25 мая 2015
This week we are celebrating the Memorial Day in United States.
Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women, who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials on Memorial Day and it is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season.
What do people do?
It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day is combined with Jefferson Davis' Birthday in Mississippi.
Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday. All non-essential Government offices are closed, as are schools, businesses and other organizations. Most public transit systems do not run on their regular schedule. Many people see Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to go on a short vacation or visit family or friends. This can cause some congestion on highways and at airports.
Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women, who died in any war or military action.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. The current name for this day did not come into use until after World War II. Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.Свернуть
18 мая 2015
This week we are celebrating Victoria Day in Canada!
Victoria Day is a Canadian statutory holiday celebrated on the Monday preceding May 25 in every province and territory. It honours Queen Victoria's birthday.
Victoria Day is also commonly referred to as the "May two-four weekend" or the "May long weekend" and it marks the unofficial start of the cottage season.
What do people do?
In some cities, fireworks displays or parades are held to mark Victoria Day. One of the most notable parades is held in the city of Victoria, British Columbia, which was named after Queen Victoria. Many people gather in parks to enjoy fireworks displays, which are particularly impressive in Hamilton and Toronto.
For many people, the long Victoria Day weekend marks the end of the winter and the unofficial start of the spring or summer season. After this weekend, gardeners can be reasonably sure that there will be no more frost until the autumn so they can sow or plant out delicate crops and plants. For the same reason, people with recreational homes in colder parts of the country often go to them to open them up for the summer. In addition, many amusement parks and outdoor attractions open for their summer season this weekend. Notably, stores on Prince Edward Island are only permitted to open on Sunday between Victoria Day and Christmas Day.
Victoria Day is marked as a public holiday at a national level. Many people have a day off work and schools are closed. However, it is not one of the general paid holidays listed in the Nova Scotia Labour Standards Code and it is not a designated retail closing day in Nova Scotia. An employer may agree to provide employees with Victoria Day as a paid holiday in Nova Scotia.
It is not listed in the Quebec government's list of statutory general holidays either, although National Patriots’ Day is celebrated in the province. Nor is Victoria Day listed as a paid public holiday in New Brunswick, but it is listed as a prescribed day of rest. It is not listed as a paid public holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Newfoundland and Labrador Lieutenant Governor-in-Council can proclaim an additional day though. Moreover, different holidays can be set by collective agreements to substitute the public holidays designated under the province's law.
Many stores are closed in many Canadian provinces and territories. However, there are some local variations. Post offices across Canada are closed. Public transport services may run to a normal or reduced timetable.
Queen Victoria was born on May 24, 1819. Following the death of three uncles and her father, she became Queen of the United Kingdom on June 20, 1837 and reigned until her death on January 22, 1901. Victoria is still the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. During Victoria's life, the British Empire expanded considerably. However, her powers as Queen of the United Kingdom were reduced as the House of Commons became more important and powerful in British politics.
The monarch's birthday has been celebrated in Canada since before the beginning of Queen Victoria's reign. After her death, in 1901, May 25 became known as Empire Day. The sovereign's official birthday was still celebrated, often on the King's or Queen's actual birthday. In 1952, Empire Day was moved to the Monday before May 25 and since 1953, the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II has been celebrated on this date in Canada. In 1958, Empire Day became known as Commonwealth Day, which was moved to the second Monday in March. The Monday before May 25 then became known as Victoria Day, which is a Canadian statutory holiday.Свернуть
12 мая 2015
This week we are celebrating the International Day of Families.
The International Day of Families, annually held on May 15, celebrates the importance of families and the work started during the International Year of Families.
What do people do?
A wide range of events are organized at local, national and international levels. These include: workshops, seminars and policy meeting for public officials; exhibitions and organized discussions to raise awareness of the annual theme; educational sessions for children and young people; and the launch of campaigns for public policies to strengthen and support family units. In some countries, tool kits are created to help people organize celebrations aimed at a particular section of the population, such as school children or young adults.
The International Day of Families is a global observance and not a public holiday.
The year 1994 was proclaimed as the International Year of Families by the United Nations. This was a response to changing social and economic structures, which have affected and still affect the structure and stability of family units in many regions of the globe. The International Day of Families, on May 15, is an occasion to reflect on the work started during 1994 and to celebrate the importance of families, people, societies and cultures around the world. It has been held every year since 1995.
