miércoles, 22 de diciembre de 2010
The last day of the year,New Year' s Eve on 31 December. In America and Great Britain many people go to parties, restaurants or nightclubs. For some parties people wear costumes and masks. At midnight it is traditional to sing the old Scottish song "Auld Lang Syne". This song celebrates friendship. In London lots of people go to Trafalgar Square and wait for the famous bell Big Ben to strike midnight.Some people jump into the fountains! In New York City lots of people go to Times Square. At midnight the words Happy New Year appear on an electronic sign. People cheer and there is a lot of noise. In some American cities office workers throw their old calendars out of the windows on 31 December. They are throwing the old year away. By the evening there is lots of paper in the streets!!!
In Scotland New Year' s Eve is called Hogmanay. It is the most important celebration of the year for Scottish people. In Edinburgh and other cities people celebrate in the streets,and there are concerts and fireworks. This is the time when people make "New Yearś Resolutions". They are promises people make to change habits during the new year. Some typical ones are:"I am going to clean room regularly" or " I am going to do more sport". Most people don not keep their resolutions, but some do !!
Father Christmas or Santa Claus is based on St. Nicholas, who was a Christian bishop in the fourth century. He was famous because he was generous and kind. People started giving presents on his day in the Christian calendar,6 December. Gradually this custom of giving presents moved to Christmas. But in England it was Father Christmas. In the 18th century Dutch settlers took the tradition of Sinterlaaas ("saint Nicholas" in Dutch) to New York. The pronunciation of "Sinterlass" gradually became "Santa Claus", and Santa Claus and Father Christmas became the same person.
The American cartoonist Thomas Nast created the modern image of Santa Claus in 1863. He is a happy old man with a white beard, wearing a red suit. He drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer, and comes down the chimney with toys for children.Before American and British children go to bed on Christmas Eve, they leave mince pies,biscuits and something to drink for Father Christmas. They also leave a Christmas stocking, where Father Christmas puts their presents.