The State Opening of Parliament
This is another royal event at the end of November which draws thousands of spectators, who see the Queen on the drive from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament in the State Coach. The public are not admitted to Parliament to see her read the speech from the Throne, prepared for her by the Government. But the State Opening since 1966 is televised. Visitors are admitted to the Public Galleries only by the personal invitation of the members of Parliament.
CHIEF PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN THE UNITED STATES
Each state has its national holidays which are dedicated to the important dates in the establishment and history of the country, interesting customs and traditions all its own.
Americans share some holidays such as Easter, Christmas and New Year's Day with other countries of the world. Here are public holidays which are celebrated only by the Americans.
New Year's Day
Most Americans spend the final hours of the old year and the first hours of the new year celebrating with their families or friends. Champagne — the drink that traditionally symbolizes an important event is often served for the midnight toast on New Year's Eve.
One of the noisiest celebrations takes place on the Times Square in New York City. The crowd, joined by millions of Americans across the country at their TV sets, watch the traditional Huge Apple (emblem of New York) strike midnight.
Americans consider birthdays of their outstanding citizens George Washington and Abraham Lincoln public holidays.
Washington is called "the father of the nation" for he was the first president of the United States of America. The capital of the country, WashingtonD. C., was named in his honour and was moved from Philadelphia.
Abraham Lincoln is considered by many the greatest of all American heroes. During his term as President the Civil War broke out. The most outstanding achievements of the Lincoln presidencywere the preservation of the Union and the abolition of slavery.
This day was first established to honour the dead in the war between the North and the South, a mournful remembrance of the fallen.
This is the most important holiday of the nation, which celebrates Ms birthday. On this day in 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the famous Declaration of Independence declaring the former British colonies free, thus founding the United States of America.
Christopher Columbus, an Italian, discovered the American continents in 1492 by accident, while seeking a short route to Asia. Thus, he called the natives the Indians and the islands he explored, the West Indies which bear these names to this day. This event is widely celebrated in most Latin American countries as well. The District of Columbia was named in his honour as well as many cities, squares and streets.
This day, like Memorial Day, is a solemn occasion in honour of all American veterans of all wars. In many communities veterans march in parades, national flags are displayed, special ceremonies, observing two minute's silence, are held at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
It is the oldest national holiday. The pilgrims, the first English settlers searching for religious freedom, came on May/lower to Plymouth Bay, Massachusetts, in 1620. They suffered a very hard year. By the autumn of the next year assisted by the Indians they had a good harvest. And a feast was given of turkey corn and pumpkin pie to celebrate the harvest and give thanks to God for their survival. The old traditions of their feast are observed throughout the country today.
Christmas is a great American and British festivity, very rich in custom and tradition — with Santa Claus, the decorating of the Christmas tree, of card sending and gift giving. It is celebrated as the birthday of Christ. Now it is becoming more and more a folk holiday. It has always been observed as a family affair.
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