Holidays, traditions, festivals in the UK and CR


Many festivals are connected with religions or pagan traditions. The English word  “Holiday” actually comes from the two words “holy” and “day”. As Holidays started because they were religious days. Nowadays the word is used differently. People use the word “holiday” to refer to any free day, when people do not have to go to work or school.

For example christianity: Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. Easter celebrates death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, All Souls’ Day celebrates the departed souls of the faithful.

History of each country

We also celebrate days that are important to the history of our countries. For example: Independence day, October 28th, May  1st, Jan Hus Day, End of the WW II. – 8th May

Special events

The end of the Year, Birthday of the head of the state

People’s lives

Birthday – the whole family gets together, the honoured person gets presents and flowers, children often have parties with friends.

Name day – only small celebrations, small gifts or just congratulations


There are some International holidays as well. Such as: Teachers’ day, Children’s day, International women’s day.

Holidays in the USA

There are 10 federal or “national” holidays in the USA. There are also couple of other holidays that Americans cerebrate. Some of them are on a fixed date (such as the 4th of July), but the majority of U.S. holidays don’t have specific dates, they are celebrated on a certain day (for example Thanksgiving is always the fourth Thursday of November, but the date can change).

The Americans first holiday is New Year’s Day, which is the 1st of January. New Year’s Day is celebrated much like in other places on the world. The interesting thing is that Disneyworld and Disneyland have fireworks every night but on New Year’s Eve they spend millions of dollars on fireworks.

The next federal holiday on the calendar is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  This not to be confused with Martin Luther, the 15th century monk, who was important in the Protestant Reformation. (He was the person who disagreed with the catholic church. He nailed paper with 95 reasons of his disagreement.) This day is celebrated on the third Monday of January. It remembers a man who worked for equal rights for all races. In the US, most federal holidays don’t have specific dates, but are celebrated on a certain day. That way, states and companies who celebrate it will have a long weekend.

Valentine’s day

Not a Federal Holiday where you get out of school or work.  Valentine’s day is still celebrated in schools and offices all over The United States. It is a lovers’ day. On this day people send Valentine’s cards, usually anonymously, and exchange gifts. Cards usually have a lot of red hearts and pink flowers on the cover and a romantic message inside.

President’s day

Originally Washington’s Birthday. Now it’s celebrates all the presidents of The United States of America.

Memorial day

To Celebrate those who died in military service. Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. It originally honored the people killed in the American Civil War, but has become a day on which the American dead of all wars are remembered.

Independence Day – 4th of July

Independence day  on July the 4th is the birthday of the USA. It celebrates America’s Freedom and Independence from Britain. Each city has it’s own ceremony and parades, bands, concerts and fireworks displays in the evening. This day commemorates the signing of Declaration of Independence in 1776, which was the official founding of the United States of America.

ï On this day people dress in national colors, houses are decorated by national flags

ï in every town (even the smaller ones) there are parades. Sometimes the military joins in, too.

ï every town organizes a fireworks displays. People also set off their own fireworks.

Labor day

It is the first Monday of September. This holiday honors the nation’s working people, typically with parades. For most Americans it marks the end of the summer vacation season and the start of the school year.

Columbus day

It is celebrated on the second Monday in October. The day commemorates October 12, 1492, when Italian navigator Christopher Columbus landed in the New World.


This day started as a celtic tradition. On this day, the Old Celts celebrated the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. Children celebrate it by dressing up in Halloween costumes with masks over their faces. Carrying baskets or bags, they go to their friends´ or their neightbours houses and knock on the door. When people come to the door, the children say „Trick or treat“ which means „Give us a treat or we will play a trick on you“. The people treat the children with sweets, fruit or money. The most common trick is soaping or egging the windows of houses and cars.

Veterans day

Celebrated on November 11th.  It was originally called Armistice Day and was established to honor Americans who had served in World War I. It now honors veterans of all wars in which the U.S. has fought. Veterans‘ organizations hold parades, and the president places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.


is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.  In the autum of 1621, the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Many regard this event as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. Now it is an occasion for the whole family to be together. It is celebrated by a traditional dinner. The Thanksgiving feast became a national tradition and almost always includes some of the foods served at the first feast: roast turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes and pumpkin pie.


Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25th in the USA, and people get their presents on December 25 in the morning

ï It’s the day when we celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth

ï A lot of people decorate trees with colorful ornaments, sweets, silver chains and lights

ï Streets, shops and important buildings are also decorated.


New Year´s Day

is the night of merry-making all over the land, especially in Scotland. They have parties with family and at twelve o’clock they sing songs. In Scotland the first visitor on New Year’s Day brings good luck. They give each other a piece of coal and wish „Lang may your lum reek“ which express the hope that ‘your chimney will smoke for a long time’.

