It is celebrated on the last Monday in May. It is an official holiday, when all the offices are closed and people don’t go to work. Many people go to the country on this day and have picnics.
Late Summer Bank Holiday
It is an official holiday, and it is celebrated on the last Monday in August. During the August Bank Holiday townsfolk usually go to the country and to the seacoast. The August Bank Holiday is also a time for big sports meetings at large stadiums. And most traditionally, there are large fairs with swings, shows and every kind of other entertainments.
Guy Fawkes Night
It commemorates the discovery of the so-called Gunpowder Plot. The story says that there was a plot to destroy the Houses of Parliament and kill King James I during the ceremony of opening Parliament on November 5th, 1605. The plot was organized by a group of Roman Catholics. But the gunpowder was found together with Guy Fawkes, who was to set off the explosion. He was hanged later. This day is traditionally celebrated with fireworks and a bonfire, on which the figure of a man called Guy is burnt.
Customs and traditions. Holidays in the USA.
Martin Luther King’s Day
It is celebrated on the Third Monday of every January beginning in 1986. Martin Luther King was a black clergyman who became famous all over the world for his campaigns to win full civil rights for the black people in the USA, because black people were discriminated in different spheres of life. For example, black people were not allowed to eat in the same places with white people, their children could not study at schools together with white children. The whole world was shocked when King was killed in 1968. The Congress decided to make the third Monday in January a holiday in honour of Martin Luther King.
At first it was celebrated on February 22, the birthday of George Washington, first president of the USA. In most states Americans also celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12. In 1970 the American Congress decided to honour all past presidents of the country on a single day which was called Presidents` Day, and which is observed on the third Monday in February.
It is celebrated on the fourth Monday of every May, when the Americans honour the dead. They remember the dead of all wars and all other dead. Special ceremonies are held in cemeteries, at monuments for the war dead, in churches, schools, or other public places.
The fourth of July is known as Independence Day when the USA was proclaimed an independent republic in 1776. It is a very great holiday marked by parades, flying of flags all over the country and picnics.
The New World was discovered by Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492. Most countries of the American continents celebrate this discovery on October 12, but in the USA Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October. A great parade takes place in New York on this day.
It is celebrated on November 11. This was the date when the First World War ended in 1918. On Veterans` Day the Americans honour veterans of all the wars in which the USA took part. The President of the USA places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery which is situated at Washington, D.C. Organizations of war veterans organize parades and different ceremonies, collect money for veterans, invalids and other people in need.
Halloween is a festival that takes place on October 31. In the USA children wear costumes and masks and go trick-or-treating. Many of them carve jack-o’-lanterns out of pumpkins. Fortunetelling and storytelling about ghosts and witches are popular activities.
Halloween developed from new year festivals and festivals of the dead. Christian church established a festival on November 1 called All Saints’ Day so that people could continue to celebrate their festivals. The Mass said on All Saints’ Day was called Allhallowmass. The day before All Saints’ Day was known all hallows’ Eve or All Hallow e’en.
The American Thanksgiving began as a feast of thanksgiving almost four hundred years ago. In 1620, a religious community sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to settle in the New World. They arrived too late to grow a rich harvest. Moreover, half the colony died from disease. The following spring the Iroquois Indians taught them how to grow corn, hunt and fish. In the autumn of 1621 they got a beautiful harvest of corn, barley, beans and pumpkins. The colonists had much to be thankful for, so they planned a feast.
After the USA gained independence, the Congress recommended one yearly day of thanksgiving for the whole country. Later, Abraham Lincoln suggested the last Thursday in November to be the day of thanksgiving.
ALMATY.In 1854 Russia spreading its economic and political interest to the south founded a military fortification “Zailiyskoe” there. Soon it got the name “Vernoe”, and in 1867 it became a city. In 1921 “Vernoe” was renamed into Alma-Ata. And in 1929 Alma-Ata became the capital of Kazakhstan. When Kazakhstan gained its independence, the city got its historical name Almaty. A lot of unique buildings and constructions were erected in Almaty. Mountain ice sport centre “Medeu”, mountain-skiing centre “Chimbulak”, museums, and theatres are here, too. There is the National Academy of sciences, a number of universities and institutes in Almaty. As the capital was transferred to Astana, Almaty got a special status: it became the political, financial, scientific and social-cultural centre of the state.Today Almaty is the main transport centre with two railway lines, five highways; there is an international airport here. The chief industry is machinery engineering and food one.Thanks to its unique location – among emerald-blue snow-covered tops of the Alatau Mountains – Almaty is really a pearl of Kazakhstan.
ASTANA.After Kazakhstan had gained its independence, the city got its former name – Akmola. But in 1998, when the capital was transferred from Almaty, the city got a symbolic name – Astana. The decision (to transfer the capital) depended on some economic, ecological and geographical factors. The main arguments in choosing the place for the new capital were the general condition of the city, its territory, and well-developed transport system. Besides, it stimulates the prosperity of the northern, central and eastern regions.
For the last few years Astana has changed. It became a beautiful city of Kazakhstan. The city centre impresses especially. The grand buildings of the Government and the Parliament Houses, other administrative establishments meet all modern requirements. Music College, Opera House, the Central Square are marked by magnificent architectural composition. Republic Avenue is wonderful at night. Citizens and guests of Astana like walking along the embankment of the Ishim with attractions, parks and cafes working half the night.
