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American Holidays and Special Days

2006-07-09 16:09

  January 1 is New Year's Day. The night before is called New Year's Eve. On this night, people gather for parties as they wait for the new year to begin after 12 p.m…… On New Year's Day, families enjoy watching university football games to find the national champion. Martin Luther King Day is on the 3rd Monday in January. This famous black American gave the speech, “I Have a Dream.”This speech is important for it is about all races in America being equal.

  February 14 is Valentine's Day. A valentine is a very colorful card given to a lover. Gifts are given to the person they love, often flowers for women and a tie or book for a man. February 12(Abraham Lincoln's birthday) and February 22 (George Washington's birthday) are celebrated together on the Monday between these two days. It is called President's Day.

  March 17 is Saint Patrick's Day. Patrick was the Italian priest who brought Christian teachings to Ireland and Europe. On this day, school students must wear green, the color of Ireland. If they do not, they can be pinched by their classmates. At the end of March, schools give students a one-week holiday called Spring Vacation.

  April is the month of the Jewish Passover where the Jewish people escaped from Egypt where they were held as slaves. Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal equinox. The holiday has many traditions. It celebrates the end of Jesus' life called the Resurrection. Children color-boiled eggs brought by the Easter bunny. Women wear a new colorful dress or an Easter hat. On the fourth Wednesday, there is Secretaries Day when workers bring flowers or candy to secretaries.

  May is known for Mother's Day on the second Sunday. It is the best day for restaurants in America as mothers are guests for a dinner paid for by the father or married children. The last holiday is Memorial Day when families go to cemeteries to honor ancestors.

  June is known for Father's Day on the third Sunday. This time the father is the honored person for the day.

  July has the most important political holiday called Independence Day. It is always on July 4 and Americans remember the same day in 1776 when America won the war against England. The Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson was an important paper at this time. Chinese firecrackers and colorful rockets are important in this celebration every year.

  August has no important holidays. Parents spend much money on school clothes so children are interested in shopping at this time. Pencils, pens, notebooks, backpacks, and a colorful lunch box are necessary for all children.

  September honors all workers on Labor Day on the first Monday. The weather is very good everywhere so many businesses invite their workers to have a picnic at a park. The children play many games together. The parents bring a lunch of fried chicken, brown beans, potatoes, fruit (apples, oranges or bananas), drink (milk, fruit juice, or a soft drink) and cookies, pies, or cakes. It is a wonderful family time each year.

  October 31 is Halloween. This holiday is for children to dress in costumes that look very scary. They often dress as witches, ghosts, or other characters. Some wear masks of important people like movie stars or presidents. They go to each house and ask for candy by saying “Trick or Treat”。 Every family gives candy as a treat, but if they do not, the children might do a trick like putting soap on window or letting air out of a tire.

  November has Veteran's Day on November 11 to honor soldiers. The fourth Thursday is Thanksgiving, a time to remember the first Americans who survived a hard winter. Local Indians brought them food and they gave thanks to God for the harvest season. Now families give thanks to God for many things.

  December has Christmas on December 25. This is the best family holiday, similar to the Spring Festival in China. It remembers the birth of Jusus Christ. Many gifts are given to each family member. The music of this season is the best of the year. All the houses are decorated inside and outside with beautiful colored lights. A Christmas tree is the center of attention in the living room.

  Notes:

  1. champion n. 冠军

  2. valentine n. 情人节送给情人的礼物

  3. resurrection n. 复活

  4. cemetery n. 公墓

  5. declaration n. 宣言

  6. firecracker n. 鞭炮

  7. costume 服装

  8. witch n. 女巫

  9. veteran n. 老兵

  10. survive vt. 幸免于……;比……活得长

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