The symbol of the International Day of Families consists of a solid green circle with an image in red. The image consists of elements of simple drawings of a heart and a house. This indicates that families are the center of society and provide a stable and supporting home for people of all ages.Свернуть
03 мая 2015
This week we are celebrating Children's Book Week!
May 4-10, 2015 -- the 96th anniversary!
Children's Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.
Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes -- wherever young readers and books connect!
Children's Book Week is administered by Every Child A Reader, a 501(c)(3) literacy organization dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children. The Children's Book Council, the national non-profit trade association for children's book publishers, is an anchor sponsor.
Children's Book Week Highlights!
Children's Book Week is a truly national celebration, with events taking place from coast to coast.
In 2014, for the first time in the initiative's history, Official Events were held in all 50 states!
Each year, the Children's Book Council enlists beloved children's literature illustrators to design the commemorative Children's Book Week Poster and Bookmark. Download the 2014 Book Week bookmark by Steve Jenkins and order your free 2014 Poster by Robin Preiss Glasser!
Children's Choice Book Awards Gala! Launched by the Children's Book Council and Every Child a Reader in 2008, the Children's Choice Book Awards Program was created to provide young readers with an opportunity to voice their opinions about the books being written for them and to develop a reading list that will motivate children to read more and cultivate a life-long love of reading. Winners are announced live during Children's Book Week at the Children's Choice Book Awards Gala, the Academy Awards of children's literature. This year, voting will be open at ccbookawards.com from Tuesday, March 17 through Sunday, May 3.
Children's Book Week originated in the belief that children's books and literacy are life-changers. In 1913, Franklin K. Matthiews, the librarian of the Boy Scouts of America, began touring the country to promote higher standards in children's books. He proposed creating a Children's Book Week, which would be supported by all interested groups: publishers, booksellers, and librarians.
Mathiews enlisted two important allies: Frederic G. Melcher, the visionary editor of Publishers Weekly, and Anne Carroll Moore, the Superintendent of Children's Works at the New York Public Library and a major figure in the library world. With the help of Melcher and Moore, in 1916, the American Booksellers Association and the American Library Association sponsored a Good Book Week with the Boy Scouts of America.
In 1944, the newly-established Children's Book Council assumed responsibility for administering Children's Book Week. In 2008, Children’s Book Week moved from November to May. At that time, administration of Children’s Book Week, including planning official events and creating original materials, was transferred to Every Child a Reader -- a 501 (c)(3) literacy non-profit dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of reading in children -- and the Children's Book Council became a CBW anchor sponsor.
The need for Children’s Book Week today is as essential as it was in 1919, and the task remains the realization of Frederic Melcher’s fundamental declaration: “A great nation is a reading nation.”Свернуть
27 апреля 2015
This week we are celebrating May Day!
copyright of protectbritain.com
The first day of the month of May is known as May Day. It is the time of year when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom. It is said to be a time of love and romance. It is when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter.
Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole.
The beginning of Summer
Although summer does not officially begin until June, May Day marks its beginning. May Day celebrations have been carried out in England for over 2000 years.
The Romans celebrated the festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer. It was held annually from April 28th to May 3rd.
May Day in Scotland
"I come from a town in Scotland called Turriff. We celebrate May day on the 1st Monday of May every year. The roads are closed off to traffic from 10am - 4pm, we have a funfair at the local park, we have lots off stalls in the town & different activities & going on throughout the day, the Local pipeband (Turriff & Disrtrict Pipeband) march round the town playing. Its a fantastic day out for all & attracts crowds of people to Turriff. " Veronica
May Day Bank Holiday
The month of May has many traditions and celebrations. For the convenience of the general public, many May Day activities have now been moved to the new May Day holiday (from 1978) on the first Monday of the month. This Monday is a bank holiday, a day off school and work.
Many of the May Day celebrations take place at the weekend as well as on the 'May Day' Monday. The weekend is know as bank holiday weekend because it comes with the extra day holiday on the MondayMay Day - Maypole Dancing
A traditional May Day dance is Maypole Dancing.
On May Day, people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer.
People danced around the tree poles in celebration of the end of winter and the start of the fine weather that would allow planting to begin.
Maypoles were once common all over England and were kept from one year to the next. Schools would practice skipping round the pole for weeks before the final show on the village greens.
The end results would be either a beautiful plaited pattern of ribbons round the pole or a tangled cat's cradle, depending on how much rehearsing had been done
Maypoles are still a part of some village life and on May Day the villagers dance around it.
