Festivals and Celebrations

April Fools’ Day (1st April)
People (sometimes even the BBC and serious newspapers) play tricks or practical jokes on
each other on this day.
Guy Fawkes’ Day – Bonfire Night
For more than 300 years the 5th November has been celebrated in England by the burning of
stuffed figures (’guys’, out of old clothes stuffed with straw /dummy/, or stuffed with
newspaper), of this gunpowder plot conspirator, and children used to sing:
Please to remember to fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
This old custom keeps alive the horror felt by England in 1605 when Guy Fawkes and his
fellow conspirators because of the penal laws against Catholics tried to blow up King James I
and the Houses of Parliament. They succeeded in storing several barrels of gunpowder in a
cellar under the House of Parliament. But before Parliament opened on November the 5th the
plot was discovered. Sentence of death was passed on all the conspirators. Fawkes being
executed on the 31st of January in 1606.
Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day
In past centuries, Lent was a time of fasting. Both meat and eggs were forbidden throughout
the 6 weeks. The tradition was to eat up all your meat on the Monday before Lent, and all
your eggs on the Tuesday – in pancakes. Now, the fasting has gone and only the eating
remains. Two events associated with Shrove Tuesday: *The pancake tossing contest: how
many pancakes can you throw into the air & catch within a certain time? *The pancake race:
contestants have to run while continuously tossing a pancake. Anyone who drops his or her
pancake is disqualified.
Good Friday
Commemorates Christ’s crucifixion.
Easter Monday
The day after Easter Sunday.


Orangemen’s Day (12th July) This is a public holiday in Northern Ireland. U. Because its date varied. Those who donate money are given paper poppies to pin to their clothes. Remembrance Sunday (2nd Sunday in November) Commemorates the dead of both World Wars and of more recent conflicts.A. it was adopted on July 4 1776. it has been replaced by this fixed holiday. white & blue. Family picnics. Declaration of Independence: the document that proclaimed the freedom of the 13 American colonies from British rule. Independence Day (July 4) A national holiday celebrating the anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. associated with the Protestant part of the community. In some villages the custom of dancing round the maypole is acted out.S. 2/4 . associated with the Catholic part of the community. parades. No politicians without a poppy! Boxing Day (26th December) Its origin varies. On and before this day money is collected in the street on behalf of charities for ex-servicemen & women. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson. American flags.Festivals and Celebrations May Day Associated more with ancient folklore than with the workers. 1: it was the day on which landowners and householders would present their tenants and servants with gifts in boxes. St Patrick’s Day (17th March) This is a public holiday in Northern Ireland. 2: the day on which the collecting boxes in churches were opened and the contents distributed to the poor. Spring Bank Holiday (The last Monday in May) There used to be a holiday on ‘Whit Monday’ celebrating the Christian feast of Pentecost. decoration on the buildings in colours of red. fireworks at night.

Festivals and Celebrations Thanksgiving Day (4th Thursday of November) A national holiday celebrated to give thanks to God for the harvest. When they harvested their crops in autumn. Massachusetts in 1621. Today: family day. sweet potatoes. The settlers didn’t have anything to eat for a month. (Hungarian “Santa Claus’ Day” not celebrated at all. remembering particularly the first successful harvest of the early settlers who had suffered a terrible winter when they arrived. Declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. they had to survive. Christmas Eve (24th December) A preparation for Christmas Day (25th December). friends gather together at parties to wish each other a happy new year. At Christmas time: put up & decorate Christmas trees (just like in the U. New Year’s Day (1st January) The festivals begin on the previous night.) 3/4 . New Year’s Day: feasting. Little children believe that Santa Claus brings the presents by slipping in through the chimney. First held in Plymouth. cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. they had enough to live on through the 2nd winter → had a feast of thanksgiving with the Indians. Easter For Christian Americans it is a religious holiday. Many of the first arrivers starved to death during their first winter in the new land. happy reunions. attend to church services to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. National Holidays Intensify the sense of national identity. Families gather together and eat (roast) turkey with stuffing and gravy. Christmas Day (25th December) Presents are given in the morning. In America: this identification with the whole country as the homeland in the geographical sense not very developed. Patriotism in Hungary: essentially the love of the land. dinner. Gratitude to God for the successful harvest. They asked help of the Indians who taught them to grow maize and other crops. a year after the arrival of the first Puritan settlers. rather the love of the local land. New Year’s Eve (31 December). They colour hard-boiled eggs. hearty meals. give children some sweets. Send greeting cards.K. watching football on TV.) earlier in December (Hungary: on Christmas Eve). Easter Monday: the President holds an annual Easer egg hunt on the lawn of the White House to amuse young children.

Halloween (31st October) On the evening before All Saints’ Day (1st November). they might play some small tricks on him. 1492.) It honours Americans who had served in W. President’s Day (3rd Monday of February) Originally commemorates George Washington. 4/4 . the 1st President. Treat: the person at the door gives each child a treat.) dress up as witches. Roosevelt). 1968. Recently commemorates all past Presidents.K. originally 15th. now they remember the dead of all wars. 11. Memorial Day (4th Monday of May) Originally commemorated the casualties of the Civil War..) He was a civil rights leader & advocate of non-violent social change. assassinated on the 4th of April. The President places a wreath on the tomb of the unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. all kinds of scary creatures. pirates. November) (The end of World War I in 1918. who brought the country through the Civil War. knock on people’s door & call out: “trick or treat”. & Abraham Lincoln. January. a candle inside). monsters. ghosts. Labour Day (1st Monday of September) Honours the American worker. associated with the supernatural. “Determination to achieve an economic freedom for the average man → political freedom reality” (Franklin D. Each year memorial services were held on his birthday. where play games. carved with strange faces. Children (like in the U. Columbus Day (2nd Monday of October) The Italian Christopher Columbus discovered the new world on 12. Children & adults may have a Halloween party/fancy-dress party. I + the veterans of all wars fought by the U.W.S. his birthday. The School year starts on the following day. October. Both men’s birthday fall in February → celebrated together. Trick: if he refuses to give them something. Veterans Day (Formerly known as Armistice Day. (3rd Monday of January) (Since 1986. usually some sweets.Festivals and Celebrations Martin Luther King Jr. At Halloween the windows are decorated with Jack-o’lanterns (pumpkins.