Рефераты. Традиции и праздники в США

weather prediction into the ear of his keeper, who then announces it to the

anxiously-awaiting crowd.

Of course, this is for show. It’s a fun celebration and a great tradition.

But Phil's keepers secretly decide upon the "forecast" in advance of the

groundhog's arousal.

Besides, spring always arrives on or near March 21, so whether the

groundhog decides to return to his den or remain above ground, the sad fact

is spring will always have to wait at least six more weeks.

April fool’s day! (April 1)

Unlike most of the other nonfoolish holidays, the history of April Fool's

Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear. There really

wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar.

Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the

same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.

The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this

tradition was in 1582, in France. Prior to that year, the new year was

celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25. The celebration

culminated on April 1. With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX,

the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to

January 1.

However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled

by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years. Others,

the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued

to celebrate the new year on April 1. These backward folk were labeled as

"fools" by the general populace. They were subject to some ridicule, and

were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical


This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on

the first day of April. The tradition eventually spread to England and

Scotland in the eighteenth century. It was later introduced to the American

colonies of both the English and French. April Fool's Day thus developed

into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities

specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends

and families.

In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two

days. The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of

the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be

traced to this observance.

Mexico's counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December

28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the

innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter

commemoration involving pranks and trickery.

Pranks performed on April Fool's Day range from the simple, (such as

saying, "Your shoe's untied!), to the elaborate. Setting a roommate's alarm

clock back an hour is a common gag. Whatever the prank, the trickster

usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"

Practical jokes are a common practice on April Fool's Day. Sometimes,

elaborate practical jokes are played on friends or relatives that last the

entire day. The news media even gets involved. For instance, a British

short film once shown on April Fool's Day was a fairly detailed documentary

about "spaghetti farmers" and how they harvest their crop from the

spaghetti trees.

April Fool's Day is a "for-fun-only" observance. Nobody is expected to buy

gifts or to take their "significant other" out to eat in a fancy

restaurant. Nobody gets off work or school. It's simply a fun little

holiday, but a holiday on which one must remain forever vigilant, for he

may be the next April Fool!

Mother's Day! (May 10)

History of Mothers' Day

Some Motherly Advice

What the Bible says about Mothers

M... is for the million things she gave me,

O... means only that she's growing old,

T... is for the tears she shed to save me,

H... is for her heart of purest gold;

E... is for her eyes, with love-light shining,

R... means right, and right she'll always be.

Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"

A word that means the world to me.

--Howard Johnson (c. 1915)

History and Customs...

In the U.S. Mothers' Day is a holiday celebrated on second Sunday in May.

It is a day when children honor their mothers with cards, gifts, and

flowers. First observance in Philadelphia, Pa. in 1907, it is based on

suggestions by Julia Ward Howe in 1872 and Anna Jarvis in 1907.

Although it wasn't celebrated in the U.S. until 1908, there were days

honoring mothers even in the days of ancient Greece. In those days,

however, it was Rhea, the Mother of the gods that was given honor.

Later, in the 1600's, in England there was an annual observance called

"Mothering Sunday." It was celebrated during Lent, on the fourth Sunday. On

Mothering Sunday, the servants, who generally lived with their employers,

were encouraged to return home and honor their mothers. It was traditional

for them to bring a special cake along to celebrate the occasion.

In the U.S., in 1908 Ana Jarvis, from Grafton, West Virginia, began a

campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Jarvis persuaded her

mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the

anniversary of her mother's death. A memorial service was held there on May

10, 1908 and in Philadelphia the following year where Jarvis moved.

Jarvis and others began a letter-writing campaign to ministers,

businessmen, and politicians in their quest to establish a national

Mother's Day. They were successful. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made

the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day a national observance

that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

Many other countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at

different times throughout the year. Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey,

Australia, and Belgium celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May,

as in the U.S.

