A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!
In all the countries of the world and in Britain and the United States as well, it is a tradition to make the last night of the year one of fun and gaiety.
Whether the New Year’s Eve party is in a restaurant, a club or in a modest home it will be gay, noisy and glittering. The music will be loud and there will be bright colours, festive food and high spirits.
Everybody likes to see the old year out and the new year in noisily and cheerfully.
At midnight in Britain and America, people join their hands and sing “We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for Auld Lang Syne”.
American children enthusiastically wish to get rid of their little bad habits and resolve to do something good in the New Year. They write down their resolutions on cards:
“I resolve to hang up my clothes before I go to bed.”
“I resolve to stop teasing my sister.”
“I resolve to learn a foreign language.”
They sign their names and deliver the cards to their parents for safe- keeping, and in order to be reminded of their resolutions if they forget them.
GUY FAWKES’ NIGHT
Most countries have a special national day on which they have displays of fireworks. In England, this special day in November 5th.
Everybody in England celebrates a big plot, which did not happen. King James was going to open Parliament on November 5th, 1605. A man called Guy Fawkes not only wanted to kill the king, but to blow up Parliament as well. But the king’s men found out about his plan, arrested him on November 4th and hanged him.
Later, some people got the idea of making a bonfire and burning fireworks on November 5th in order to remember the gunpowder Plot, and vary soon such bonfires became a general custom all over England.
Now children in England look forward to Guy Fawkes’ night every year. They make a straw man called a “Guy”. Some of them show their Guy to passers- by in the street and collect pennies.
Other play with fireworks or make bonfires on which they burn the “Guy”. Even the younger children may stay up late, to admire the rockets bursting in the sky.
Halloween is essentially a young people’s holiday. It is celebrated in the U.S.A. on the night of October 31st every year. The origin of this holiday dates back to the popular superstitions of many people: the Druids of anticent Gaul and Britain, the Irish and the Scotch.
The theme of harvest, characteristic of modern Halloween celebrations comes from the Druids’ rites and the Romans’ festivals in honour of Pomona, the goddess of fruit.
Halloween is a night- time holiday. On this night the children dress up in grotesque costumes and go from one house to another, carrying bags in their hands and ringing door bells. As the door opens they shout Trick or treat. But adults enjoy seeing the children and make sure they are ready with plenty of sweets, biscuits and fruit. The tricks, when they do occur, are usually no more serious than soaped windows or some misplaces garden tool.
Some schools have Halloween costume parties for children. Special features of such parties are bobbing for apples and telling fortunes of stories.
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