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USA holidays

USA holidays
























The population of 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 US originated

in America. There is no provision for national holidays in the

USA. The number of holiday is different in different states Ц from

8 in the District of Columbia to 20 in Oklahoma.


Love and

joi come to you,

And to you

your wassail, too !

And God

bless you and send you

A happy

new year !

Although in the United States the official holiday is January

the 1st, the celebration really begins on December 31st. New

YearТs Day is celebrated with parties which last beyond midnight

so that everyone can see in the New Year and watch the Old

Year out. Theatres, night clubs, restaurants are crowded. At 12:00

midnight when the ringing of bells popping of champagne bottles

and fire crackers, and blowing of sirens and whistles announce

the start of New Year. People throw streamers and confetti, shake

hands, exchange kisses and embraces, and wish each other a

УHappy New Year !Ф Some people gather in the street of big

cities, they ring bells, shoot of guns and firecrackers. January

1st is celebrated with parades in some cities. One of the

noisiest and most crowded of New YearТs Eve celebration take

place in New York City at Time Square. Thousands of New Yorkers

gather there, and millions of Americans across the country join

them by TV.

Following a long, chaotic New YearТs Eve, Americans spend a

quiet New Year Day. In most households everyone sleeps late,

often enjoys meals and TV with the family and friends. Two

famous New YearТs Day festivals are showed for national viewing:

the Tournament of Roses and MummerТs Parade. Both of these events

have been American traditions for more than half a century.

The MummerТs Parade, which take place in Philadelphia is a

ten Ц hour spectacle. It was introduced in the US by Swedish

immigrants. There are clowns, musicians, dancers Ц all led by King

Momus dressed in bright satin.

The Tournament of Roses take place in Pasadena, California.

Prizes are awarded to the cities with the most unusual and

attractive floral displays. After the parade, the Rose Bowl

football game, a struggle between two top - ranking college

football teams, is played. Those events attract thousands of

tourists and millions of TV viewers.

Besides champagne, streamers and noisemakers, other symbols of

the New Year celebration include a clock or hour glass, an old

man symbolizing the Old year, and a new baby symbolizing the New

year. This may be an allusion to the ancient Roman god Janus,

for whom the month of January is named. Legend has it that

Janus had two faces, one looking into the past, and the other

looking into the future. This certainly personifies the sentiments

of many people who, on New YearТs Day think both about the past

year with its achievements and shortcomings as well as looking

forward with hope to a new and better year to come. Sincere and

practical, many Americans even write down their УNew year

resolutionsФ to do specific things like giving up smoking, going

on a diet, getting up earlier, spending less money on clothes,

etc. Even though such resolutions are rarely kept, at least they

make for a good laugh when the next New Year comes.


УI have

a dream that my four


will one day live in a


where they will not be

judged by

the color of their skin

but by the

content of their


Martin Luther King

On January 15th, people in the United States celebrate the

birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. He was a great civil rights

leader who fought against racial discrimination. He said that

people should be judged by their characters, and not the color

of their skin. He believed in integration. He received national

attention when he protested the injustice of segregated buses in


Martin Luther King is remembered in church memorial services,

marches, and public ceremonies. People also listen to his

speeches, watch TV documentaries, and sing spirituals and the

civil rights anthem УWe Shall Overcome.Ф In schools, students read

about this leader, study his writings and celebrate his memory

with special programs. Politicians and performers also participate

in celebrations to honor Martin Luther King.

The third Monday in January is a legal holiday to honor

Martin Luther King.


ItТs ValentineТs Day.

And in the street

ThereТs freezing rain,

and slush, and sleet.

The wind is fierce.

The skies are gray.

I donТt think IТll go

out today.

But here inside the

weatherТs warm.

There is no trace of

wind or storm.

And you just made the

morning shine.

You said youТd be my


ValentineТs Day is celebrated on February 14th. It isnТt a

national holiday. Banks and offices are open this day, but it is

a happy little festival in honor of St Valentine, patron

sweethearts and lovers. In this day school children typically make

valentines for their teachers and classmates and put them in a

large decorated mailbox. It is customary on the day to send a

УValentineФ, a card with affectionate message to someone you love,

or to your best friends or a little present. The greeting cards

are often colored red trimmings and pictures of heart.

Whatever the reasons, Americans of all ages love to send and

receive valentines and to hear and sing the thousands of new and

traditional love songs which flood television and radio programs

on that day.