Memorial Day. (May 31)

Rest Haven Cemetery in Edinburgh, Indiana

is the final resting place of many war veterans.

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day to remember those

who have died in our nation's service. After the Civil war many people in

the North and South decorated graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.

In the Spring of 1866, Henry C. Welles, a druggist in the village of

Waterloo, NY, suggested that the patriots who had died in the Civil War

should be honored by decorating their graves. General John B. Murray,

Seneca County Clerk, embraced the idea and a committee was formed to plan a

day devoted to honoring the dead. Townspeople made wreaths, crosses and

bouquets for each veteran's grave. The village was decorated with flags at

half mast. On May 5 of that year, a processional was held to the town's

cemeteries, led by veterans. The town observed this day of remembrance on

May 5 of the following year as well.

Decoration Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John

Logan in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed officially on May

30, 1868. The South did not observe Decoration Day, preferring to honor

their dead on separate days until after World War I. In 1882, the name was

changed to Memorial Day, and soldiers who had died in other wars were also


In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be held on the

last Monday in May.

Today, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season in

the United States. It is still a time to remember those who have passed on,

whether in war or otherwise. It also is a time for families to get together

for picnics, ball games, and other early summer activities.

Father's Day.( June 20)

The History of Fathers' Day

Quotes About Dad

Play Fathers' Day Word Search Online

Send a Father's Day Card

Fathers' Day Links from Yahoo!

Father's Day Gift Ideas


Sonora Dodd, of Washington, was one of the first people who had the idea of

a "father's day." She thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening

to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.

Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. Smart, who

was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth

to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other

five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.

After Sonora became an adult she realized the selflessness her father had

shown in raising his children as a single parent. It was her father that

made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a

courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so

she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington

on the 19th of June, 1910.

Even before Dodd, however, the idea of observing a day in honor of fathers

was promoted. Dr. Robert Webb conducted what is believed as the first

Father's Day service at the Central Church of Fairmont, West Virginia in

1908. It was Dodd's efforts, however, that eventually led to a national


President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national

Father's Day. Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential

proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day

Fourth of July.

The history of the United States of America began long before the Colonists

declared their independence. The Magna Carta, written in 1215 in order to

try to convince King John of England to give the people certain rights, is

generally considered to be the touchstone of liberty, upon which later

documents are based.

The links below will take you to America's Historic Documents. These are

the pieces of history upon which our nation was founded, and within which

our current liberty is rooted. All the documents are complete and

unabridged, including George Washington's Farewell Address.

Labor Day. ( September 6)

Labor Day is a national legal holiday that is over 100 years old. Over the

years, it has evolved from a purely labor union celebration into a general

"last fling of summer" festival.

It grew out of a celebration and parade in honor of the working class by

the Knights of Labor in 1882 in New York. In 1884, the Knights held a large

parade in New York City celebrating the working class. The parade was held

on the first Monday in September. The Knights passed a resolution to hold

all future parades on the same day, designated by them as Labor Day.

The Socialist Party held a similar celebration of the working class on May

1. This date eventually became known as May Day, and was celebrated by

Socialists and Communists in commemoration of the working man. In the U.S.,

the first Monday in September was selected to reject any identification

with Communism.

In the late 1880's, labor organizations began to lobby various state

legislatures for recognition of Labor Day as an official state holiday. The

first states to declare it a state holiday in, 1887, were Oregon, Colorado,

New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Then in 1894, Congress passed a

law recognizing Labor Day as an official national holiday.

Today, Labor Day is observed not only in the U.S. but also in Canada, and

in other industrialized nations. While it is a general holiday in the

United States, its roots in the working class remain clearer in European


It has come to be recognized in the U.S. not only as a celebration of the

working class, but even more so as the unofficial end of the summer season.

In the northern half of the U.S. at least, the summer vacation season

begins with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day.

Many colleges and some secondary and elementary schools begin classes

immediately after Labor Day.

