British Holidays

Great Britain is an old country and it has a lot of holidays and interesting traditions. Holidays in the country are historic and public. Most public holidays are called bank holidays because banks, companies and most shops do not work on these days. Such holidays include New Year's Day, Easter Monday and others.

At Easter, the British give each other chocolate eggs, which they eat on Easter Sunday.

Christmas is on the 25-th of December. Families spend this day together. For many people this is the most important holiday of the year. Family members wrap up their presents and put them under the Christmas tree. Children hang colourful socks at the end of their beds for presents. They believe that Father Frost puts presents inside the socks.

New Year's Day is not as important in Britain as it is in Russia. People usually make promises to themselves such as to give up smoking, to change their lifestyle and others.

St. Valentine's Day is celebrated on the 14-th of February. This is the traditional day for those who are in love. Young people give flowers and greeting cards to their Valentines and celebrate this day together.

Halloween is a holiday loved by all children. It takes place on the 31-st of October. There are a lot of parties and people dress up in costumes of witches and ghosts and make lanterns of pumpkins with a candle inside. People also play different games and have fun. Children usually go from one house to another with empty baskets or bags, knock on doors and say: "Trick or treat". People should give them something, or they will play a trick on them.

Among historic holidays, Guy Fawkes Night can be mentioned. In the 15-th century, a group of people with Guy Fawkes as their leader decided to blow up the Houses of Parliament. They did not manage to do this and Guy Fawkes was caught and hanged. Since then the British celebrate this day burning a doll made of straw and dressed in old clothes on a bonfire. Children dress in old clothes and beg in the street saying: "A penny for the Guy".

There are a lot of customs in Great Britain. One of the most famous is gardening. Most of the English keep small gardens full of flowers behind their houses or around them. In spring, there are a lot of flower-shows and vegetable-shows with prizes for the best exhibitions.

In Northern Ireland there is a holiday called St. Patrick's Day. It is celebrated on the 17-th of March. On this day people wear green clothes and drink Irish beer. There are carnivals and barbeques all over the country.