Festivals, National Holidays and Customs
In the course of the year we have many opportunities for celebrations. Most often we celebrate the birthday, name day, wedding and baptism of one of our relatives or acquaintances. At this occasion the guest of honour receives presents, flowers, candy and other gifts.
Christmas. Every year we look forward to Christmas. Christmas is one of those holidays that most people look forward to. Christmas is celebrated in other countries as well, with each nation keeping its own customs and folk traditions. Christmas is said to be a holiday of calm and peace. At this time we tend to think more about other people. We look for suitable gifts for those who are dear to us. That´s why, from the end of November, all the shops and department stores are overfilled with people. Everyone tries to select the best present from the large quantity of goods offered. Advent begins four weeks before Christmas Eve (December 24th). During this period we prepare for the long - awaited winter holidays.
Homes are filled with the aroma of freshly - baked Christmas sweets. Typical Christmas sweets include vanilla rolls, ginger bread and sweets with nuts, almonds, coconut, raisins and chocolate and of course Christmas cake. These days we can buy for instance a nativity scene at the market. The nativity scene is the true symbol of Christmas . It represents the birth of Jesus Christ and the pilgrims who bring him gifts. The nativity scene may be made out of cardboard, wood or other materials. The third Sunday before Christmas is called Bronze Sunday, the second one Silver Sunday and the first Sunday before December 24th is Golden Sunday. On Decenber 6th we celebrate St. Nichola´s Day. Many people look forward to this day, but some children are afraid. That´s because the good St. Nicholas is accompainied by an angel as well as devil. Well - behaved children get a bag or stocking filled with fruit and sweets in the evening of december 6th. Naughty children get only coal and potatoes.
The last week before Christmas, at the height of the Christmas shopping, the scent of freshly - cut Christmas trees appears on city streets. We can choose from pine, spruce or fir. A huge quantity of trees dies every year, even thought we can buy a nice artificial Cristmas tree. Part of the Christmas holidays is a typical meal. For Christmas Eve dinner we eat fish soup, fried carp with potato salad, sweets and fruit. After dinner we go to the tree and unwrap the presents, while Christmas carols are sung.
And how does our family celebrate Cristmas Eve? First we say goodbye to the carp, which our dad kills and cuts into portions. Mom and I then bread them and fry them, then we prepare a potato salad and soup. Everything is ready at about six p.m. There is a special holiday setting on the table, the silverware and glasses for the toast and for drinking after the meal, also sweets, gingerbread, a candlestick with candle and spruce branch with straw decorations. After dinner dad lights the candles and sparklers on the tree and rings a little bell. Then we unwrap the presents. Other customs related to Christmas Eve are the pouring of lead, from which we learn what the future has in store for us, the cutting of apples and skimming walnuts shells on the water. At midnight both believers and unbelievers go to Midnight Mass at the nearest church.
New Year´s Eve, New Year´s Day Each year ends on December 31st. that day we celebrate New Year´s Eve , which means the end of the old and beginning of the new year. January 1st we call New Year´s Day. The night between these two days is full of celebrations. Laughter resounds everywhere, people dance, tell jokes and stories, eat and drink. We celebrate the arrival of the New Year either at home with the family or we go to a hotel or to some restaurant, while some of us go out to the mountains to celebrate. As midnight approaches everybody stands up with a glass of Champagne in hand waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Most of us make New Year´s resolutions which, unfortunately, are often not kept. We wish another all the best in the New Year, health, happiness, love and a lot of success.
Easter. Easter is a religious holiday. It celebrates the recurrection of Jesus Christ. We celebrate Easter on the Sunday and Monday after the first spring full moon. On Monday in the morning boys go around with a rod woven out of willow branches to spank the girls. They are rewarded with coloured eggs or ribbons. The symbols of Easter are also the symbols of spring - a lamb or yellow chick.
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Festivals, National Holidays and Customs
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