Festivals and Celebrations
What are the most important cultural celebrations and holidays in your country? How are they celebrated?
Here in the UK many people love celebrating because it is a good opportunity to spend time with friends, family and neighbours and to have some fun.
Throughout the year, many celebrations of all kinds take place annually. Some of these celebrations are religious, but most of them are not religious and are enjoyed and celebrated by everyone. What about in your country? Are the festivals and holidays mainly secular or religious?
Our year starts on 1st January. The night before New Year’s Day is called New Year’s Eve, or Hogmanay in Scotland. People gather together to have parties and to watch the clock counting down to midnight. At midnight we hear Big Ben ringing in the New Year, and then it is traditional to sing Auld Lang Syne. At New Year, it is very popular to make New Year’s resolutions. Do you ever do that?
In Scotland, we have a very important and fun night on 25th January. It is Burns Night. This is a celebration in honour of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns. It is traditional for people to attend Burns Suppers, where they eat haggis and read some of Burns’ famous poems. have you every tried eating haggis? It is one of the most famous Scottish dishes and also comes in a vegetarian variety.
In the UK, as in many other countries around the world, we celebrate Easter in March or April each year. This is a religious occasion, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Many people go to church, although nowadays this is not so common. Other traditions associated with Easter are painting Easter eggs and having Easter egg hunts, where eggs are hidden for children to find in a fun activity. People usually like to celebrate the Easter weekend with their families. How is Easter celebrated in your country? Is it a religious occasion, or is it more of a spring festival?
In the autumn, we celebrate Halloween on 31st October. In the UK we celebrate in the same way as in the USA. People dress up in costumes and go to parties. Children go trick or treating.
The week after Halloween, we have another big celebration. Bonfire night is celebrated on 5th November. It commemorates an event in 1605, when there was an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. People have bonfire parties and attend firework displays in the evening. Have you ever seen these? It’s lovely to watch these displays from your window, even if you don’t go outside.
The last big festival that we have in the year is Christmas. This is on 25th December. In the UK, it is celebrated by giving gifts and Christmas cards to all your family and friends. Many people have a long holiday at this time of year. Many workplaces close for nearly two weeks, and the children have a long break from school. On Christmas Day, it is traditional for families to gather together and have a big feast. Some families only see each other at Christmas if they live very far apart, so it is a very special time. The traditional dish is turkey, and many people enjoy a rich fruit dessert called Christmas pudding and eat a rich fruit Christmas cake.
The day after Christmas Day is called Boxing Day in the UK. Recently, it has become very popular to go shopping at the Boxing Day sales. Some shops even open up just after midnight or very early in the morning, and it is always very crowded!
There are many other celebrations that take place throughout the year too. People celebrate their birthday, Valentines Day and special days for the Patron Saint of the country. In Scotland we celebrate St Andrew’s Day on November 30th. St Andrew’s Day is the National Day of Scotland.
What about in your country? Do you have celebrations that are similar to these, or are they very different?