The tallest maypole is said to have been erected in London on the Strand in 1661; it stood over 143 feet high. It was felled in 1717, when it was used by Isaac Newton to support Huygen's new reflecting telescope.
Another traditional dance you will often see from May is Morris Dancing. It is a traditional English form of folkdancing, performed by groups of men or women.You can see many different groups of Morris Dancers performing at the Rochester Sweeps Festival every May.
Morris Dancing has been danced for hundreds of years, and passed down through the generations in the villages of rural England. The dances are usually performed at festivals such as May Day, Whitsun and Christmas.
The Origins of Morris Dancing
There are several thoughts to the origins of Morris Dancing. The name may refer to the possibility of the form of dancing coming to England from the Moors of North Africa; or it may have been called 'Moor-ish' simply because the dancers sometimes painted their faces black, and people compared this to the dark-skinned Moors.
The dancing is very lively and accompanied by an accordion player, a melodeon or fiddle player (Cotswolds) or a noisy band with a drum (Border Morris or North West sides)
Morris dancers wear different clothes depending on the part of the country in which they dance. They are often dressed in white with coloured baldrics (coloured belts) across their chests.
Border Morris Dancers generally wear 'tatter jackets' and black their faces - probably originating as a form of disguise.
There are usually six or eight dancers arranged in two lines or in a circle facing each other. The dancers may carry white handkerchiefs that they shake, or short sticks that they bang against each other as they dance. Some dancers have bell-pads tied at their knees, which make a loud and cheerful rhythm as they dance.Свернуть
20 апреля 2015
This week we are celebrating EARTH DAY!
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by theEarth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.
The aim of this day is to create awareness on the climate change and its effects on the environment; hence, helping to promote a peaceful, healthy and sustainable environment.
What do people do?
The April 22 Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches. Some people are encouraged to sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction. Television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues.
Earth Day is not a public holiday and public life, with regard to transport schedules and opening hours for schools and businesses, is not affected.
The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.
Some people prefer to observe Earth Day around the time of the March equinox. In 1978, American anthropologist Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, founded by John McConnell. She stated that the selection of the March Equinox for Earth Day made planetary observance of a shared event possible.
Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth; a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth; or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown or blue.
The “Earth Flag”, which was designed by John McConnell, has been described as a “flag for all people”. It features a two-sided dye printed image of the Earth from space on a dark blue field, made from recyclable, weather-resistant polyester. Margaret Mead believed that a flag that showed the earth as seen from space was appropriate.Свернуть
13 апреля 2015
This week we are Leonardo da Vinci's Birthday!
Leonardo da Vinci
Occupation: Artist, Inventor, Scientist
Born: April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy
Died: May 2, 1519 in Amboise, Kingdom of France
Famous works: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Vitruvian Man
Style/Period: High Renaissance
Leonardo da Vinci was an artist, scientist, and inventor during the Italian Renaissance. He is considered by many to be one of the most talented and intelligent people of all time. The term Renaissance Man (someone who does many things very well) was coined from Leonardo's many talents and is today used to describe people who resemble da Vinci.
Where was Leonardo da Vinci born?
Leonardo was born in the town of Vinci, Italy on April 15, 1452. Not much is known about his childhood other than his father was wealthy and had a number of wives. About the age of 14 he became an apprentice to a famous artist named Verrocchio. This is where he learned about art, drawing, painting and more.
Leonardo the Artist
Leonardo da Vinci is regarded as one of the greatest artists in history. Leonardo excelled in many areas including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Although we don't have a lot of his paintings today, he is probably most famous for his paintings and also gained great fame during his own time due to his paintings. Two of his most famous paintings, and perhaps two of the most famous in the world, include the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
Leonardo's drawings are also quite extraordinary. He would keep journals full of drawings and sketches, often of different subjects that he was studying. Some of his drawings were previews to later paintings, some were studies of anatomy, some were closer to scientific sketches. One famous drawing is the Vitruvian Man drawing. It is a picture of man who has perfect proportions based off the notes from the Roman architect Vitruvius. Other famous drawings include a design for a flying machine and a self portrait.