Among all the red hearts, birds, love letters, candies,

chocolates and kisses which comprise symbolism and realia, Cupid

or Eros is the unquestioned favorite in personifying the spirit

of the day. According to Greek ( later Roman ) tradition. Cupid

was the eternally child Ц like son of Venus, the goddess of love.

Although he remained a baby, he could fly and was equipped with

a tiny bow and countless golden arrows special power, and that

is why if Cupid shot you with his arrow, you would fall in

love with the first person you met.

So St ValentineТs Day is the day of love for many people.


Until 1986 this holiday was in fast two holidays: Abraham

LincolnТs Birthday, celebrated on February 12, and George

WashingtonТs Birthday, celebrated on February 22. Their birthdays

are celebrated on the 3rd Monday in February.

Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War ( 1861 Ц 1865

). He led the fight to keep the nation together and free the

slaves. His life ended tragically. He was killed at the theatre

during the performance soon after the victory of the North. In

honor of this great man a beautiful memorial has been built in

Washington, D. C.

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 Ц1797). The national

capital of the United States, a state and several towns are

named after George Washington. In addition to commemorating the

birth of the USТs first President, itТs a great day for

shoppers. The department stores of Washington, D. C., started a

national tradition of sales marked by unusual bargains. The US

Congress observes the birthday of G. Washington with speeches and

reading from his works.


ItТs a

great day for the Shamrock,

For the

flags in full array,


feeling so inspirish,


because for all the Irish

ItТs a

great, great day!

On March 17th, Americans celebrate an Irish religious holiday,

St PatrickТs Day. It is a day to remember the Irish people in

the United States and Ireland. Ireland is a country with a lot

of green grass and shamrocks. Shamrock are small plants with

three leaves. There is a lot of green in Ireland, so green is

IrelandТs national color.

People often wear green clothes on St PatrickТs Day. There

are parades in many cities with large Irish population, but the

largest parade is in New York. Many people go to parties. They

sing, dance, and eat Irish food. Some drink green beer.

St Patrick was a priest in Ireland many years ago. He taught

the Irish people about God. St Patrick died on March 17th in

the year 461.

Beginning in 1845, many Irish people moved to the United

States. They came because there wasnТt enough food to eat in

Ireland. St PatrickТs Day celebrations helped the Irish remember

their country, their music and their families. Many Americans say,

УEveryone is Irish on St PatrickТs Day.Ф


The first of

April, some do say,

It set apart

for All FoolТs Day.

But why the

people call it so,

Nor I, nor

they themselves do know.

But on this

day are people sent

On purpose

for pure merriment.

April FoolТs Day is celebrated on April 1st. It is the day

for harmless tricks and good laughs. The origin of April FoolТs

Day or All FoolТs Day goes back to the dilemma faced by many

Europeans in 1562 when Pope Gregory introduced a new calendar,

one which shifted the start of new year from its traditionally

warm nesting place of April 1st to the cold and dreary date of

January 1st.

Today in the United States both children and adults play

small tricks on each others. If the trickster is still around he

or she may take credit for his deed by shouting УApril Fool !Ф

but probably not before youТve spoiled your cup of morning coffee

or tea. If you are innocent victim of such mischief, your first

reaction may be to Уwring the scoundrelТs neck.Ф

American author and satirist Mark Twain summed up the nature

of the holiday thus: УThe first of April is the day we remember

what we are the other 364 days of the year.Ф


The earth

is a garden.

ItТs a

beautiful place.

For all

living creatures,

For all

the human race

April 22 is a special day around the world. On that day

inhabitants of Earth celebrate Earth Day. Earth Day is a time

when many people show that they care for our fragile planet.

They show concern about the threats the planet faces Ц destruction

of the rain forest, holes in the ozone layer, the greenhouse

effect, too much garbage, and all forms of air and water

pollution. It is a day for people to learn what they can do to

preserve the planet Earth.

The first Earth Day was held in the U.S. twenty two years

ago, in April 1970. At that time, Americans were just beginning

to learn about the problems facing the planet.


This holiday is celebrated on April 28th. Schools are closed

this day and girls go to work to their mothers. It is very

important holiday, because girls know that can become anything

they want when they grow up. If the mothers donТt work the

girls stayed at home and mothers teach them to cook, to work at

home and to hold the house.


