Festivals old and new

In Britain, Canada and the USA, in each of the four seasons, people enjoy different festivals and celebrations.

Thousands of years ago the people of Britain were pagans. In their religions, the sun, the moon, the winds, rain, animals and trees were all important, and they had festivals for them. When Christianity came to Britain, the people wanted to keep some of their old festivals, so many lived on, but as Christian festivals.

Hallowe’en, Christmas, Saint Valentine’s Day and Easter are all examples of this. Today, many people (even people who do not usually go to church) celebrate these festivals, and also many other festivals which did start in the church.

Food, family and flowers are an important part of most celebrations. Most people have a big family dinner at Christmas; Canadians and Americans get together at Thanksgiving too. A lot of people give chocolate and other sweets as presents at Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter, and some festivals have special food. Restaurants are very busy on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, and flower shops sell a lot of flowers on these days.

People today often live far away  from their families, so they send greetings cards at special times like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter. The cards say things like: “Thinking of you across the miles”. Post offices and telephones are very busy too.

Times change, and festivals change too. But people have celebrated many of these festivals for hundreds of years - and will still enjoy them in many years’ time.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)

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