Leonardo the Inventor and Scientist
Many of da Vinci's drawings and journals were made in his pursuit of scientific knowledge and inventions. His journals were filled with over 13,000 pages of his observations of the world. He drew pictures and designs of hang gliders, helicopters, war machines, musical instruments, various pumps, and more. He was interested in civil engineering projects and designed a single span bridge, a way to divert the Arno River, and moveable barricades which would help protect a city in the case of attack.
Many of his drawings were on the subject of anatomy. He studied the human body including many drawings on muscles, tendons, and the human skeleton. He had detailed figures of various parts of the body including the heart, arms, and other internal organs. Leonardo didn't just study the human anatomy either. He also had a strong interest in horses as well as cows, frogs, monkeys, and other animals.
Fun Facts about Leonardo da Vinci
- The term Renaissance Man means someone who is good at everything. Leonardo is considered to be the ultimate Renaissance man.
- Some people claim he invented the bicycle.
- He was very logical and used a process like the scientific method when investigating a subject.
- His Vitruvian man is on the Italian Euro coin.
- Only around 15 of his paintings are still around.
- The Mona Lisa is also called "La Giaconda" meaning the laughing one.
- Unlike some artists, Leonardo was very famous for his paintings while he was still alive. It's only recently that we've realized what a great scientist and inventor he was.
09 апреля 2015
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07 апреля 2015
Приглашаем детей от 6 лет в Летний Лингвистический Клуб
«BBEnglish Summer Club» в городе Звенигород.
Мы предлагаем уникальную языковую программу, которая направлена на развитие разговорного английского языка, снятие языкового барьера, расширение и закрепление словарного запаса.
С нами дети окунутся в удивительный мир английского языка, получат представление о традиционных английских играх, займутся настоящим творчеством на мастер-классах, и вдоволь наиграются во время спортивных мероприятий.
А также мы предлагаем удивительные по своей познавательности экскурсии в различные музеи и парки г. Москвы и Подмосковья.
Первая смена с 01 июня по 17 июня 2015г.
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Стоимость: 1400 рублей в день, при оплате до 18 мая 1300 рублей в день.
*дополнительно оплачиваются входные билеты на экскурсии и проезд
Программа летнего клуба предусматривает:
- дневное пребывание с 9:00 до 18:00 (выходные дни дети проводят дома с родителями);
- группы от 8 до 12 человек;
- мастер-классы, проектные работы;
- экскурсии и спортивные мероприятия;
- сертификат по окончании;
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07 апреля 2015
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04 апреля 2015
This week we are celebrating Easter!
What is Easter in UK?
Easter is a popular holiday across the United Kingdom, filled with history, folklore and traditional customs. Easter, one of the oldest Christian traditions, is the celebration of the last week of Jesus’ life, his death, and his resurrection. For Christians, Easter symbolises the dawn of a new life and the high point of the Christian calendar. While defined as a Christian holiday, Easter has many of its roots in the traditions and rituals of the pagan people who inhabited the United Kingdom before its wide spread conversion to the Christian faith. Scholars believe that Easter was named for “Eostre”, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the spring.
The actual day of Easter, unlike Christmas, is not a set date. Always on a Sunday, Easter can vary in date by country depending on whether the Gregorian or Julian calendar is being used. The UK, which follows the Gregorian calendar, celebrates Easter on the Sunday following the first full moon that occurs after the first day of spring. Using this timeline, Easter can vary in date from as early as the 22nd of March to as far into spring as the 25th of April.
Easter in the UK begins with the Thursday before Easter. Maundy Thursday is celebrated as the last day of Jesus’ life and the day of the Last Supper. It is said that Jesus washed the feet of his loyal disciples in the “Eucharist” ceremony. The day is named after the French word “mande”, which roughly translates to the terms command or mandate. It is said that this name came about from Jesus’ last command given to his followers, “love one another as I have loved you.”
Dating back to the time of King Edward the First, it is tradition for the Queen to take part in the Maundy Thursday celebrations. It is customary for the sovereign to distribute what is called the “Maundy Money” to deserving senior citizens. One man and one woman are chosen to represent each year of the Monarch’s age. These are citizens that have done great service in the community and are chosen to receive a red and white purse containing one coin for every year of rule by the Monarch.
Maundy Money is a modern change on the original celebration of Maundy Thursday. It was said that the Royals used to wash the feet of selected poor people to show devotion and humility to their constituents. However, the last Royal to have participated in the original form of this holiday was King James the Second. The current tradition of Maundy Money was said to have been started by King Charles the Second in 1662 and has remained unchanged in its entirety since 1670.
