Chapter Five: Christmas On 25
December Great Britain and the United States (and many other countries)
celebrate Christmas. The word Christmas comes from the Old English
“Cristes maesse”, Christ’s mass. On this day Christians celebrate the
birth of Christ.
Kindness and giving are the spirit of Christmas. Charles Dickens, the
famous British writer, wrote A Christmas Carol, a story about the true
meaning of Christmas.
Why is Christmas celebrated on 25 December?
Christmas comes from two pagan festivals. People celebrated the winter
solstice on 21 or 22 December. The Roman emperors chose 25 December as
the birthday of the sun (natalis solis).
After the winter solstice, the days become longer and the sun is higher
in the sky. In ancient Rome this was the season of Saturnalia.
Saturnalia was a time of merry making. During Saturnalia the Romans
The pagan tribes of northern Europe enjoyed a 12-day winter festival
called Yule. Yule had its own traditions of Yule cakes, fir trees,
mistletoe and presents. Fir trees and holly are still a symbol of
Today a branch of mistletoe in the house has another meaning: when a boy
and girl meet Under the mistletoe they usually kiss! The custom of
kissing under the mistletoe is an ancient Celtic rite.
Medieval Christmas was a long event. It lasted twelve days like the Yule
festival. Celebrations started on 25 December and ended on the night of
Christmas is the biggest holiday on the American and British calendar.
However, in Scotland, New Year is more important.
In Great Britain and the United States people prepare for Christmas
weeks before 25 December. Cities and towns are beautifully decorated
with Christmas symbols: the Christmas tree, Santa Claus, colorful lights
and much more. Shop windows are full of presents for everyone. People
are busy buying presents. There are Santa Clauses everywhere. On street
corners people sing Christmas carols. In Britain many children go carol
singing with an adult. They go from house to house and sing. They
usually receive money for their singing. They use this money to buy
presents. There is a joyous atmosphere.
Christmas today respects many of the old traditions and has added new
The modern Christmas tree originated in western Germany long ago.
The Germans put up a fir tree in their homes and decorated it with
biscuits and candles.
German settlers took this tradition to North America in the 17th
By the 19th century Christmas trees were very popular in theUnited
In Britain the Christmas tree became popular after 1840. The German
Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, took the Christmas tree to the
British Royal Family. Soon the Christmas tree became popular all over
Great Britain. There is a big tree every year in Trafalgar Square,
澳门微尼斯人手机版，Today America’s most famous Christmas tree is in the Rockefeller
Center,New York City.
The Empire State Building in New York City is one of the tallest
buildings in the world. At Christmas the top of the building is
illuminated with red and green lights!
Today almost every Christian family has a decorated Christmas tree at
home or in the garden. Some families put up the tree on Christmas Eve
and others put it up at the beginning of December. Many families put a
Nativity scene under the Christmas tree. St. Francis of Assisi created
the first Nativity scene in the 1200’s!
Many Americans wear Christmas clothes during the Christmas season.
These are clothes with Christmas colours and symbols.
Christmas crackers are an old tradition. They were invented in London,
Two people pull the cracker until it “bangs” and opens. Inside there is
usually a small present, a paper hat and a joke.
In the United States there are “Christmas shops” in many cities, They
sell all types of Christmas trees, ornaments and other decorations for
the home, “Christmas shops” are open all year long, so you can buy your
Christmas tree in June!
It is usual to send Christmas cards to relatives and friends. The first
Christmas card was designed in Britain by John Callcott Horsley in 1843.
A thousand copies of the card were printed in London. The design was a
family party with the words “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to
In the mid-19th century a shop owner in Albany, New York, made a card
that said, “Christmas greetings from Pease’s Great Variety Store.” This
was the beginning of the big Christmas card industry.
The figure of Santa Claus comes from St. Nicholas, a 4th century
Christian bishop of Asia Minor. He was famous for his generosity and
kindness. The Dutch settlers of New York brought the tradition of
Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) to America.
Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, is an important part of the Christmas
tradition, Children write letters to him and ask for special presents.
