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Рождество / Christmas

Every country has its own customs and traditions. And one of the strongest traditions for Christians is Christmas. The Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on the 7th of January and Catholics celebrate it on the 25th of December. English-speaking people love the tradition of celebrating Christmas (or X-mas).

The word "Christmas" comes from the words "Christ's Mass" that is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. This holiday means the beginning of the New Year and the new life.

It is great to walk in the city streets before Christmas. Everywhere you can see slogans "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year".

Christmas Day is the greatest holiday. It is interesting to visit the shops before this holiday. There are a lot of nice Christmas cards and presents there. People like this holiday very much and prepare for it beforehand. They buy presents for each other, try to send Christmas cards for their relatives and friends. In early days Romans gave good luck presents to their friends such as fruit, pastry or gold on New Year's Day. So the tradition of giving presents comes from those times.

For many years in Britain the day to give presents was December 26th and not Christmas Day as it is today. Now we know December 26th as Boxing Day because in the Middle Ages that was the day when the priests opened alms boxes and gave to the poor. Now children hang socks, called Christmas stockings, at the end of their beds and wait for Santa Claus to come down the chimney to bring them presents.

The tradition of giving Christmas cards is not of Christian origin. Various people have claimed to be the inventor of the first Christmas card. William Egley is most likely to be that man. In 1842 he designed his own Christmas card and sent it to one hundred friends of his. Today three billion Christmas cards are sent annually in the United States alone.

English and American people celebrate this holiday with the evergreen tree — Christmas tree. In fact, America adopted the Christmas tree as a tradition earlier than England (in England in was done during Queen Victoria's reign). Now every year on Christmas British people are sent a huge fir tree from Norway which stands in Trafalgar Square, in the centre of London, shining brightly with all its beautiful lights for people who gather on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas tree stands in everybody's living room at Christmas, giving joy and happiness to everybody. There is usually a silver star surrounded by tiny lights on the very top of the tree. Silver bells, tinsel and sparkling lights hang on the branches. Around the base of the tree there are usually the gifts and toys wrapped up in colourful paper. In early pre-Christian times evergreens (trees that stay green all the year round) were seen in Northern Europe as symbols of eternal life. Mistletoe, usually hung up as a Christmas decoration has been a symbol of love and reconciliation. Holly is a well-known Christmas decoration today in America. The legend says that Christ wore a crown of holly thorns before his death.

The traditional dinner on Christmas is a turkey and a pudding.

Перевод некоторых слов:

a custom – обычай, a tradition – традиция, the Orthodox Church – православная церковь, the Catholic Church – католическая церковь, birth – рождение, beforehand – заранее, in early days – в давние времена, the Romans – римляне, good luck presents – подарки, приносящие удачу, pastry – выпечка, Boxing Day – день рождественских подарков (26 декабря; официальный нерабочий день в Британском Содружестве и многих других европейских странах), a priest – священник, alms boxes – коробочки с подаяниями, милостыней, a chimney – труба, an inventor – изобретатель, most likely – наиболее вероятно, a Christmas card – рождественская открытка, in the United States alone – только в США, an evergreen tree – вечно зеленое дерево, Queen Victoria's reign – правление королевы Виктории, Norway – Норвегия, Trafalgar Square – Трафальгар-Сквер, Трафальгарская площадь (в центральной части Лондона; одно из известнейших мест города; здесь проводятся различные митинги и демонстрации; на площади находится памятник адмиралу Нельсону on the very top, tinsel – блёстки, мишура, a branch – ветка, wrapped up – завернутый, eternal life – -вечная жизнь, mistletoe – омела белая, holly – остролист (его вечнозелёными веточками с красными ягодами по традиции украшают дом на Рождество), reconciliation – примирение, a thorn – шип, a turkey – индейка

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