New Year’s Day is a Bank holiday in the U.K.

Saint Patrick’s day 

Commemorates St. Patrick who is the saint patron of Ireland.

ï  On this day everything turns green for e.g. restaurants serves green food people are wearing green clothes

ï millions of three-leafed shamrocks (representing the Holy Trinity) are used for decorations

ï there are parades in some places

Good Friday and Easter Monday

Good Friday (the Friday before Easter) and Easter Monday (the Monday after Easter Sunday) are both bank holidays in the UK.It is a celebration of Christ and the easter bunny depending how relgious each family is. In England children often boil hen’s eggs and paint them with bright colours. Then they have an egg race. They roll the eggs down the hill.

May day

ïMay day is celebrated on the first Monday of may and is a bank holiday in the U.K.

ï May day commerates the spring season.

ï They also have another holiday later in may.

MOTHER’S DAY – 2nd Sunday in May => children give flowers and presents to their mothers

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city. Fringe means ”on the outside” and the music and art presented there are not mainstream.

The BBC Proms

The world’s largest classical music festival. Proms is short for ”Promenade Concerts”. Larget venue (place of perfomance) is Royal Albert Hall.

Guy Fawkes

– the 5th of November – people remember the day in 1605 when a group of people tried to blow up the House of Lords with gunpowder => they were all executed and Guy Fawkes is the most famous of the conspirators => on this day people gather on a field and watch beautiful bonfires to remember the event from the past and and burn a “guy”.

ï Guy is a large doll, made of straw. Children put old clothes and funny masks on the doll. Then they go into the streets and say “penny for the Guy, please”. When they have enough money, they buy lots of fireworks.

ï  The Brits makes jokes and say that Guy Fawkes was last guy in the House of Lords with true intentions


ïChristmas is also a bank holiday in the U.K.

ï The traditional food in Britain is roast turkey with stuffing, roast potatoes, vegetable and sauces and Christmas pudding for desert.

ï in Britain the presents give Father Christmas (live in Lapland)

The Czech Republic

New Year’s Day  – Big celebrations, till the morning, at midnight. New Year’s Toast, fireworks, with family or with friends.  However January 1st has special meaning in the Czech Republic. January 1st marks the start of the independent Czech Republic.


Boys have whips (made from willow branches), water and some sprays and they go from house to house and whip girls with the whips, pour water on them and they usually give painted eggs, sweets, chocolates.

May 1st Labour day/ Lovers day

A day off to celebrate workers. Also celebrates lovers. Lovers kiss under blooming cherry trees.This holiday is like Valentine’s day in English speaking countries.  In Prague we clebrate it by going to Petrin hill and breaking the record of kissing next to satute of Karel Macha.

Liberation day May 8th 

May 8th is a holiday in the Czech Republic that commerates the End of WWII.Prague was liberated on May 8th, 1945.

St. Wenceslas day

The day of Czech statehood. We remember Saint Wenceslas who was killed by his brother on Sept 28. St. Wenceslas was the first Czech ruler to die a martyr.

October 28th Czechslovak state day

Is the day when in 1918 Czechoslovakia came into existence as an independent state, after 300 years of subjugation (them being cotroled by) by the Habsburg dynasty.

28th of October in 1939 a medical student, Jan Opletal, was fatally injured.

1945, Dr. Beneš signed nationalise letters.

1968, Czechoslovakia became a federation of two equal republics.

October 28th celebrates the Independence of The State of Czechoslovakia. Nowadays the President gives honors to people who performed special deeds.

The Velvet Revolution – November 17th

It is freedom and democracy day. November 17th 1939 was the day the Nazis closed Czech Universities and supressed protests violently.

It is also a Student’s Day; students of Universities struggled against nazism, the Nazis closed all the universities in the country and sent thousands of students to concentration camps. Several student leaders were executed and universities were not reopened until after the end of the war.

17th of November, 1989 – it was the beginning of the Velvet Revolution, the fall of communism.

3 Days of Christmas

Christmas Eve December 24th:Christmas Eve is the most festive day of Christmas in the Czech Republic.

Most Czech people spend the day at home with their family, give presents to each other, and enjoy their main Christmas meal.

Christmas day – In the Czech Republic it is not as important as in English speaking countries. The gifts have already been given the night before. In the CR we usually spend time with family on this day.

December 26th – The day is spent with family. St. Stephen’s day – On St. Stephen’s Day, children, students, teachers, and the poor used to go around people’s homes singing Christmas carols. Nowadays, families stay at home and relax or visit relatives and friends to share the special time.

Ke stažení zde: Holidays, traditions in UK, USA and the CR