1) Listen to the three speakers talking about celebrating holidays. What holidays and celebrations are they talking about? (listening for the main idea)
2) Who supports the idea of celebrating holidays?
I think traditional celebrations are very important for us. Some holidays make families get together around the table and ask each other “How have you been?”. There are holidays and celebrations we can’t do without. There are traditions that are connected with some celebrations in my family. For example, in my family it is a tradition to celebrate birthdays. In Britain many grown-ups don’t celebrate their birthdays but we do. It’s great to buy a gift for mum or dad, isn’t it? My sister and I always think a lot about what to choose and there we go to big shops and buy something. I like choosing a gift. We can’t buy expensive gifts; but we always buy something funny or make gifts with our own hands. I like the atmosphere of a birthday party: for one day each of us becomes the very important person and the gifts make us think of the day again and again.
I don’t understand the use of celebrating a holiday only because it is a tradition. For me any holiday is just a day when I don’t go to school. I think it is not important what Guy Fawkes did in 1605. It was a long time ago! And I am not interested in what evil ghosts do on Halloween.* More than that, I don’t believe in ghosts. I think that many public occasions are for tourists. For example, the State Opening of Parliament.* Many tourists come down to London to set these ceremonies and I am sure that London shops benefit greatly from them, don’t they? A lot of money is spent or useless occasions instead of giving it to charities. I won’t spend time on celebrations. I like playing sports and for me taking part in sports is the best tradition.
Jessica Boyd, 16
I think that national holidays are the days, that unite people, for example Independence Day* in my country. It is really the day that unites the nation. It includes everything: family dinners and public parades, shows and games, sports and illuminations. The famous fireworks are so beautiful that they make people say “ooohhh” and “aaahhh”. It is really a joyful day. I like holidays that have a long history like Flag Day* or Thanksgiving Day.* They connect us with the past that we shouldn’t forget.
3) Which of these phrases might the young people say about holidays and celebrations? Choose and prove it from the texts.
a) I can’t do without celebrations.
b) I like family celebrations.
c) It’s a tradition to celebrate birthdays in Britain.
d) My sister and I like choosing gifts.
e) Gifts are very important for me.
a) I don’t think it’s important to follow traditions.
b) I think that only tourists are interested in public occasions.
c) I think it’s better to help charities than to spend money on parades and fireworks.
d) Playing sports is more exciting than celebrating holidays.
a) All Americans celebrate Independence Day every year.
b) Americans enjoy colourful parades and fireworks on Independence Day.
c) Flag Day is my favourite celebration.