The beautiful city of Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States and the centre of its government. The capital was named after the first president George Washington and was founded in 1790. It is situated on the Potomac River in the District of Columbia. Washington is not the largest city in the USA. It has a population only 9000,000.
Washington D.C. has nothing characteristically American in it, as its conception is purely French. It has long wide avenues, gardens, beautiful parks and no skyscrapers at all. Washington is the residence of the President and the Congress of the USA. The White House is the President’s residence, the Capitol – the seat of the American Congress. The largest and the highest among the buildings is the Capitol with its great House of Representatives and Senate Chamber. There are no skyscrapers because no other building must be higher than the Capitol. All American presidents except George Washington (the White House was not yet built in his time) have lived in the White House. It was built in 1799.
Washington is a large scientific and cultural centre, where there are many research institutes, five universities, the National Academy of Science and the Library of Congress. There is one more well-known building in Washington – Pentagon, the residence of the US Military department. It is situated in the suburbs to the south of the Potomac.
Washington is one-industry town. That industry is government. It does not produce anything except very much scrap paper. Every day 25 railway cars leave Washington loaded with scrap paper. Washington has many historical places. Not far from the Capitol is the Washington Monument, which looks like a very big pencil. It rises 160 meters. A special lift brings visitors to the top in 70 seconds from where they can enjoy a wonderful view of the whole city.
The Jefferson Memorial was built in memory of the third President of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, who was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. The memorial is surrounded by cherry-trees. The Lincoln Memorial is devoted to the memory of the 16th President of the US, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to Negro slaves in America.
London is the capital of Great Britain and one of the oldest British cities. When Julius Caesar came to Britain in the year 55 B.C., he founded a small settlement on the bank of the Thames. As years passed by, this small settlement grew into a large town and in 1066 became the capital of the country. Traditionally London is divided into several parts: the City, the West End, the East End and Westminster. The City is the oldest part of London, its financial and business centre. The heart of the City is the Stock Exchange. Westminster is the most important part of the capital. It's the administrative centre. The Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British Government, are there. It's a very beautiful building with two towers and a very big clock called Big Ben. The Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big bell, known as "Big Ben". Big Ben is really the bell which strikes every quarter of an hour. Opposite the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey. It's a very beautiful church built over 900 years ago. The tombs of many great statesmen, scientists and writers are there. Westminster is the governmental part of London. Nearly all English kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey. Many outstanding statesmen, scientists, writers, poets, and painters are buried here: Newton, Darwin, Chaucer, Dickens, Tennyson, Kipling, etc. Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, the seat of the British Parliament. Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen.
The Trafalgar Square is the geographical centre of London. It was named in memory of Admiral Nelson's victory in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The tall Nelson's Column stands in the middle of the square.
On the north side of the Trafalgar Square is the National Portrait Gallery. Not far away is the British Museum — the biggest museum in London. It contains a priceless collection of ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures, etc, and is also famous for its library.
Modern London is a very large city. It is one of the largest cities in the world and a large industrial, cultural, scientific, educational and art centre. The historical centre of the capital is the City of London. It is the business centre of London. The Royal Exchange, the Bank of England, most of London’s other banks and offices are situated there, and in the daytime it is a very busy part of the capital. In the evening and night hours, however, the City is almost empty, because the offices and banks are closed, and very few people live in the City.
The West End is the richest and most beautiful part of London. It is the symbol of wealth and luxury. It is a district of rich shops, fine houses and palaces, gardens and parks, theatres, concert halls and restaurants. The East End is the industrial part of London, the district of factories and docks.
London is famous for its architecture. St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament with Big Ben, the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge over the Thames have a world-wide fame. There are many other places of interest in London, such as the British Museum, Trafalgar Square with the Nelson Column, the National Gallery, Piccadilly Circus, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace and many others.
My day off (Êàëàìêàñ)
I am always looking forward to Saturdays and Sundays, because they are my days off. As a rule, my days off don't differ very much from each other. I usually get up an hour later than on my working days. I usually spend my Saturday and Sunday watching TV, reading books, walking, visiting my friends and so on. But the way of spending my days off much depends upon the season. In winter my family and me go on skiing or sledging or playing snowballs. In summer we can go swimming or boating or hiking. In autumn we take long walks during which we enjoy beautiful golden autumn or go picking mushrooms and berries in the forest. In the forest we gather brushwood for fire, make it and cook barbeque. We enjoy spending our days off together. Sometimes I go to the cinema or to the dancing hall with my friends. But most of all I like visiting my grandparents. It's always glorious. In their country-house I may do what I want. I may stay in bed till 10 o'clock. And the breakfast is brought up into my room. My granny cooks delicious chicken, roast potatoes and pies. Sheserves the table with different kinds of fruit from the garden: apples, pears, apricots. In other words, there is almost everything you might wish. And the house looks very sweet. My grandparents always invite me to spend my weekend with them. I help them in the yard and in the garden. But the only thought about starting a new week makes me unhappy. I know that I have to get up at 6:30. That's practically the middle of the night in late autumn and in winter. My greatest dislike is to get up early. I don't want to be so pessimistic, but it seems to me that my days off finish very quickly. I like to be an optimist who will say: "The cup is half full", while the pessimist will say: " The cup is half empty". But I am happy to live my busy life day by day and enjoy the weekends. And every Sunday when I go to bed I think that my day off flashed past, and the new week will bring new problems and their solution.