Many of festivals are connected with religion. In English speaking countries and in the czech republic there are most celebrated christian important days. Although not everyone is religion, they celebrate those days because it became a tradition.
In the Czech Republic
The first Monday after the first spring full moon
Easter commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. A celebration is full of fun in Czech Republic. Many traditions are kept especially in villages, and different regions may have their own Easter traditions and customs.
Girls colour the Easter eggs on Sunday or early on Monday mornings. In the Czech Republic people know a lot of decoration techniques. Traditional are red eggs with white bee wax ornaments, but girls also paint it more colourfully, decorate eggs with plants, pictures etc.
Boys braid the willow twigs into the Easter rod (pomlázka) (from pomladit = make younger). On Easter Monday morning they walk to girls’ homes and say some short poems and spank girls, as a reward the boys get some eggs and sweets.
However, after the noon the custom is opposite, girls drench boys with water or perfume. This tradition is unfortunately almost forgotten and boys are rude when the girl spills water on them.
Traditional food is Easter cake (mazanec) and popular Easter lamb (also baked cake, not a meat).
On February 14th it is the Valentine’s Day. It’s the lover’s day. On this day, young people send Valentine card to a person of opposite sex. Their cards are funny and have contents such as „I’ll be your sweetheart and I’ll be your Valentine“. They also give chocolate or roses to their loves.
In an evening of December 5th a lot of people are dressed like St.Nicholas, who walks with the Angel, who represents the Good, and with the Devil representing the Evil. They visit people´s homes and ask children if they were good. Children sing a song or recitate a poem and get some sweets and fruits.
December 24 (Christmas Eve)
On December 24 it is Adam and Eva’s name day.
The Christmas tree is decorated with traditional Czech Christmas ornaments in many households and preparations are made for the most festive dinner of the year, which usually consists of a fish soup, carp with a potato salad, schnicles and vine wurst. On Christmas Eve people do a lot of customs, for example:
Golden piglet- this tradition says that if Czechs don’t eat all day, they would see a golden piglet.
Pouring lead- The lead is poured into water and people foretell future according to the shape of cold lead.
Cutting apples – when people cut the apples in half and the pip looks like a star, they will have lucky year. If it is looks like cross the year will be miserable.
Shoe – girls throw the shoe and if the toe of the shoe faces the door the girl gets married in coming up year.
After dinner, in some families people around the table may sing Christmas carols before moving to the Christmas tree. Presents are placed under the tree. Czech children believe that Christmas gifts are brought by Baby Jesus, who comes into the room through the window to leave the presents there. Unlike Santa Claus, Baby Jesus is abstract figure and no one knows where he lives.
New Year’s Eve
December 31st – this day means the end of the old year and the beginning of the year new. It is celebrated very noisy and hilarious, with a lot of fireworks and alcohol.
In the USA, there are some different customs and also other important days. For example on 24 December they relax and meet their friends and they open present on an evening of the next day. Easter is not very important for them, they go on a mass on sunday. Days before monday they dye and hide eggs and children must find it.
Independence Day – July 4th, this day is the day that commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 by Thirteen American Colonies. It is a day of fire – crackers and fireworks, parties, dresses in national colours, decorated with national flags.
Halloween – October 31 – one whole month before Halloween people have already decorated their houses in the most scary ways with spider webs, coffins, bats, and of course pumpkins. There are big Pumpkin patches all over in October so everybody can get at least one and get ready for the „Trick or treat night“. Children dress up in costumes and go door to door to collect candy.
Thanksgiving Day – the last Thursday in November. Originally it was the day when settlers celebrated their harvest and gave thanks to God for his bounty. In modern times it is the day when whole families get together and enjoy themselves and enjoy good food. There is a turkey on every table so food markets compete to have the lowest price on turkey or some even give away a free turkey.