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In Great Britain most manual workers (including shop assistants) are entitled (oprávnený) to have paid annual holidays of at least three weeks a year in addition to bank (public) holidays, New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, The first Monday in May, The last Monday in May or the first in June, the last Monday in August or first in September, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Professional workers (inteligencia) usually have longer holidays (a month or more). Extended (predĺžená) holidays, dependents on length of service, are also quite common, especially in non-manual sector. State schools usually have six weeks off in summer (from mid-July to the end of August), in addition to holidays during the school year (at Christmas, Easter and Whit sun). Most families spend their annual holiday by the sea, at hotels. Other popular forms of holiday include holiday camps, caravanning and touring in a car or a coach (bus). Very few people have their summerhouses to visit for holidays and weekends. About 15 million people spend their holidays abroad each year.

Guy Fawkes Night

5th November- It's Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night). In 1605 King James I. was on the throne. As a Protestant, he was very unpopular with Roman Catholic. Some of them planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November of that year when the king was going to open Parliament. Under the House of Lords they had stored thirty - six barrels of gunpowder that were to be exploded by a man called Guy Fawkes. However one of the plotters told someone and Fawkes was discovered, arrested and later hanged. Since then, the British traditionally celebrate this day. Children make a dummy, made of straw and old clothes. Then they parade this around streets and ask passers- by for a penny for the guy, this is often twenty, fifty pence or as much as a pound. On the night itself, there are ,,bonfire parties" throughout the country, at which the ,,guy" is burnt. Some people cook sausages on sticks at the fire. Throughout the evening, there are many fireworks set off.



31st October - It's the day before All Saints' Day. The festival started in pre – Christian times. People believed that at Halloween the souls of the dead revisit the places where they once lived. Children prepare their costumes and pumpkins. Normally the costumes depict witches, fairies, devils, monsters and other scary beings. Pumpkins are hallowed out and a face is cut into the pumpkins skin. Inside a candle is placed the tight of which shines out through the face. Such a pumpkin is called a Jack Lantern. Children go ,,trick or treating" in their costumes. This is when they go from house to house performing a little song or rhyme for sweets.

Thanksgiving Day
In September 1620 a group of English people called the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymouth, England across the Atlantic Ocean, in a ship called The Mayflower, to America. They went away from England because of their religion, and because they wanted land for their families. The pilgrims sailed for sixty six dangerous days – across the Atlantic Ocean, When they arrived, they called their new home New England, but they were not the first people to live there. The Indians were first. Sometimes the Pilgrims fought with the Indians but they also learned a lot from them. The Indians showed them how to grow and cook new kinds of fruit and vegetables. The first winter was difficult. Many of the Pilgrims died because it was very cold and they had little food. In the spring they started to grow food, helped by some friendly Indians, and in the autumn of 1621 they celebrated their first harvest. The pilgrims wanted to give thanks, not only for the harvest, but for their new home, new life and new friends. The date of Thanksgiving Day in the USA has changed three times, but it is now the fourth Thursday in November. Most Americans have dinner with their families. The traditional dinner is turkey and pumpkin pie.


The word Christmas comes from the words cristes maesse, or “Christi’s Mass”. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus for members of the Christian religion. It’s thought that Jesus of Nazareth was born in springtime. December 25th was chosen for the celebration of his birth by a pope, Julius I., in the 4th century – to include a Christian element in the long-established mid-winter festivals. Most of people don’t realize that the church did not even honour any type of festivity for the event (the birth of Jesus) until the 4th century. The Romans celebrated the Festival of Saturnalia in December, honouring Saturn and their winter solstice. The Germanic tribes of Europe also held a celebration of feasting to honour mid-winter. Centuries later, the Puritans in England tried to do away with Christmas altogether but they had little success.

People give presents at Christmas to remind them of the gifts that the shepherds and Wise Men brought when Jesus was born.

The Christmas tree:
For families in North America and other parts of Europe, the Christmas tree is the symbol of the Christmas season. They decorate it with things like coloured lights, popcorn strings and tinsel. Other evergreens have been a part of mid-winter festival long before Christ. They played a symbolic part because they stayed green and alive when other plants appeared dead and bare. They represented everlasting life and hope for the return of spring.

The Christmas star:
The wise man followed a bright star in the sky to the place where Jesus was born.
Still, many people prefer to believe that the strange star did appear, and that it was simply a miracle and throughout the world today, the Christian holiday has usually begun with the appearance of the first star on Christmas Eve. In general, the Christmas star symbolizes high hopes and high ideals – hope for good fortune, hope for reaching above oneself. For all human beings, regardless of religion, stars have special meaning for all share the heavens, no matter what barriers keep them apart on earth.

Santa Claus:
It is amazing but true that the common, popular view of Santa that we all have today, along with all the crazy things around Santa like the sleight, the reindeer and the chimney, all came largely from two publishing events that occurred in the 1800s. Clement Moore wrote “The night before Christmas” in 1822. In the poem you can find the names from the reindeers, invents the sleight, comes up with the chimney and the bag of toys.... Then, between 1863 and 1886, Harper’s Weekly ran a series of engravings by Thomas Nast. From these images come the concepts of Santa’s workshop, Santa reading letters, Santa checking his list and so on. Coca-Cola also played a role in the Santa image by running a set of paintings by Haddon Sundblom. The red and white suit came, actually, from the original Saint Nicholas. Those colours were the colours of the traditional bishop’s robes.

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.

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