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Christmas in Britain:
Christmas in Britain is a little different from the Christmas in Slovakia. British homes are decorated with ivy, holy, mistletoe, electric lights and a Christmas wreath on the door. Christmas trees are decorated on Christmas Eve but they don’t celebrate Christmas Eve. Children put their socks at the foot of the bed. They believe that Father Christmas will come down through the chimney and will fill the socks with sweets. Parents put some presents under the tree and in the morning of Christmas Day they open the presents. For Christmas Dinner they usually eat roast turkey or goose with vegetables, then they have a Christmas pudding that is prepared long before Christmas. In the evening they play some games and watch the Queen’s Christmas Speech on TV. On the next day, they usually organize some parties with music and dancing. This day is called Boxing Day, because in the past people gave boxes with presents to servants, postmen, etc.
Christmas in USA:
Christmas in the United States of America is not a national holiday, because not all Americans are Christians, but it is a typical winter holiday and all shops are closed and people have a rest day on Christmas. All shops and streets are decorated with trees and lights. Christmas carols can be heard everywhere. Families decorate their houses inside and outside, too. They have a Christmas tree decorated in the living room. The President of the United States of America switches on the Christmas tree in the Rockefeller Center and after that people switch on other trees in the states. People like having a lot of presents under the tree. They sing carols and Santa Claus comes on Christmas Day and the children open their boxes with their presents and adults exchange presents, too. Christmas in the United States of America isn’t a family day. Families invite friends, they serve the traditional Christmas dinner – roast turkey and often give parties. On Boxing Day many shops are open although people don’t work. Just after Christmas big sales begin and large shops sell off their stock at low prices.
My Christmas traditions:
We decorate our houses with a Christmas wreath and candles. Everybody runs from the shop to the shop and look for some presents. We also send Christmas cards to our friends and relatives. My mother makes some sweets, usually vanilla rolls and Christmas cake. On Christmas Eve, in the morning, we decorate a Christmas tree with electric lights, little things made of straw, glass balls and some sweets and we put some presents under the tree. We don’t eat anything all day, but the Christmas Dinner is very rich. We start the dinner with special Christmas waffles, honey and nuts, then we eat garlic with bread. The traditional Christmas soup is sour cabbage soup – soup with sausages and mushrooms and we finish the dinner with fried file and potatoes salad. During the dinner we drink some wine, brandy or Coca Cola. After the dinner we unwrap the presents and we listen to Christmas Carols and we are all happy. Then we watch TV and at midnight we go to Midnight Mass.
Easter, the most important holiday of the Christian Church, celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. The holiday was established in the second century. In 325, the council of Nicea decided that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday that follows the first full moon after the spring equinox (between March 21 and April 25). We celebrate Easter on Sunday because it is the day of the week when Jesus rose from the dead. It’s likely that the religious celebration replaced a pagan festival. The origin of the word, “EASTER”, is not clear. Bede, an early English historian (672-735), connected Easter to Eostre, an Anglo-Saxson spring goddess and whose symbols were the hare and the egg.
People who are not Christians usually send cards and flowers, fill Easter baskets with chocolate and candy, decorate eggs, buy toy chicks and rabbits. But for Czech people, a whip, usually made from young willow branches, is the third symbol of Easter. Christians also send cards and flowers, eat chocolate and feast to celebrate Easter, but they especially rejoice in Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection is the basis of the Christians experience. Most churches have a service at sunrise to remember the women’s early visit to Jesus tomb. Then there is another service later in the morning, which contains lots of singing. The mood is joyful as the priest says: “Christ is risen.“
Easter in Great Britain:
The British do not celebrate Easter like Slovaks. They have no willow canes and pouring
perfumes and whipping traditions. On Easter Sunday - in the morning - people go to church for a special Easter service. People usually send Easter cards to their friends and relatives. These cards decorate their homes over the Easter holiday. Hot crossed buns can be bought in shops and supermarkets. They are a kind of bread bun with a white cross on their surface. It symbolizes the death of Christ on the cross. Hot cross buns are delicious when they are sliced in half, tasted and then spread with butter. Children receive big chocolate eggs on Easter morning. They are hollow inside and they contain a packet of sweets. The British have no special meal at Easter but they usually eat a "Sunday Roast" consisting of roast beef, turkey, lamb or pork with boiled vegetables, roast potatoes and gravy. The Friday before Easter Sunday is called Good Friday. Christ was crucified on this day. The day after Easter Sunday is called Bank Holiday Monday. All official premises are closed and no one has to go to school.
Easter in America:
Easter in America is celebrated on a Sunday. The holiday has lost much of its religious
significance. Instead of going to church, many Americans travel, go shopping or go to watch sporting events such as baseball. A popular activity for children is the painting of "Easter eggs". The children use many different colours and many of the eggs are quite beautiful. Also there is something called an
"Easter egg hunt". Parents hide the Easter eggs all over the house and reward the children with present of chocolate or candy when they find them.
Easter in Slovakia:
There are a lot of traditions connected with Easter of the coming of spring. Boys chase girls and they whip them with a willow cane. Some of them have water in a bucket or a bottle and they splash girls with it. Some boys also spray girls with perfume. When they are finished, boys are rewarded with painted eggs and money. The favourite colourt for eggs was red – the colour of blood and life.