Easter is a Christian religious holiday. Ibis memory of

Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It falls on the first Sunday after

the first full moon between March, 22, and April, 25. The 40

days before Easter are called Lent. Just before Easter, schools

and colleges usually close. The students have a week or ten days

of spring holidays.

Easter is a church holiday, and many churches have an outdoor

sunrise service. On the night before Easter, an imaginary

creature known as the Easter Bunny comes to visit children and

leaves a basket filled with candy in the shape of eggs, bunnies

and baby chicks. Another tradition is painting hard Ц boiled eggs

different colors and designs on them. It is common to hide these

eggs, as well as candy eggs, for children to look for an

Easter Sunday as part of an Easter egg hunt.


ItТs May! ItТs May!

The lusty month of May,

That lovely month when

everyone goes

Blissfully astray !

The roots of the May Day celebration go back to very ancient

time and are evident in many civilizations, where basically the

idea was to express gratitude to the gods for the renewal of

spring. May Day was not widely celebrated in the United States

during its early years, because the Puritans disapproved of

frivolous festivities.

Some American parents and teachers use this holiday as a

chance to encourage their children and students to bring some

surprise and joy into the life of the lonely or aged. They make

May baskets filled with flowers and candy and hang them on

doorknobs throughout their neighborhoods, sometimes ringing the

bell, hiding, and watching smiles replace frowns and unexpected

joy light up the wrinkled faces of their neighbors.


УMФ is for the

million things she gave me.

УOФ means only that

sheТs growing old.

УTФ is for the tears

she shed to save me.

УHФ is for her heart

of purest gold.

УEФ is for her eyes,

with lovelights shining.

УRФ means right

sheТll always

Put them all together;

they spell УmotherФ,

A word that means the

world to me.

In the United States Americans honor their mothers and

grandmothers, on the second Sunday in May. This day is set aside

to show love and respect for mother. On MotherТs Day children

give thanks for the support, love, care, and guidance. Giving

cards and gifts is also tradition. Children often make MotherТs

Day gifts in school. Pin cushions, sachets, tie clasps, decorated

boxes and picture frames, recipe holders, and plaster Ц cast hand

prints are all popular favorites. Another common gift for mothers

is the Уmother ring,Ф a ring set with the birthstones of each

of the members of the family.

MotherТs Day was first proclaimed a national holiday by

President Woodrow Wilson in 1915. The idea of honoring mothers on

a special day started with Ann Jarvis, from Grafton, West

Virginia, who chose the second Sunday in May and began the

custom of wearing a red carnation if oneТs mother was still

living and a white carnation if oneТs mother was deceased. If

the latter is the case, many people visit their motherТs grave

side and dedicate the day to their motherТs memory.


The last Monday in May is Memorial Day. This is a national

holiday to remember the dead. The first Memorial Day was many

years ago after the Civil War (1861 Ц1865). After the war, people

wanted to remember the dead. So around 1866, people began to

decorate the graves of Civil War soldiers. People called this day

Decoration Day or Poppy Day (Poppies are small red flowers).

On the Memorial Day, Americans honour the servicemen who gave

their lives in past wars. Schools, clubs and churches decorate

the cemeteries. They put up the flags on the graves of the

army, navy and airmen. They hold memorial services in churches,

halls, parks and cemeteries.

In addition to solemn services Memorial Day is often marked

by other, more joyful ceremonies: colorful parades, sports



Then hurrah for the

flag, our countryТs flag,

Its stripes and white

stars, too.

There is no flag in

any land

Like our own Red,

White and Blue.

On June 14th, 1777, the United States adopted its first flag.

Today Americans honor the US flag each year on June 14th. Flag

Day is a national commemorative day. It is not a holiday from

work. Many people fly the flag outside their homes and

businesses on this day.

The American flag has different names. One name is УThe Red,

White, and Blue.Ф This name is for the colors of the flag.

Another name is УThe Stars and Stripes.Ф This name is for the

50 stars and 13 stripes.

The flag did not always have 50 stars and 13 stripes. In

1777, the original flag had 13stars and 13stripes for the 13

colonies. The 13 colonies became the first 13 states. Then more

states joined the United States. In 1794, the flag had 15 stars

and 15 stripes. Then more states joined. This created a problem

for the flag makers. The flag was getting too big! So in 1818,

Congress decided to have only 13 stripes on the flag. They

decided to add one star for each new state. So now there are

50 stars and 13stripes on the flag.




Land of

hope and liberty,

Freedom rings from every mountain,

From sea

to sea.