Today we see Santa Claus as an old man with a white beard, dressed in a
red suit. He drives a sleigh pulled by reindeer and comes down the
chimney with toys for the children. This image of Santa Claus was
created by the American cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1863.
American and British children put out a stocking on Christmas Eve
because they hope to receive presents from Santa Claus. Then they go to
bed early because they want Santa Claus to come. Many Christians go to
church services at midnight and others go on Christmas morning.
Christmas presents are usually opened on Christmas morning. After
Christmas dinner many families listen to the traditional Queen’s Speech
in Britain and watch special Christmas television programmes. Children
play with their new toys.
In Britain some people go for a Christmas Day swim in the sea or in a
In Hyde Park in London some courageous people swim in the Serpentine!
Chapter Six: New Year’s Eve
威澳门尼斯人www997723，On 31 December everyone celebrates the end of the old year and the
beginning of the new.
In Scotland New Year’s Eve is called Hogmanay. It is the most important
celebration of the year. In Edinburgh there is an immense street
celebration on New Year’s Eve.
In America and Britain many people like going to parties or organising
them in their homes. Some people prefer to celebrate in restaurants or
night clubs. Young people celebrate at home or at a disco. Others go to
masked balls in costumes and masks. Everyone takes off their mask at
Cheers, noise, music, dancing, colourful decorations, festive food and
drink are all part of New Year’s Eve. People like throwing confetti on
the last night of the year. People wear their best party clothes on this
exciting night. At parties everyone wears funny paper hats and blows toy
Parties usually begin after 9 pm and continue until the next morning. At
midnight everyone joins hands and sings the old Scottish song “Auld Lang
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
For the sake of auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear.
For auld lang syne.
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet.
For the sake of auld lang syne.
In New York City a favourite place to go on New Year’s Eve is Times
Square. At midnight the words “Happy New Year” appear on an electronic
sign. Bells and sirens ring, people cheer and there is a lot of noise.
In London many people go to celebrate in Trafalgar Square. Everyone in
Britain waits for Big Ben to strike midnight. Then there is a lot of
People sing “Auld Lang Syne”, kiss each other and cheer.
When we make a lot of noise on New Year’s Eve we are following ancient
traditions. Ancient civilizations made noise to frighten evil spirits of
the past year.
On New Year’s Eve the Americans and the British make New Year’s
resolutions or promises. They promise to get rid of bad habits during
the new year. Some typical children’s resolutions are: “I resolve to do
my homework” or “I resolve to clean my room every day”. Children write
down their New Year’s resolutions, sign their name and give the paper to
Some typical adult’s resolutions are: “I resolve to stop smoking” or “I
resolve to go on a diet “. Most people don’t keep their promises , but a
few do! In some American cities office workers throw their old calendars
out of the office windows on 31 December. They are throwing the old year
away. It is incredible to see so much paper flying about. By 5:30 pm the
streets are covered with office calendars.
At the end of the year astrologists predict the future for all the signs
of the zodiac . Some astrologists predict catastrophic events.
It is said that there was a farmer served a poor boy on a cold windy
Chrismas Eve and gave him a big chrisemas meal. The boy cut a Fir tree’s
branch and inserted it into the earth.He said, “every year this time.
There will be many presents in this branch. I wish I can pay back to
your favor by this beautiful Fir tree. ” After the boy left, the farmer
discovered that the branch had grow up as a big tree. Then he realized
that the boy was an envoy of the god. This is the origin of the chrismas
day. In western countries, Whatever you are, everyone will prepare a
chrismas tree to increase the happiness of the chrismas day.Chrismas
trees are made of evergreen tree like Fir trees and they represent the
long lives.People put candles,flowers,toys,stars on the tree and they
put chrismas present on thetree. On Chrismas Eve,people sing and dance
happily and they enjoy themselves around thetree。
Part Two: The Nightingale’s Sacrifice
In the middle of the garden there was a beautiful rose tree. The
Nightingale flew to the rose tree and said, “Give me a red rose,” she
cried,”and I will sing you my sweetest song.”
