Although Great Britain and the U.S. have the English language in common, they are two unique nations with different cultures, government systems, and traditions. Holidays and celebrations also vary between the two countries. Even Christmas and other Christian holidays, although celebrated by both countries, have some key differences. New Year
* New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are celebrated by both Great Britain and the U.S. on December 31 and January 1 every year. According to ProjectBritain.com, it wasn’t until 2000 that fireworks were used in Great Britain to celebrate the holiday, although this tradition has been long-established in the U.S. In the U.S., 10 seconds before midnight, a countdown from 10 to one takes place, and it’s traditional to kiss loved ones at midnight. In Great Britain, at the stroke of midnight, it’s traditional to open the back door, letting the old year out, and to ask the first dark-haired man who’s spotted to bring salt, coal, and bread through the front door. These represent, respectively, money, warmth and food, meaning that the new year will bring a sufficient amount of these. In both countries, a New Year parade takes place on New Year’s Day: the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, California in the U.S. and the New Year’s Day Parade in London, England, which starts when the famous Big Ben clock strikes noon. Easter
The Christian holiday of Easter is celebrated by both Americans and British by decorating eggs, visits from the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. Great Britain has additional, popular Easter customs, such as egg rolling: rolling hard-boiled eggs down hills in a competition. Autumn Holidays
* The differences between American and British holidays is especially evident during the autumn, although both countries celebrate Halloween in the same way, by dressing up in costumes, bobbing for apples, and going trick-or-treating. Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in Great Britain. Americans observe this holiday with a great feast on the fourth Thursday of November. The British celebrate Guy Fawkes Day on November 5 in remembrance of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, a plan by Guy Fawkes and others to blow up the Houses of Parliament to protest the fact that King James didn’t change Queen Elizabeth I’s anti-Catholic laws. Today the holiday is commemorated by fireworks and burning Guy Fawkes effigies on bonfires. Christmas and Boxing Day
* According to LearnEnglish.de, the British place less importance on Christmas Eve than other countries. Instead, they pay more attention to Christmas Day and Boxing Day. In both the U.S. and Britain, Santa or Father Christmas comes at night; American children leave milk and cookies for him, whereas British children leave mince pies and sherry or milk. Some traditional British Christmas Eve activities include singing Christmas carols, attending midnight church services, and going out to a pub. In the U.S., Christmas Eve is celebrated in many ways, such as by opening one present each, singing Christmas carols, attending midnight mass, or eating a special dinner.
In both countries, Christmas Day is celebrated by opening presents in the morning and eating a turkey dinner, although other entrees are also popular in the U.S., such as crown roast. In Britain, it’s traditional for Queen Elizabeth to broadcast a message on Christmas Day. Boxing Day, which is celebrated on December 26 in Britain, is the time to give gifts to friends, servants, and tradespeople. It has become a big shopping holiday in Britain, similar to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, in the U.S. Boxing Day isn’t observed by Americans.
Holy Cross (Khachverats)Observed on:September13 The Armenian Church celebrates this holiday on the Sunday nearest September 14, which is devoted to the Holy Cross (Surb Khach). This holiday also serves as a memorial to those who have passed away.| Holy Translators Day (Targmanchats ton)Observed on: October 13 This holiday is dedicated to the creators of Armenian alphabet Mesrop Mashtots and Sahak Partev, Translators and Interpreters of the Bible. The Armenian alphabet was invented in order to translate the Bible into Armenian and paved the way for the first Golden Age of Armenia. Over the centuries, Armenian writers, philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists, have taken inspiration from the Holy Translators’ legacy to achieve excellence in scholarship, creativity, and world acclaim in spite of long periods of devastation, attack, conquest and subjugation. | Purification (Trndez)
Observed on: February 14 According to religious custom this holiday is connected with the idea of coming forward to the Lord with fire, after 40 days of his birth. The Armenian Church celebrates it on February 14th – 40 days after January 6th, from which it derives the religious name: coming forward to the Lord. The main ceremony of it is a bonfire, symbolizing the coming of spring. The Transfiguration (Vardavar (The feast of water))
Observed on: July 19 In the traditional Armenian range of holidays, the Transfiguration is the major summer holiday and is celebrated 14 weeks after Easter. In pre-Christian Armenia this holiday was associated with the pagan goddess Anahit, to whose heathen temple the young and the old went on pilgrimage. The word Vardavar has two meanings: “the flaming of the rose and “to sprinkle with water. According to legend, the goddess Astghik spread love through the Armenian land by sprinkling rosy water and presenting roses. The god Vahagn kept and protected that love, constantly fighting against evil. This feast was transformed after the adoption of Christianity. On Vardavar in modern times, everybody pours water on one another, starting in the early morning; no one is allowed to feel offended or displeased by mischief on that day.