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American Holidays (Американские праздники)

Продолжение раздела «Cultural Reader», информационные материалы о Соединенных Штатах Америки.
Перейти в начало — The United States of America (Общая информация о США), American Climate (Климат в Америке), American People (Американский народ), Main Cities of the USA (Основные Города США), American System of Education (Американская система образования).

American Holidays

The population in the USA is made up of people of different nationalities. Centuries ago they brought with them their native celebrations. Some holidays, which are marked in the United States were originated in America.

One of the greatest holidays is Independence Day. On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed. It proclaimed independence of the thirteen British colonies from Great Britain.

July 4th has become the greatest holiday since. In the past this day was marked with big parades and fireworks, but now it is celebrated more quietly. Cities and towns are decorated with flags on that day, there are parades in some places, but most people just go on picnics to the countryside.

Thanksgiving Day is marked on the fourth Thursday of November. On this day Americans honour the memory of the first settlers. It also marks the end of the harvest season. It is a longstanding tradition to make a festive meal with a fried turkey on this day.

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Christmas is a religious holiday, which symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. By this day people decorate fir-trees with toys. Children wait for Santa Claus who comes to every house and brings them presents. Before going to bed, children leave their shoes to find in them what they want most of all the next morning. Some people, especially young people, like to celebrate it in restaurants and pubs, but most people prefer to stay at home with their family on this day.

Washington’s Birthday is marked on February 22nd. George Washington led the American Army to victory in the War for Independence. Later he was elected President of the United States and was in office for 8 years (1789-1797). The national capital of the USA, a state and several towns are named after George Washington.

Lincoln’s Birthday is celebrated every year on February 12th. Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War (1861- 1865). He led the fight to keep the nation together and to free the slaves. His life ended tragically. He was killed in the theatre during the performance soon after the victory of the North. In honour of this great man a beautiful memorial has been built in Washington, DC.

On New Year’s Day people see the old year off-and the New Year in. Most people stay up all night, even children. At midnight many people go outside and shout ’Happy New Year!’ Some people set oft- fireworks and blow automobile horns which are heard everywhere. Everybody exchanges presents and good wishes. Offices, factories, banks and stores do not work on this day. In New York, a lot of people gather in Times Square, and watch the ’Big Apple’ fall. It is a moving picture of an apple on the side of the big building in Times Square. Every New Year’s Eve during the last few seconds before the midnight it starts to ’fall down’ the building, and when it gets to the bottom it’s the start of the New Year.

Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. On this day workers make a public show with marches, meetings, etc. It also marks the beginning of the school year and the end of summer.

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