“I’m sorry, my roses are white like the snow on the mountain and the
foam of the sea,” he answered. “Ask my brother who grows round the
sundial. Perhaps he can help you.”
The Nightingale flew to the sundial and said to the rose tree, “Give me
a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.”
“I’m sorry, my roses are yellow like the daffodil,” he answered. “Ask my
brother who grows under the Student’s window. Perhaps he can help you.”
The Nightingale flew to the window and asked the rose, “Give me a red
rose,” she cried, “and I will sing you my sweetest song.”
“I’m sorry, my roses are red like the coral in the sea but the winter
was cold and my branches are broken. This year I have no flowers.”
“But I only need one red rose. Is there nothing I can do?”
“There is one thing you can do but I won’t tell you. It is a terrible
“Tell me what it is. I am not afraid,” said the Nightingale.
“If you want a red rose you must build it by moonlight with music and
color it with your own blood. You must sing to me all night and press
your heart against one of my thorns. All night you must sing and your
blood will become my blood.”
“Death is a big price to pay for a rose,” said the Nightingale.
“Everybody likes life. I like life. I like to fly and to look at the
flowers and to smell their perfumes in the wind. But love is better than
life … and the heart of a man is much more important than the heart of
a bird. The Student will have his rose.”
Part Three: The Red Rose
The Nightingale flew back to the garden and saw the student lying on
the grass. His eyes were full of tears. “Be happy,” the bird said. “You
will have your red rose and tomorrow night you will dance with your love
at the Prince’s ball. I will make the rose for you by moonlight, with
music and with my own heart’s blood. I ask you just one thing, you must
promise to be a true lover.”
The Student looked up and listened but he didn’t understand what the
Nightingale was saying: he only understood things in books. But the oak
tree understood and he said, “Sing me your sweetest song, little
I will be sad when you are not here.” The Nightingale sang for the oak
The Student heard the song and said, “Yes, this music is very beautiful
but can a bird really understand love? She sings well but she is like an
artist and everybody knows that artists are not sincere . She thinks
only of music and could never do anything practical to help anybody.” He
got up, went into his house, lay on his bed and slept.
When night came and the moon shone, the Nightingale flew to the rose
tree. She pressed her heart against one of his thorns. All night she
sang her sweetest songs. The cold crystal moon listened and the
Nightingale’s blood slowly left her. At the top of the rose tree a
flower started to grow. First it was pale, silver like the new day. But
the tree cried “Come closer!”
The Nightingale came closer and sang louder, then the rose became pink
like a red rose in a silver mirror.
“Come closer, little Nightingale,” said the rose bush. “Come closer. If
the day will come before the rose is finished.” The Nightingale came
closer and as the thorn pierced her heart she sang of a love that never
dies. She felt a strong pain and her voice became softer and softer.
Finally the rose was ready, a marvelous red rose, red like the eastern
Then the little Nightingale sang her most beautiful final song. The
white moon heard it and she forgot the sun in the East and stayed in the
sky to listen. The red rose heard the song and opened her petals in the
cold morning air. The sleeping shepherds woke up when they heard it and
the river carried its message to the sea. The rose tree heard the song
and cried, “Look, little Nightingale, look. The rose is finished.”
But the Nightingale didn’t hear because she was dead on the grass with
the thorn in her heart.
What is 圣诞节
Christmas Day is the 25th of December, when Christmas is celebrated.
December 25th is Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, many people will have
big parties. They like eating turkey(火鸡), fruits and drinking some
juice for supper. After supper, many people will go out for shopping and
walking (walk) with their children. There are a lot of special things:
Christmas trees, socks, Christmas card and some presents. So in
Christmas Day, all the families are very happy.
Christmas tree is one of the old traditionnal festival. Usually the
people make around the Christmas an evergreen plant,as pine tree , with
Christmas lamp and the colored widget decoration in the room or in the
outdoors, at last,put an angel or the star on the top of the tree.
