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THE COURSE OF THE YEAR, WEATHER,

IMPORTANT HOLIDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES

Spring:

Spring is a beautiful season. Many people think it is the most beautiful season of all. There are flowers in the meadows and in the gardens. Plants, trees and grass are green. birds and beetles start flying around and small animals are born.

In spring the weather gets warmer. In March, however, there isn t much sunshine and it often rains. Sometimes it is snowing also. In April the weather is still changeable. The sky is cloudless and suddenly becomes overcast and icy winds begin blowing. It looks like rain and after a while it s raining cats and dogs. Rain turns sleeting. A few minutes later it is hailing. But it lasts only a short while and it clears up again. There is a rainbow in the sky. People take off their raincoats and close their umbrellas. In the streets there are puddles and a lot of mud. Those people who forget their umbrellas at home get wet through.

The spring season starts on 21st March.

Summer:

Summer starts on the 21st June. It is the warmest season of the year. The temperature is mostly very high above zero. It is not very rainy, therefore it is dry and there are sunny days. The days are longer and nights are shorter than in winter.

In the morning it is often misty but the fog is falling during the day and the sun is shining. Suddenly a storm often comes in summer. It is usually windy before a storm and it is sultry. The sky is dark and it is thundering and we can see lightnings. Usually the rain is heavy but short.

Most people like summer time. They can go to the seaside to spend their holidays. Some of them like staying in a tent and others going to their weekend-houses. Children needn t go to school. Fruits ripen and at the end of the summer there is a harvest.

Autumn:

This season full of colour starts on the 23rd September. The leaves get yellow, red and brown and fall down. The days are shorter and nights longer than in summer. The weather gets colder and it is chilly. There are showers or heavy rains. It s often misty all day long. People gather fruits and vegetable in their gardens. Cooperative farms harvest potatoes. Children enjoy flying a kite.

Winter:

Winter is the coldest season of a year. When the temperature is below zero, everybody is freezing. There is a lot of snow in the mountains. People like going to the mountains and skiing. Rivers are frozen over and children like skating on the ice. There are some days in winter when snow falls heavily all day. There are snow-drifts everywhere. Children are happy, they can practise sledging or making a snowman. But the adults are often unhappy. It s slippery on the streets and it is dangerous to use a car. When the temperature is above zero, the snow begins to thaw. Then it is muddy.

IMPORTANT HOLIDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES IN GREAT BRITAIN

 

New Year s Day - January the 1st - titles and decoration are conferred by the Queen.

February the 14th, St. Valentine's Day - a lovers' feast. Young people send Valentine cards, usually anonymously, and exchange gifts. The day was named for an early Christian martyr.

St. David s Day - the patron saint of Wales, March the 1st.

St. Patrick s Day - the patron saint of Ireland, March the 17th. People often wear shamrocks on that day.

All Fools Day - April 1st, it is named after the custom of playing practical jokes and tricks on people and then you can shout "April Fool!"

Easter is celebrated as in the rest of Europe. Easter eggs, dyed and decorated or made of confectionery, symbolizing new life are given as presents.

May Day is celebrated with dancing around Maypoles.

The political parties of the left hold processions and public meetings.

Mothers Day - 2nd Sunday in May

The mid-summer's day - there is sunrise ceremony at Stonehenge on June 24th. Somewhere the mid-summer fires are lit as in pre-Christian times when this ritual was performed to give strength to the sun and drive out the devil.

In June the Queen s official birthday is celebrated. It is a great ceremony with a parade of the Queen s guards and soldiers and ceremony of Trooping the Colour at the Horse Guards Parade in

London

Halloween - in Britain is celebrated only in the North of England and in Scotland, but is generally celebrated in the USA and Canada. Children dress up in Halloween costumes of ghosts, witches, wizzards etc. They go to the neighbours houses and they say to the people "Trick or treat". The people treat the children with sweets, fruit or money. the most common trick is soaping the windows. People make a lantern from a scraped pumpkin in which eyes, nose and mouth are cut and then a candle is lit inside.

Guy Fawkes Night on November 5th - there was the unsuccessful plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 - it's called the Gunpowder Plot - the conspirations were executed. It is celebrated with bonfires, fireworks and the burning of guys.

St. Andrew s Day - the patron saint of Scotland, November 30

Christmas - is family holiday in Britain. Before Christmas department stores are decorated. Unlike the Continentals the English have no traditional celebration on Christmas Eve. Before English children go to bed they hang up Christmas stockings and they believe that Father Christmas fills them presents and toys. There is also costume of leaving out mince pies for Father Christmas. In the rooms holly and ivy is hung as a decoration. A sprig of mistletoe is hug in a central position or over the door. The Christmas Day is on the 25th December. It is the most festive day of Christmas in Britain and USA. Children open their presents at breakfast time. A midday Christmas dinner is a great occasion. It consists of roast turkey with chestnut stuffing and roast potatoes and Christmas pudding. The pudding is made of lots of dried fruit, eggs, suet and very little flour. There is also the custom of stirring onto the pudding, when it is being prepared, a coin, a thimble and a ring to bring wealth, work and a wedding to those who find it. On Christmas Day the Queen addresses the nation and the Commonwealth on radio and television.

The 26th December is called the Boxing Day. In the past apprentices and tradesmen collected money in boxes on that day. During Christmas time people sing carols and songs e.g. "Auld Land Syne" - this song is sung in Scotland and people sing it at midnight.

IMPORTANT HOLIDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES IN THE USA

St. Patrick s Day is celebrated on the 17th March. Originally it was an Irish holiday. St. Patrick is the patron of the Irish people. On this day everywhere is green color. The symbol of this holiday is the shamrock.

Easter - many homes organize "Easter egg hunt" - also the president.

Memorial Day the 4th Monday in May. The American honour the dead of all wars.

Independence Day - 4th July, the birthday of the USA. Typical for this day is the atmosphere and enjoyment, there are family beach party and the fireworks at night.

Columbus Day the 2nd monday in October. This day commemorates Columbus' landing in the New World.

Veteran's Day - November 11th.

Thanksgiving Day - every 4th Thursday in November. It is a family holiday.

Christmas - Santa Clause lives at North Pole where he makes toys during a year.

Valentine's Day, Halloween - the same in Britain.

IMPORTANT HOLIDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES IN CZECH REPUBLIC

The most important national holiday in our country is the 28th of October when we celebrate the anniversary of the Birth of Czechoslovakia.

Christmas is the most popular family holiday. People buy Christmas trees, some people prefer artificial Christmas tree which can be used several times. On the Christmas Eve we have the traditional Christmas dinner. We have fish soup and fried carp with potato salad. Children expect the bell signal from "Infant Jesus" to be allowed to unpack the presents hidden under the Christmas tree. Many people buy mistletoe - it is the symbol of happiness.

On the 31st of December people celebrate the coming of the New Year.

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