living, or so the Celts thought. The townspeople baked food all that day and when night fell they dressed up and tried to resemble the souls of the dead. Hoping that the ghosts would leave peacefully before midnight of the New Year the people carried the food to the edge of town and left it for them.originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits. Witches flying on broomsticks with black cats, ghosts, goblins and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween. They are popular trick-or-treat costumes and decorations for greeting cards and windows. Black is one of the traditional Halloween colours, probably because Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night. In the weeks before October 31, Americans decorate windows of houses and schools with silhouettes of witches and black cats.are also a symbol of Halloween. The pumpkin is an orange-coloured squash, and orange has become the other traditional Halloween colour. Carving pumpkins into jack- o'lanterns is a Halloween custom also dating back to Ireland. A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died, because he was a miser. He couldn't enter hell either because he had played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgement Day. The Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips, beets or potatoes representing "Jack of the Lantern," or Jack-o'lantern. When the