Alexander Murvanidze
Александр Мурванидзе

Speak about one of the holidays celebrated in Great Britain/Moldova/the USA in greater detail

Рубрика: English
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Вам предлагается рассказать о любом празднике, который отмечают в Великобритании, США или Молдавии. Тема более чем свободная, писать можно долго и нудно.

Не лишним будет ознакомиться со следующими текстами из книги Jean Ruppeldtova «Some facts on britain» о наиболее известных нам праздниках, отмечаемых в Соединённом Королевстве.

Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes' Day)

Remember, remember 
The Fifth of November 
Gunpowder, treason and plot, 
For I see no reason 
Why gunpowder treason 
Should ever be forgot.
These are the words of a song children sing on November 5. The Gunpowder Plot (1605) was conceived by Robert Catesby, who organized a Roman Catholic attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, during the ceremonial state opening of Parliament by James I. Guy Fawkes, an experienced soldier stored the barrels of gunpowder in a vault under the Houses of Parliament. The plot was discovered in time and the conspirators were arrested and executed. Right up to the present time the Gunpowder Plot is commemorated in Britain on the fifth of November and marked by firework displays and bonfires on which the "guy" is burned.
Safety measures have been taken in recent years as a result of the nasty accidents that occur on Bonfire Night. Instead of the numerous small back-garden bonfires there are now large publicly organized bonfires, where the effigy of Guy Fawkes is burned on November 5. Stricter rules have been enforced concerning the sale of fireworks. As a result of the safety precau¬tions the number of child-accidents has declined.
It is interesting to note that nowadays Fawkes' first name, "Guy" is used in English to denote a person who is a figure of fun, chiefly because of his ridiculously odd dress.

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)

Pancake Day is the popular name for Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding the first day of Lent. On this day everyone enjoys a dish of pancakes, perhaps with maple syrup (a syrup made by boiling down the sap of certain maples, especially the sugar maple). In some parts of England other customs have survived, for instance, Shrove Tuesday Pancake races. The origin of the feast is obscure but there are suggestions that the ingredients required for pancakes were forbidden by the Church during Lent, then they just had to be used up the day before.
Shrove Tuesday has also been linked with the Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) festival of warmer countries — a carnival. In his book Seasonal Feasts and Festivals, O. E. James writes that these jollifications were "an integral element in seasonal ritual for the purpose of promoting fertility and conquering the malign forces of evil, especially at the approach of spring".
Ball games and tug-of-war were the most consistent form of celebration, in which everyone rushed around the town and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, struggling to get the ball or rope into their part of the town, before the traditional feast. Even today this is the day when children bring out their whips and tops and the pavements are covered with chalked squares ready for a game of hopscotch. (A top is a child's toy, often inversely conical, with a short whip. Hopscotch is a game in which the player kicks a small stone through a series of squares drawn on the ground, while hopping from square to square.)

Valentine's Day (February 14)

"I'll be your sweetheart, if you will be mine,
All of my life I'll be your Valentine"
On this day greetings of affection, sometimes of a comic character are sent in the form of Valentine's cards to a person of the opposite sex, usually anonymously.
The first Valentine was said to be a Christian martyr, who before he was put to death by the Romans sent a note of friendship to his jailer's blind daughter. The Christian Church took for his saint's day February 14, the date of the old pagan spring festival, when young Roman maidens threw decorated love missives into an urn to be drawn by their boyfriends.