State parks, swimming pools, and campgrounds are all quite busy on Labor

Day, as vacationers take one last advantage of the waning hot season.

September is the month that marks the beginning of autumn. And, because of

that, the average daytime maximum temperatures take a plunge during the

month in most of the U.S.

Columbus Day! (October 12)

CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS discovered America in 1492. At least that is what all

elementary school children were always taught: "In 1492, Columbus sailed

the ocean blue." Of course, Columbus never did "discover" North America,

and the regions he did explore were already inhabited. He only discovered

them from the viewpoint of the Europeans. Yet his first voyage did prove

one thing for sure, that the earth was not only round, but that it was

bigger than he had thought, Eratosthenes notwithstanding.

One of the first known celebrations marking the discovery of the "New

World" by Christopher Columbus was in 1792, when a ceremony organized by

the Colombian Order was held in New York City honoring Christopher Columbus

and the 300th anniversary of his landing in the Bahamas. Then, on October

12, 1866 the Italian population of New York organized the first celebration

of the discovery of America. Three years later, in 1869 Italians in San

Francisco celebrated October 12 calling it C-Day.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage, in 1892, President

Benjamin Harrison made a commemorative proclamation. But it was Colorado,

in 1905, that became the first state to observe a Columbus Day. Since 1920

the day has been celebrated annually, and in 1937 President Franklin

Roosevelt proclaimed every October 12 as Columbus Day. That's where it

remained until 1971 when Congress declared it a federal public holiday on

the second Monday in October.

Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1505)

Columbus, the son of a wool merchant and weaver, was born in Genoa, Italy

and went to sea at the age of 14. Following a shipwreck off the coast of

Portugal in 1470, he swam ashore and settled in that country.

Between 1477 and 1482 Columbus made merchant voyages as far away as Iceland

and Guinea. But in 1484, his "Enterprise of the Indies" idea fell on deaf

ears when he presented it to King John of Portugal. Shortly thereafter, he

moved to Spain, where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella became more

interested in his adventuresome ideas.

To the New World

On August 2, 1492, Columbus set sail in search of the East Indies. The

voyage was financed by Ferdinand and Isabella by making the city of Palos

pay back a debt to the crown by providing two of the ships, and by getting

Italian financial backing for part of the expenses. The crown had to put up

very little money from the treasury.

Columbus and 90 crewmen boarded the three ships that were to make the first

voyage to the New World, the Niсa, Pinta, and the flagship, Santa Maria. On

October 12, 1492, Columbus first saw the islands of the new world, landing

in the Bahamas. Later in the month, he would sail to Cuba, and to

Hispaniola (now Haiti). He thought he had reached the East Indies, the

islands off Southeast Asia.

Contrary to popular belief, most educated individuals in the 15th century,

and especially sailors, already knew that the earth was round. What was not

realized by Columbus, however, was just how big a globe it was. Columbus

seriously underestimated the size of the planet.

Seaworthy Cuisine

The menu for Spanish seamen consisted of water, vinegar, wine, olive oil,

molasses, cheese, honey, raisins, rice, garlic, almonds, sea biscuits, dry

legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, beans, salted and barreled sardines,

anchovies, dry salt cod and pickled or salted meats (beef and pork), salted


Food, mostly boiled, was served in a large communal wooden bowl. It

consisted of poorly cooked meat with bones in it, the sailors attacking it

with fervor, picking it with their fingers as they had no forks or spoons.

The larger pieces of meat were cut with the knife each sailor carried. Fish

was eaten most often. On calm days, the crew would fish and then cook their


Return to Spain and Additional Voyages

On Christmas Day, 1492, the Santa Maria sank off Hispaniola. Columbus

departed for Spain on January 16, 1493 on the Niсa, arriving there on March


Columbus made three additional voyages to the New World. The second voyage

set sail in September, 1493, with 17 ships. During his expeditions, he

helped to colonize Hispaniola, and discovered the South American mainland.

