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Holidays in Great Britain

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There are some holidays in G.B. According to the Act of Parliament of 1871 there are some bank holidays. They are Christmas day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Easter, May Day, spring bank holiday and simmer bank holiday. Public holidays in G.B. are called bank holidays because the banks as well as most of the offices and shops are closed. Other public holidays are Good Friday, May Day; also there is a Pancake Day, April’s Fool Day, Mother’s Day.

The most popular holiday is Xmas. Every year the people of Norway give the city of London the present. It is a big Xmas tree and it stands in Trafalgar square. Central streets are beautifully decorated. Before Xmas groups of singers go from house to house. They collect money for charity and sing carols, traditional Xmas songs. Many churches hold a carol serves on the Sunday before Xmas. The fun starts the night before, on the 24th of December. This is the day when people decorate their trees. Children hang stocking at the end of their beds, hoping that Santa Claus will come at night and full them with toys and sweets. Xmas is a family holiday. Relatives’ prepare for the big Xmas dinner of turkey and Xmas pudding and every one gives and gets presents. The 26th of December,Boxing Day, is an extra holiday after Xmas. This is the time to meet friends or sit at home and watch TV. New Year’s Day is less popular in Britain then Xmas.

On the New Year’s Day they watch the old year out and the New Year in. There are some traditions on New Year’s Day. One of them is the old First Footing. The first man to come into the house is very important. The Englishmen believe that he brings luck. This man (not a woman) must be healthy, young and pretty-looking. He brings presents - bread, a piece of coal or a coin.

Another best-loved holiday is St.Valentine’s Day on the 14th of February - the holiday of love and affection, the day of sending «valentines» and giving presents to those you love. «Be My Valentine» - Englishmen with these word ask to become friends or companion. Valentines are often decorated with symbols of love - red hearts and roses, ribbons and laces.

In England tradition of celebrating Easter is deep-rooted in the history of the nation. Easter is a church holiday. There is a popular belief that wearing 3 new things on Easter will bring good luck. Traditionally Easter parades of people in bright new spring clothes are held on this day. Another custom is decorating eggs for children. Eggs are hidden in the yards and little children believe that the Easter rabbit comes and leaves eggs for them. Easter candies are made in the form of eggs, little chickens and rabbits.

Halloweenis the day or evening before all Saints Day. Children dress up in Halloween costumes and masks over their faces. People give them sweets, cookies and apples. A favourite Halloween custom is to make a jack-o’-lantern (the children scrape out a pumpkin and cut the eyes, nose and mouth). They light a candle inside the pumpkin to scare their friends.

A few words about superstitions in Britain. The people believe that if they put shoes on the table, they will have bad luck. The English won’t kill a spider, especially money spiders (small red ones). This is very unlucky. Some animals are also lucky (black cats bring good luck, white horses are also lucky). The most unlucky thing is to break a mirror. This brings 7 years of bad luck. The number 13 is the most unlucky number especially combination Friday, the 13th.

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