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Holidays in the United States
(Праздники в США)





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Americans share three national holidays with many countries: Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.


Easter, which falls on a spring Sunday that varies from year to year, celebrates the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For Christians, Easter is a day of religious services and the gathering of family. Many Americans follow old traditions of coloring hard-boiled eggs and giving children baskets of candy.


Christmas Day, December 25, is another Christian holiday; it marks the birth of the Christ Child. Decorating houses and yards with lights, putting up Christmas trees, giving gifts, and sending greeting cards have become traditions even for many non-Christian Americans.


New Year's Day, of course, is January 1. The celebration of this holiday begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year.


Uniquely American Holidays


Eight other holidays are uniquely American (although some of them have counterparts in other nations). For most Americans, two of these stand out above the others as occasions to cherish national origins: Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.


Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday in November. The holiday dates back to 1621, the year after the Puritans arrived in Massachusetts, determined to practice their dissenting religion without interference.


After a rough winter, in which about half of them died, they turned for help to neighboring Indians, who taught them how to plant corn and other crops. The next fall's bountiful harvest inspired the Pilgrims to give thanks by holding a feast. The Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition.To this day, Thanksgiving dinner almost always includes some of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, pumpkin pie. Before the meal begins, families or friends usually pause to give thanks for their blessings, including the joy of being united for the occasion.


The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, honors the nation's birthday - the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a day of picnics and patriotic parades, a night of concerts and fireworks.


Besides Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July, there are six other uniquely American holidays: Martin Luther King Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day. While not holidays, two other days of the year inspire colorful celebrations in the United States: February 14, Valentine's Day, and October 31, Halloween.


Read and answer the following questions:


1. What national celebrations in the US do you know?


2. What is your favorite national celebration?


3. Would you like to take part in any foreign national celebration?





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