He did not, however, see mainland North America during any of his voyages.

He returned to Spain for the last time on November 7, 1504. He died at

Valladolid, Spain on May 20, 1506, at the age of 55.


Much controversy exists over Columbus' expeditions and whether or not one

can "discover" an already-inhabited land. The natives of the Bahamas and

other islands on his journey were peaceful and friendly. Yet many of them

were later enslaved by the Spanish. Also, it is known that the Vikings

explored the North American coast 500 years before Columbus.

Nevertheless, Columbus' expedition was unique and important in that it

resulted in the first intertwining of Europe with the Americas, resulting

in the first permanent European colonies in the New World.

Halloween! (October 31)

Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a

celebration of? And how did this peculiar custom originate? Is it, as some

claim, a kind of demon worship? Or is it just a harmless vestige of some

ancient pagan ritual?

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic

Church. It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve. November

1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance

in honor of saints. But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer

officially ended on October 31. The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en),

the Celtic New year.

One story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who

had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living

bodies to possess for the next year. It was believed to be their only hope

for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were

suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with

the living.

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night

of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make

them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of

ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as

destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for

bodies to possess.

Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was

not to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes

could relight their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was

kept burning in the Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.

Some accounts tell of how the Celts would burn someone at the stake who was

thought to have already been possessed, as sort of a lesson to the spirits.

Other accounts of Celtic history debunk these stories as myth.

The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own. But in the first

century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other

Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor

Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the

apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing

for apples on Halloween.

The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more

ritualized. As belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing

up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish

immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the

favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and

unhinging fence gates.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the

Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On

November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to

village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with

currants. The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers

they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At

the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after

death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage

to heaven.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore. As the tale

is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster,

tricked Satan into climbing a tree. Jack then carved an image of a cross in

the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. Jack made a deal with the

devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him

down the tree.

According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to

Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell

because he had tricked the devil. Instead, the devil gave him a single

ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. The ember was placed

inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally. But when the

immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more

plentiful than turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out

pumpkin, lit with an ember.

So, although some cults may have adopted Halloween as their favorite

"holiday," the day itself did not grow out of evil practices. It grew out

of the rituals of Celts celebrating a new year, and out of Medieval prayer

rituals of Europeans. And today, even many churches have Halloween parties

or pumpkin carving events for the kids. After all, the day itself is only

as evil as one cares to make it.

Veteran’s Day. (Nov. 11)

This is my tribute to my father, and to all veterans. I thank God every day

for him and veterans like him, without whom we wouldn't have the freedoms

we've grown accustomed to. Freedoms that too many Americans take for

granted. War is a horrible thing, and I in no way am attempting to glorify

it. However, in some cases it is necessary.

My father is a World War II veteran. Joining the Navy when he was just 17,

he was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Pensacola (CA-24), where he served

bravely until the war's end in 1945. The Pensacola was a heavy cruiser,

part of the screen of ships protecting the carrier U.S.S. Hornet, and later

the Enterprise. The Pensacola saw much action, and earned 13 Battle Stars

for her part in 13 major battles fought in the Pacific, including Midway,

Iwo Jima, and Guadalcanal.

The Pensacola's armament consisted of 20mm and 40mm anti-aircraft guns, and

5 inch and 8 inch guns. My father was a gunner on a 5 inch mount. The 5

inch guns were multi-purpose, used for ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore, and

anti-aircraft. My father has related to me that his scariest moments were

during Kamikaze attacks, when the enemy planes had to be literally "blown

from the sky", or centrifigul force would carry them into the ship.

Fortunately, no Kamikaze planes hit the Pensacola, but she was strafed,

bombed, shelled, and torpedoed.

She survived the war, only to be sunk off the coast of Washington State

during nuclear bombardment testing in the late '40s. An unmagnanimouse end

to a grand career. She was a proud ship, and her officers and crew fought

with unwavering courage.

