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Some Facts About Britain

SCHOOL-LEAVING AGE
Children have to stay at school until the age of 16. There is no upper age limit.


ALCOHOL
You have to be 18 to buy alcohol in a shop or a pub, but if you are 16 and you are having a meal in a pub, you can drink beer or wine with it.


PROSECUTION
In Scotland, you can be prosecuted for a crime at the age of 8. In England and Wales, the age is 10. You can't be sent to prison until you are 21.

Windsor

Windsor Castle is English history in a nutshell, and what a majestic nutshell it is! The site has been the official residence of kings and queens from William the Conqueror to the present day. Royals have been born, married and buried in the castle.
Windsor Castle began its life as a wooden fort built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, and later kings and queens had a hand in its evolution. Henry II pulled down the wooden buildings and rebuilt it in stone. George IV turned it into a palace. In 1917, King George V chose the castle's name as the Royal Family's, replacing the old one, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. From that time, the name of the monarchy would be the House of Windsor.

Some facts about Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles is the largest city in the state of California and the second most populous city in the United States. The Los Angeles area, which includes the city itself and its suburbs, has a population of 13.6 million.
  • Los Angeles's nicknames are LA and the City of Angels. Some people also call it 'La-La Land' because they think the city is full of strange and crazy people.
  • The inhabitants of Los Angeles are called Angelenos.

16 February 2010

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Participating once in an exchange program in the United States I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to stay with and be part of an American family for the whole year. What amazing and unforgettable time it was! That was a unique chance for me to get an inside look at traditions of the country and experience the life style of an average American family. All events were memorable for me in one way or another, but Christmas was the best of all. In Russia I watched a lot of movies about Christmas secretly feeling a little jealous of all the nice traditions American people have.

Christmas, as it goes in one of the popular American songs, “is the most wonderful time of the year”. Streets, buildings, trees are illuminated with lots of colored lights, everywhere you go you hear merry tunes of the well-known Christmas carols that create an atmosphere of joy and happiness.
Americans like a lot to decorate their houses and front yards trying to outbid their neighbors in the amount of ornaments, originality and cost of the design. On trees they place garlands of hundreds little twinkling lights and stars, the more the better. They erect giant snowmen and Santas, lighted reindeers with sleighs, they also arrange nativity scenes showing the baby Christ lying in manger and Mary, Joseph and wise men around Him.

Easter Celebrations in England: Easter, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday

The previous part of the story about Easter is here.

Easter is the time for holidays, festivals and a time for giving chocolate Easter eggs. But Easter means much more. It is the oldest and the most important Christian Festival, the celebration of the death and coming to life again of Jesus Christ. For Christians, the dawn of Easter Sunday with its message of new life is the high point of the year.

The story

Easter is the story of Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem before his death. The Easter story includes Maundy Thursday (the Last supper leading to the Eucharist), Good Friday (the day on which Jesus was crucified) and Easter Sunday (the day on which Jesus came back to life).

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Participating once in an exchange program in the United States I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to stay with and be part of an American family for the whole year. What amazing and unforgettable time it was! That was a unique chance for me to get an inside look at traditions of the country and experience the life style of an average American family. All events were memorable for me in one way or another, but Christmas was the best of all. In Russia I watched a lot of movies about Christmas secretly feeling a little jealous of all the nice traditions American people have.

Christmas, as it goes in one of the popular American songs, “is the most wonderful time of the year”. Streets, buildings, trees are illuminated with lots of colored lights, everywhere you go you hear merry tunes of the well-known Christmas carols that create an atmosphere of joy and happiness.

Easter Celebrations in England: Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Mothering Sunday

Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day)

 

Shrove Tuesday is one of the moveable feasts in the church calendar and is directly related to the date on which Easter falls. Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before to Easter Sunday, so the date varies from year to year and falls between February 3 and March 9. Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it’s the last day before Lent.

 

April Fool’s Day

April 1st: This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three-hundred and sixty-four.
Mark Twain

April Fool’s Day or All Fools’ Day, though not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.

Superstitions

Traditionally, pranks are supposed to be performed before noon. Those done afterwards are supposed to bring bad luck to the perpetrator. This limitation is not, however, universally adhered to since it is believed to have been contrived by annoyed parents and school teachers wanting a respite from the day of pranks, as well as since many of the hoaxes listed below first appeared after noon. Anyone who fails to respond in the proper spirit of tolerance and amusement to the tricks played on them is also said to be liable to suffer bad luck. It is (unreliably) said that being fooled by a pretty girl will be compensated by marriage to, or at least friendship with her. Another superstition is that marriage on April Fool’s Day is not a good idea for a man, for he will be permanently ruled by his wife. It is furthermore believed that children born on this day will experience good luck in most matters, but will only meet with disaster when it comes to gambling.

Valentine ’s Day

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window
To be your Valentine.

William Shakespeare
from “Hamlet”, Act IV, Scene V

Valentine’s Day falls on February 14, and is the traditional day on which lovers in certain cultures let each other know about their love, commonly by sending valentine’s cards, which are often anonymous. The history of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to an obscure Catholic Church feast day, said to be in honor of Saint Valentine. The day’s associations with romantic love arrived after the High Middle Ages.

The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of “valentines”. Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Starting in the 19th century, the practice of hand writing notes has largely given way to the exchange of mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that, world-wide, approximately one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association also estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

About Christmas. Part 2.

In the second part of the Christmas story we'll talk about: gift receipt, gingerbread house kit, holiday return policy and rose bowl.

Gift Receipt.

When you buy something as a gift for your nearest and dearest, you may ask for a Gift Receipt. Very often during holiday time (Christmas, St Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving), you will be offered such a Gift Receipt without asking for it. In case your relatives or friends do not like the gift, they can go to the store with the Gift Receipt and return it for money. As a rule, the price of the gift is not indicated on the Gift Receipt. On this receipt you can only find the name of the store and code or number of the purchased item.

Gingerbread House Kit.

It is a set of gingerbread cookies of various shapes and sizes. They can be assembled into a beautiful and eatable Christmas decoration. You can build a house using the elements included in the Gingerbread House Kit. You can put up a fence from cookies around the gingerbread house; plant tiny Christmas trees covered with snowflakes. You may put rabbits and gingerbread men under the Christmas trees. The gingerbread house and everything that surrounds it should be together with special white icing sugar which you will find in the Gingerbread House Kit. Included in the Kit is also a special platform or a building tray, where you should place this eatable Christmas decoration consisting of the house and its surroundings. The Kit also includes assorted candies: multicolored lollipops, gumballs, mini jellies, sprinkles, candy canes and the like intended for decorating this work of culinary art. “Create a treat!” — is written on the box with Gingerbread House Kit. This easyto- build kit contains everything you need to build your own gingerbread house. Very often it contains tasty cookie figures: snowmen, ginger kids, animals and trees and one bag pre-made icing. Traditionally, a Gingerbread House is assembled and decorated by all members of the family. It goes without saying that children participate in this magic process with joy and excitement.

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