The modern Christmas tree stems from Germany. The German in every year
December 24, namely Adam and the Eve festival, arranges a fir tree (tree
of the Garden of Eden)at home, hangs the thin biscuit in above, (mark
which the symbolic sacramental wafer Christian makes reparations).In the
modern times,small sweet cake in place of thin biscuit,and also often
add candles which on symbolize of Christ.In addition, the indoor is also
equipped with the Christmas tower, which is a lignin triangle structure,
and has many small frame standards to lay aside the Christ statue. The
tower body plays the part of by the evergreen branches and leaves, the
candle and a star. To the 16th century, the Christmas tower and Garden
of Eden tree merge to a Christmas tree.
This kind of custom was quite popular in the German lutherans follower
during 18th century, but was not popular in the nation until the 19th
century, which becames the German solid tradition.In the early 19th
century, the Christmas tree passed to Britain. In the mid-19th century,
Queen Victoria’s husband, German emperor’s son Albert promoted the
popularization. The Victoria type Christmas tree equipped by the candle,
the candy and the variety cakes and pastries, hangs with the ribbon and
the paper chain on the branch.In the early of the 17th century,the
christmas tree is brought to north america by the German,and be widely
popular in the 19th century,so as in Austria, Switzerland, Poland and
Holland . In China and Japan, the Christmas tree was spread in the 19
and 20th century by the American missionaries, multi-decorations by riot
of color artificial flower.
In the Western country, Christmas day is also a family reunification and
jubilation’s holiday, usually will arrange a Christmas tree at home.In
the West, when whether the Christian, during the Christmas day,everyone
wuold prepare a Christmas tree to increases the holiday the happy
atmosphere. The Christmas tree is generally makes with the cedar cypress
and evergreen tree which symbolic that life exists forever. On the tree
is decorating kinds of lamp candle, the color flower, the toy, the star,
and hangs up each kind of Christmas present. Night of the Christmas, the
people gather round the Christmas tree to sing dance, is heartily happy.
Preparation of the Christmas cake
This was an English tradition which started centuries ago. On Christmas
eve, plum porridge was served to the people. As years passed, various
other things like dry fruits, honey and spices were used. Soon this
porridge got replaced with the Christmas cake. Christmas cakes are made
using eggs, butter, confections, fruits, etc. Today a Christmas cake is
an integral part of a Christmas menu.
Decorating the Christmas tree
This refers to the tradition of decorating a pine tree using lights,
tinsels, garlands, ornaments, candy canes, etc. Today, a Christmas tree
is an indispensable part of Christmas celebration.
Lighting up the Christmas candle
This refers to the tradition of placing a lighted candle outside houses
during the Christmas season. A candle signifies hope as it brings light
even to the darkest room. In the earlier times, when Christians were
persecuted, they were not allowed to practice prayers. Hence, a single
candle used to be placed outside the house as a sign that Christian
prayers were being conducted inside.
Sending gifts to loved ones
This tradition comes from the story of the three wise men who got gifts
for baby Jesus on Christmas. Every Christmas, gifts are exchanged among
loved ones, especially children. The story of Santa Claus also comes
from this tradition.
Singing Christmas carols
It refers to the age-old custom of enchanting a number of traditional
Christmas songs during the Christmas season. It adds to the joy and fun
to the atmosphere. Different Christmas hymns or carols like The First
Noel, Jingle Bells, Joy to the world, etc are sung every Christmas as a
part of the Christmas celebration.
Making of Cribs
This is yet another age-old tradition of Christmas. A crib refers to the
Nativity Scene that is prepared using small statues. The first crib ever
was made outside a church of St. Francis of Assisi for children to show
them how the Nativity scene was like. Since then, this tradition became
Distributing Christmas candies
This is one of the most wonderful traditions of all. Christmas candies
are distributed to neighbors during the Yuletide season. On the day of
Christmas, all misunderstandings and grudges are forgotten and the
community comes together to celebrate the birth of Christ.
These traditions have been carried out for decades, yet they are
celebrated with more and more exuberance each year. The level of
excitement has never gone down. It just keeps getting better and better