As an aside, I just want to say that I abhor the treatment our Vietnam

Veterans have received by this country. Vietnam was a "dirty" war in my

opinion, created I believe, by miss-guided politicians. The men and women

who fought there were simply doing their duty, answering the call from our

armed forces. In my eyes they are all heroes. I salute you!

Thanksgiving! (4th Thursday in November)

Find Out What You Know About Thanksgiving!

This page is dedicated to the holiday that encourages us to step back and

give thanks for all the blessings we have. On this holiday site, you will

discover some unusual things about the history of Thanksgiving, and you can

take a fun little quiz to find out how much you know.

Take the quiz first, then read about the history of Thanksgiving to find

out about the answers you missed! When you're finished, I would appreciate

it if you would sign the guestbook to let me know what you learned!

Pearl Harbor Day (December 7)

In Memoriam:

At dawn on Sunday, December 7, 1941, naval aviation forces of the Empire of

Japan attacked the United States Pacific Fleet center at Pearl Harbor,

Hawaii and other military targets. The goal of this attack was to

sufficiently cripple the US Fleet so that Japan could then attack and

capture the Phillipines and Indo-China and so secure access to the raw

materials needed to maintain its position as a global military and economic

power. This would enable Japan to further extend the empire to include

Australia, New Zealand, and India (the ultimate boundaries planned for the

so-called "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere"). The prevailing belief

within the Japanese military and political establishment was that

eventually, with the then expected German defeat of Great Britain and

Soviet Russia, the United States' non-involvement in the European war, and

Japan's control of the Pacific, that the world power structure would

stabilize into three major spheres of influence:

Christmas (December 25)

At Christmas, people remember when Jesus Christ was born and the

Christian religion started. Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem, about

two thousands years ago. The people who followed Jesus' teaching were the

first Christians.

Today, Christmas is a very important time in the Christian year, but it is

also very important to those who do not go to church. It is a time for

buying and giving presents, having parties, and being with family.

People start to get ready for Christmas in late October or early November.

Shop - keepers decorate their shops with lights, trees and other

decorations, and shoppers start to look for presents. Shops get very busy

and stay open later. People with family and friends in other countries

often send them cards and presents, and everyone begins to make plans for

the coming holiday.

Many children have parties at school, and many adults have parties at work

in December. Most people have 25 and 26 December off work, and many have a

week off, from 25 December to 1 January. They usually spend this time at

home with their family or visiting family who live far away.

The Christmas holiday begins on 24 December: Christmas Eve. People often

stop work early and have a drink together, or finish their Christmas a

shopping. They cover the presents in special papers, and put them under the


Many people go to church at midnight on Christmas Eve. They hear the

Christmas story and sing carols.

Christmas Day ( 25 December ) is a holiday. Children usually wake up very

early. They look in their stockings to see what Santa put there for them.

After breakfast they open their other presents around the tree.

Christmas dinner is in the afternoon and is the biggest meal of the day.

Before they start to eat, people pull crackers. The crackers make a loud

noise, and have a small game and paper party hat inside.

Dinner is usually turkey with lots of winter vegetables and then hot mince

pies or a Christmas pudding.

At three o'clock many people in Britain turn their televisions on because

the Queen say

"Happy Christmas " to everyone.

A lot of people go for a walk in the afternoon or play with their new


In the evening, people eat cold meat, and Christmas cake ( a kind of fruit

cake ), fruit and nuts, but they are usually not very hungry because of

t5heir big dinner.

Another British Christmas tradition is the pantomime. A pantomime is a kind

of play with a children's story ( like Cinderella or Aladdin ) and lots of

music and songs. Children like pantomimes because they can join in and make

a lot of noise. They often go with their school or family.

The Christmas season ends on the twelfth day after 25 December, which is 6

January. Most people take down their Christmas trees and decorations by

this date, and some people think it is bad luck not to do that.

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