July 4th is Independence Day. Another name for Independence

Day is the Fourth of July. On this day in 1776 the final of

the Declaration of Independence, written by Thomas Jefferson, was


Independence Day is a national holiday. Government offices,

banks, and schools close. Most people donТt go to work. Families

and friends get together outside for picnics and cookouts.

Traditionally the Fourth of July is celebrate with firing of

guns and fireworks, parades open Ц air meetings and speeches

praising УAmericanism, democracy, free enterprise.Ф

Independence Day isnТt only day for cookouts, noise, and

fireworks. It is also a day to think about freedom. The

Declaration of Independence says everyone has the right to life,

liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of

Independence more than 200 years old, but its ideas are important




to both of us is so new.

As you

learn about the world

I learn

about you,

ThereТs no

need to fear.

Daddy will

be here,

And IТll

love and care for you

Through the


People in the United States honor their fathers with special

day: FatherТs Day. This holiday is celebrated on the third Sunday

in June.

FatherТs Day dates back to 1909, when one daughter, a certain

Mrs. Dodd from Spokane, Washington, wanted to honor her own

father who had raised four sons and a daughter after her

motherТs death. Although the first FatherТs Day was observed in

Spokane in 1910 and it has been likewise observed in many other

states for many decades, FatherТs Day did not become a national

holiday until Senator Margaret Chase Smith helped to establish it

as such in 1972.

Giving cards and gifts is the tradition of this holiday.

Children make them in schools. Many people make their own

presents. Greeting cards, stores, florists, candy makers, bakeries,

telephone companies and other stores do a lot of business during

this day.


Labor Day is a legal holiday. It is celebrated each year on

the first Monday in September. It was planned as a day to honor

workers in America and to give them a long weekend holiday from


Labor Day was started in 1882 by a union called the Knights

of Labor. The first celebration was a long parade followed by a

picnic in New York City. In 1894 Congress made it a legal


Labor Day is traditionally celebrated with parades, speeches,

and recognition of the labor unions. Labor Day sales are a

popular event held on this holiday. Barbecues and picnics are

popular on Labor Day. They mark the end of the summer season.

Schools usually open after this holiday.


The American continent was discoved in 1492 by the Spanish

seaman Christopher Columbus. Columbus is said to be the first

Euaropen man, stepping on the American land, and that day, when

it was happend, the 12th of October, became the holiday, which

is called Columbus Day. This holiday is celebrated in 34 States

of the USA and Puerto Rico. There are parades and parties in

San Francisco and New York. One of the squares of New York is

called Columbus Circle with the monument of Columbus in the

middle of it.


ItТs Halloween! ItТs


The moon is full

and bright

And we shall see

what we canТt be seen

On any other night.

Halloween is the day or evening before All Saints Day. The

name is a shortened version of УAll Hallows EveФ the night

before All Saints Day which is celebrated on November 1st by the

Catolic Church. Halloween customs date back to a time when

people believed in devils, witches and ghost. They thought that

these evil spirits could do all kinds of damage to property.

Some people tried to ward off witches by paintings signs on

their barns. Others tried to scare them away by nailing a piece

of iron, such as horseshoe, over the door.

Now most of people do not believe in evil spirits. On this

day they just have a nice holiday. Children dress up as ghosts

and witches and go out into the street to beg. They from house

to house and say: УTrick or treat!Ф, meaning УGive me a treat

or IТll play a trick on youФ. People give them candy, cookies

and apples. This custom comes from the Celts in ancient Britain

who feared the coming of winter and dressed in frightening

costumes so the demons of winter would think they were one of

them and do them no harm. Hence, the origin of costumes for

todayТs celebration: It represents a devil coming to your home

whom you can placate with a treat.

A favorite custom is making a jack Ц o Ц lantern. Children

scrape out a pumpkin and cut the outlines of eyes, nose and

mouth in its side. They light a candle inside the pumpkin to

scare their friends. This custom refers to a man named Jack who

still wanders around the earth lighting his way with a pumpkin



The first Tuesday after the first Monday in November is

Election Day. It is a legal holiday. Since 1845, by Act of

Congress, this date has been set aside for elections.

On this day American citizen elect their public officials,

president, congressmen, governors, mayors and judges. All states

require that voters be citizens of the United States.

УElection DayФ sales in stories are very popular on this day.

The night of the election, people watch the election results on

TV. They listen to the speeches made by the winners.