Thought once to be named “God’s Friday” or “Holy Friday”, the United Kingdom’s celebration of Good Friday is a commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is treated as a day of mourning in the United Kingdom. Churches remain unlit and bare, with no decorations or flowers; some churches cover statues and paintings. Many churches hold a ceremony at 3 o’clock, as this is said to be the time that Jesus died on the cross. Most church services on Good Friday last approximately three hours and will incorporate passion plays or dramatic readings into their services.
Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten by Christians in the UK on Good Friday. The bread serves as a reminder of Jesus dying for our sins due to the shape of the cross that appears across the top of the bun. They are generally consumed as a breakfast food and come straight from the oven. Once sold by street vendors in the cities, a well known nursery rhyme was founded based on the pitch sung by the local vendors: “Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns. If you do not like them, give them to your sons, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.” There are several superstitions around the hot cross bun. Some say that when baked on Good Friday, they would never go mouldy. Others say that if hardened, they would protect a house from fire. Sailors were known to take them to sea, to protect them from shipwrecks.
Fish is the traditional food of choice for Good Friday suppers, while some devout Christians opt to fast instead in memory of the sacrifice given by Jesus Christ.
The Saturday prior to Easter is called “Holy Saturday.” It is historically considered to be the day that Jesus lay in the tomb and is used to reflect on his sacrifice and prepare for the Easter festivities. Most churches hold services on the eve of Easter. Starting in the early church, it was common for ‘new converts’ to the faith to be baptised on this day so that they were able to take their first communion on the Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday is one of the most important holidays in the church. It symbolises remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, implying that death is not the end of our journey. The churches celebrate Easter Sunday with bell ringing, flowers (generally white lilies), and a white and gold colour pallet inside of the church hall. Some churches conduct a sunrise service; some perform their services on a hillside. An Easter vigil is held in which a fire is lighted outside of the church first thing on Sunday morning. A candle called the Paschal Candle is lit from the fire and then carried into the church. A Paschal Candle is covered in small studs that symbolise Christ’s wounds and is used to light the candles of the congregation members. The service is considered to be joyous in comparison to the mourning ceremonies of the previous days.
The Foods of Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday is rich in traditional foods. Breakfast consists of boiled eggs and the exchanging of Easter gifts and cards. Roast lamb with mint sauce is served as the main meal for Easter Sunday. Easter biscuits and custard tarts are the traditional pudding. Tea tends to be a Simnel cake, which is a fruitcake covered with an almond marzipan. Traditionally, eleven balls of marzipan were baked on top of the cake denoting the eleven original disciples. This, of course, excludes Judas as one of the disciples. Easter biscuits contain spices, currants, and occasionally grated lemon rinds. These are sometimes referred to as Easter cakes.
The Traditions of a United Kingdom Easter
Perhaps one of the largest traditions during a UK Easter is the giving of Easter eggs. Chocolate eggs are given to children on Easter Sunday. These can either be hollow or have a filling, such as a cream base, and tend to be wrapped in silver or gold paper. Early Easter gifts were originally birds’ eggs, painted in bright colours and patterns. Some still celebrate Easter with egg painting as a children’s activity. Eggs are a symbol of new life created during the spring and is said to have come from the original pagan traditions surrounding the holiday.
Another egg related tradition involves rolling real eggs down a hill in a race. The winner was the owner of the last un-cracked egg. While this tradition seems to have faded in popularity, it can still be seen in Preston in Lancashire, in the north of England. Some have adopted the tradition of hiding eggs in the garden for children to search for. This has only appeared in the UK as of late, with the adoption of the German-originated Easter Bunny.
Morris dancing can still be seen around the United Kingdom. A form of historical folk dancing dating roughly back to the Middle Ages, Morris dancing is comprised of men costumed in white with ribbons and bells on their ankles who dance through the streets of the villages. This is done to symbolize the arrival of spring. Another, slightly less common tradition is the Maypole dancing. This dates back to before Christianity came to the shores of the UK and is a pagan-based tradition. The Maypole dance includes dancing around a large pole with ribbons. People dance around the pole, while holding the ribbons, in a weaving fashion until the entire pole is swathed in the ribbon. This is meant to celebrate the coming of spring in the original pagan festival.
