Тема / Топик по английскому языку:
Holidays and Celebrations in the United Kingdom

Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries and simply days, on which certain traditions are observed, but unless they fall on a Sunday, they are ordinary working days. Here are some examples.

February 14 is St. Valentine’s Day; it is a day for choosing sweethearts and exchanging love-tokens. Generations of young people have considered St. Valentine to be the friend and patron of lovers and have sent gifts and band-made valentines to their sweethearts. Valentine was a colourful card with a short love verse composed by the sender. Now thousands of ready-made valentines are sent through the post every year. They are complete with ready-made sentiments and decorations, brightly coloured and gilded, and sometimes perfumed and packed into a neat box.

Pancake Day is a popular name for Shrove Tuesday - the last day of enjoyment before the fasting of Lent. On Shrove Tuesday Christians confessed their sins to a priest. Many people still traditionally eat pancakes on that day. One of the main events of Shrove Tuesday is the pancake race at Olney in Buckinghamshire. The competitors in the race are housewives from Olney; they have to make their pancakes and run from the village square to the church.

The fourth Sunday in Lent is Mothering Sunday - a day of small family reunions. On this day absent sons and daughters return to their homes and gifts are made to mothers by their children of all ages.

April, 1 is known in Britain as April Fool’s Day - the day when practical jokes are played. Any person, young or old, important or not, may be made an April Fool between the hours of midnight and noon. Children are, of course, very keen supporters of the traditions. Most of their tricks have now become traditional. One is to tell someone that his shoe-lace is undone, when in fact all is in order. On the first of April you can step in the basin of water, or receive a letter with a deceiving message or invitation. You can have your sleeve or trousers-leg sewn. If you are young and innocent, you can be sent to fetch some non-existing thing like pigeon’s milk.

Another popular British tradition is Halloween, celebrated on October 31, the eve of All Saints’ Day. Halloween customs date back to a time when people believed in devils, witches and ghosts. They thought that they could do all kinds of damage to property. Some people tried to ward off witches by painting magic signs or nailing a horseshoe. Now most people do not believe in evil spirits. Today the day is usually marked by costume balls or fancy-dress parties and is a popular tradition with young people and children.

On the night of Halloween children or grown-ups visit houses and ask the residents if they want «trick» or «treat». If the people in the house give the children a «treat» (usually money or sweets), then the children will not play a trick on them. Another Halloween custom is to scrape out a pumpkin, cutting eyes, nose and mouth in its side and lighting a candle inside, this is made to scare their friends.

Topical Vocabulary

- a festival
an anniversary
to observe a tradition
соблюдать традицию
to fall on
падать, приходиться на (какой-либо день)
- to choose a sweetheart
выбрать возлюбленного(ую)
to exchange love-tokens
обменяться символами любви
the friend and patron of lovers
друг и покровитель влюбленных
to send a gift
послать подарок
a hand-made valentine
самодельная «валентинка»
a love verse composed by the sender
стишок любовного содержания, сочиненный автором «валентинки»
a ready-made valentine
готовая валентинка
готовый, полный
ready-made sentiments and decorations
готовые пожелания и украшения
надушенный, ароматизированный
- Shrove Tuesday
Страстной вторник
the fasting of Lent
Великий пост
a Christian
to confess one’s sin to a priest
исповедаться в грехе перед священником
to eat pancakes
есть блины
- Mothering Sunday
День матерей
a day of family reunions
день, когда собирается семья
- April Fool’s Day
День смеха
to play a practical joke
сыграть шутку
to be a keen supporter of a tradition
с энтузиазмом поддерживать традицию
a trick
проделка, проказа, шутка
to undo a shoe-lace
развязать шнурок
to step in the basin of water
наступить в таз с водой
a deceiving message or invitation
фальшивое сообщение или приглашение
to fetch a non-existing thing
сходить за несуществующим предметом
pigeon’s milk
птичье молоко
- All Saints’ Day
День всех святых
to date back to
относиться к (о времени)
to believe in devils, witches and ghosts
верить в чертей, ведьм и привидения
- to do all kinds of damage to property
нанести вред имуществу
to ward off witches
отпугивать ведьм
to paint magic signs
нарисовать магические знаки
to nail a horseshoe
прибить подкову
an evil spirit
злой дух
to be marked by smth.
отмечаться чем-либо
a costume ball
a fancy-dress party
- treat
to play a trick on smb.
сыграть шутку с кем-либо
to scrape out a pumpkin
выдолбить тыкву
to light a candle inside
зажечь свечу внутри
to scare one’s friends
пугать друзей

Answer the questions:

  1. What are other British holidays, except bank holidays?
  2. How is St. Valentine’s Day celebrated?
  3. What is Pancake Day?
  4. How is Mothering Sunday marked?
  5. What kind of practical jokes are played on April Fool’s Day?
  6. What were the old Halloween traditions?
  7. How is Halloween marked today?

Translate into English:

  1. В День святого Валентина, друга и покровителя влюбленных, люди обмениваются символами любви.
  2. Самодельные валентинки содержали стишок любовного содержания, написанный ее автором.
  3. Готовые валентинки содержат готовые пожелания и украшения, часто позолочены и ароматизированы.
  4. В Страстной вторник христиане исповедовались в своих грехах священнику.
  5. День матерей - это день, когда собирается вся семья, когда дети всех возрастов возвращаются домой и дарят подарки матерям.
  6. День смеха - день шуток и проделок.
  7. Традиционные шутки в этот день - отправить фальшивое сообщение или приглашение, послать кого-либо за птичьим молоком.
  8. Обычаи Хэллоуина, праздника накануне Дня всех святых, восходят к временам, когда люди верили в злых духов.
  9. Люди верили, что черти, ведьмы и привидения могут нанести вред их имуществу, и пытались их отпугнуть.
  10. В ночь Хэллоуина дети и взрослые стучатся в двери домов и просят их обитателей дать им угощение.
  11. Если они его не получают, они могут сыграть с их обитателями злую шутку.