November 11th is a national holiday. Veterans Day is a day

to remember and honor all those Americans who served in the

armed forces and particularly those who fought during the Spanish

Ц Americans War, World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the

Vietnam War. People also remember those soldiers missing in

action. This day reminds people of the courage and patriotism of

all men and women who serve their country.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice

Day so Americans would not forget the tragedies of war. In 1954

Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to honor all United

States veterans. It is also a day dedicated to world peace.

On this day, the radio and television broadcast services held

at the National Cemetery in Arlington. High officials come from

Washington to attend these services. They place a wreath of

flowers at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. All stand in silence

for a few minutes at eleven oТclock to honor the memory of the

serviceman killed in the two World Wars.


When Pilgrims sailed to this new


They met a friendly Indian band.

The Indians taught them to plant,

hunt, and fish,

Then they all had a feast with

many a tasty dish.

Thanksgiving Day is marked on the fourth Thursday of November

in memory of the first Thanksgiving Day held by the early

Pilgrim settles in Massachusetts in 1621, in gratitude for the

successful harvest. They experienced difficulty in those early

times and survived only with the help of American Indians who

taught them how to grow and harvest indigenous foods such as

squash and corn. The first Thanksgiving day lasted three days and

was celebrated with their Indian friends.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed a national day of observance by

Congress in 1941 .

Thanksgiving Day is a four Ц day holiday for most Americans.

This is a family holiday. Families come together from near and

far. In some places special religious services are held in the

morning. Then comes the traditional feast. Turkey with stuffing is

the main dish. It is served with sweet potatoes, squash,

cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Apple cider is the drink of

the day.

Football is the most popular game on this day. Usually there

are several football games to watch on TV. There is Thanksgiving

Day Parade in New York City.

Stores, classrooms, and homes are decorated with turkeys,

pilgrims, Indians, wreaths of dried flowers, and vegetables. Horns

of plenty are also very popular.


ItТs time

for hanging stockings,

ItТs time

for riding sleighs,

ItТs time

for jolly greeting,

Snow and

holly overeating,


Christmas! Merry Christmas!

ItТs the

best of holidays.

Christmas is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of

Jesus Christ. Americans celebrate Christmas on December the 25th .

It is usually a one Ц day official holiday, but it is proceeded

and followed by festive parties. By this day people decorate fir

- trees with toys and candies. 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.

Decorating the house with holly, ivy and mistletoe is a

custom, which comes from England. Ivy means immortality. Holly is a

bush with shiny red berries and glossy leaves with a

characteristic shape and sharp pointy edges. Because it remains

green throughout the year it was believed to hold a promise that

the sun would return. Holly'Т berries symbolize ChristТs blood.

Mistletoe is an interesting green parasitic plant which grows in

globe Ц like formations high up in the branches of oak trees.

Springs of it are tied together with ribbons and hung up in

doorways. By custom anyone standing under the mistletoe gets to

be kissed.

Christmas is a family holiday. Schools and colleges close

between Christmas and New YearТs Day. People stay at home and

spend the time with their families. Everybody tries to come home

for Christmas. People send cards or Christmas greetings to family

and friends away from home. All the members of the family

exchange gifts. It is a merry holiday.

Some holidays in America have their own symbols. Here they are:

1. Presidents Day 6.

Independence Day

2. Columbus Day 7. New

YearТs Day

3. St. PatrickТs Day 8. Martin

Luther KingТs day

4. Easter 9.


5. ValentineТs Day 10. Halloween

And there are festival post cards for every holiday, which

American people give the friends and relatives when they

congratulate each other. Here are some postcards for some parties:

Such are the US holidays. A holiday has simply become, for most

Americans, a day off from work. No matter what the holidayТs

origin is, they all seem to be the same thing, though some (for example,

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween) retain some individuality.

The list of literature:

1. УHolidays Go Round and RoundФ; Authors: Kathleen Carroll, Marina

Novikova. St Petersburg, 1996, Triada Publishing.

2. Ујнглийский дл€ поступающих в ¬”«ыФ; Authors: ÷веткова ». ¬.,

 лепальченко ». ј., ћыльцева Ќ. ј. ћосква, √Ћќ——ј, 1995.

3. У95 устных тем по английскому €зыкуФ; Author: «анина ≈. ј.

ћосква, јйрис –ольф, 1997.

4. УSpotlight on the USAФ; Author: Natalia Timanovskaya. “ула,

јвтограф, 1996.

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