Celebrations across the UK
Annual Easter egg hunts are conducted at The World of Beatrix Potter in the Peter Rabbit Garden with over 50 eggs hidden and prizes totaling up to $10,000 upon occasion. Prizes do vary by year, but the proceeds go to charity and is a lovely experience for children or adult fans of the beloved Beatrix Potter series.
In Scotland, Floors castle plays host to an annual egg-and-spoon race. The castle, home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, stays closed through the winter, reopening to the public during the spring and summer seasons. Egg-and-spoon races, bunny hop races, face painting, and many other seasonal activities take place in the castle gardens.
The island of Harris in Scotland conducts an egg rolling competition. If your egg makes it to the bottom of the hill unbroken, you are said to have good luck for the remainder of the year.
Good Friday and Easter Monday are considered Bank Holidays with most businesses being closed across the United Kingdom giving most a four day holiday. Easter coincides with a two week holiday for schools and is the most popular time for family vacations.
Easter holiday celebrations are unique to those across the world due to their historical background. A United Kingdom Easter has traditions based not only on Christianity principles but also containing deep rooted pagan customs. Whether you are celebrating Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ or a large Easter bunny leaving behind chocolate and painted eggs, there are plenty of unique celebrations across the country to enjoy over the holiday weekend.Свернуть
30 марта 2015
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is always celebrated on April 1st. It is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends, or sending them on fools errands. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes played on friends or relatives might last the entire day. Even the news media and major companies sometimes get involved. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"
The history of April Fools' Day, sometimes called All Fools' Day, is not clear. There is no first "April Fools' Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar, although it is known to date back at least to the sixteenth century. Most historians believe that April Fool’s Day originated in continental northern Europe and then spread to Britain.
Some popular theories on the origin of April Fools' Day include:
The Gregorian Calendar
Some say that April Fools' Day was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. Prior to that time, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the date of the Christian Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year. The celebration culminated on April 1 and was celebrated in much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night.
In 1563 King Charles IX decreed January 1 to be the first day of the year. Eighteen years later, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the new Gregorian Calendar, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1. Upon moving the official New Year's Day from April 1 to January 1, there were some people who hadn't heard or didn't believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April first. These people were called them "April fools" and often had tricks played on them. They were subject to ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.
Although this is a popular and widespread theory, it is not the only theory for the origin of the holiday, and many of the customs and traditions of the holiday were already well established prior to the calendar change.
The Arrival of Spring
Some believe that the custom is related to the arrival of Spring with the unpredictable and capricious April weather.
Also, the Spring Equinox marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and the new growing and planting season. Many cultures celebrated this time of year with jubilant festivals where people would wear disguises and play pranks on each other. Many historians believe April Fools' Day evolved from some of these festivals.
May Day (May 1)
In many pre-Christian cultures May the 1st (May Day), which falls approximately halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice, was celebrated as the first day of summer. This marked the beginning of the new growing and planting season. Someone who did this prematurely would be called an April Fool.
Today, April Fools' Day has spread around the world, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of friends and families:
United States - Americans play small tricks on friends and strangers alike on the first of April. One common trick is pointing down to a friend's shoe and saying, "Your shoelace is untied."
France - French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their backs. When the young victim discovers this trick, the prankster yells "Poisson d'Avril!" (April Fish!)
England - Tricks can be played only in the morning. If a trick is played on you, you are a "noodle".
Scotland - April Fools' Day is actually celebrated for two days and the custom is known as "hunting the gowk" (the cuckoo), and April fools are "April gowks". 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 – the counterpart of April Fools' 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.
Portugal - April Fools' is celebrated on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. The traditional trick there is to throw flour at your friends.
In Russia, too, they have always respected the good humor and a healthy laughter. In the first warm days (which approximately begin in the beginning of April) the ancient Slavs went out to "scare" the winter away. They dressed in animal skins, wore masks and staged noisy presentations accompanied by laughter. Well, the actual April Fool's Day was first introduced by Peter I. Since then, this unofficial holiday in Russia has been adored both by adults and children. To mark April 1 in Russia means charging with positive emotions for the upcoming year. Perhaps it is only in this country that they treat humor so "seriously" and cannot imagine the holiday without the funny practical jokes. The joke might be kind, funny and even extreme, if you want, but in the end it all should end in laughter with tears (of joy, of course). Besides, on April 1 in Moscow and other Russian cities they arrange various comedy shows and concerts, which are worth visiting in order to experience unforgettable pleasure.Свернуть