romans put a priest
St. Valentines Day has roots in several different legends that have found their way to us through the ages. One of the earliest popular symbols of the day is Cupid（爱神丘比特）, the Roman god of love, who is represented by the image of a young boy with bow and arrow.
Three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, the Roman emperors still demanded that everyone believe in the Roman gods. Valentine, a Christian priest, had been thrown in prison for his teachings. On February 14, Valentine was beheaded首）, not only because he was a Christian, but also because he had performed a miracle. He supposedly cured the jailers daughter of her blindness. The night before he was executed, he wrote the jailers daughter a farewell letter, signing it "From Your Valentine." Another legend tells us that this same Valentine, well-loved by all, received notes to his jail cell from children and friends who missed him.
Another Valentine was an Italian bishop who lived at about the same time, AD 200. He was imprisoned because he secretly married couples, contrary to the laws of the Roman emperor. Some legends say he was burned at the stake.
February 14 was also a Roman holiday, held in honor of a goddess. Young men randomly chose the name of a young girl to escort to the festivities. The custom of choosing a sweetheart on this date spread through Europe in the Middle Ages, and then to the early American colonies. Throughout the ages, people also believed that birds picked their mates on February 14!
In AD 496 Sain Pope Gelasius I named February 14 as "Valentines Day". Although its not an official holiday, most Americans observe this day.
Whatever the odd mixture of origins, St. Valentines Day is now a day for sweethearts. It is the day that you show your friend or loved one that you care. You can send candy to someone you think is special. Or you can send roses, the flower of love. Most people send "valentines," a greeting card named after the notes that St. Valentine received in jail. Valentines can be sentimental, romantic and heartfelt（真心真意的）. They can be funny and friendly. If the sender is shy, valentines can be anonymous.
Americans of all ages love to send and receive valentines. Handmade valentines created by cutting hearts out of colored paper, show that a lot of thought was put into making them personal. Valentines can be heart-shaped, or have hearts, the symbol of love, on them. In elementary schools children make valentines for their classmates and put them in a large decorated box, similar to a mailbox. On February 14, the teacher opens the box and distributes the valentines to each student. After the students read their valentines they have a small party with refreshments.
For teenagers and adults, major newspapers throughout the country have a Valentines Day offer. Anyone can send in a message, for a small fee of course, destined for a would-be sweetheart, a good friend, an acquaintance or even a spouse of fifty years. The message is printed in a special section of the newspaper on February 14.
关于万圣节有这样一个故事。是说有一个叫杰克的爱尔半兰人，因为他对钱特别的吝啬，就不允许他进入天堂，而被打入地狱。但是在那里他老是捉弄魔鬼撒旦，所以被踢出地狱，罚他提着灯笼永远在人世里行走。 在十月三十一日爱尔兰的孩子们用土豆和罗卜制作“杰克的灯笼”，他们把中间挖掉、表面上打洞并在里边点上蜡烛。为村里庆祝督伊德神的万圣节，孩子们提着这种灯笼挨家挨户乞计食物。?这种灯笼的爱尔兰名字是“拿灯笼的杰克”或者“杰克的灯笼”，缩写为Jack-o-lantern ?在拼写为jack-o-lantern。 现在你在大多数书里读到的万圣节只是孩子们开心的夜晚。在小学校里，万圣节是每年十月份开始庆祝的。 孩子们会制作万圣节的装饰品：各种各样桔红色的南瓜灯。你可以用黑色的纸做一个可怕的造形??一个骑在扫帚把上戴著尖尖帽子的女巫飞过天空，或者是黑蝙蝠飞过月亮。这些都代表恶运。当然黑猫代表运气更差。有时候会出现黑猫骑在女巫扫帚后面飞向天空的造形。 在万圣节的晚上，我们都穿着爸爸妈妈的旧衣服和旧鞋子，戴上面具，打算外出。比我们小的孩子必须和他们的母亲一块出去，我们大一点的就一起哄到领居家，按他们的门铃并大声喊道：“恶作剧还是招待！”意思是给我们吃的，要不我们就捉弄你。里边的人们应该出?评价我们的化装。 “噢！这是鬼，那是女巫，这是个老太婆。” 有时候他们会跟我们一起玩，假装被鬼或者女巫吓着了。但是他们通常会带一些糖果或者苹果放进我们的“恶作剧还是招待”的口袋里。可是要是没人回答门铃或者是有人把我们赶开该怎么办呢？我们就捉弄他们，通常是拿一块肥皂把他们的玻璃涂得乱七八糟。然后我们回家，数数谁的糖果最多。 还有一个典型的万圣节花招是把一卷手纸拉开，不停地往树上扔，直到树全被白纸裹起?。除非下大雪或大雨把纸冲掉，纸会一直呆在树上。这并不造成真正的伤害，只是把树和院子搞乱，一种万圣节的恶作剧。 HALLOWEEN One story about Jack, an Irishman, who was not allowed into Heaven because he was stingy with his money. So he was sent to hell. But down there he played tricks on the Devil (Satan), so he was kicked out of Hell and made to walk the earth forever carrying a lantern. Well, Irish children made Jacks lanterns on October 31st from a large potato or turnip, hollowed out with the sides having holes and lit by little candles inside. And Irish children would carry them as they went from house to house begging for food for the village Halloween festival that honored the Druid god Muck Olla. The Irish name for these lanterns was "Jack with the lantern" or "Jack of the lantern," abbreviated as " Jack-o-lantern" and now spelled "jack-o-lantern." The traditional Halloween you can read about in most books was just childrens fun night. Halloween celebrations would start in October in every elementary school. Children would make Halloween decorations, all kinds of orange-paper jack-o-lanterns. And from black paper youd cut "scary" designs ---an evil witch with a pointed hat riding through the sky on a broomstick, maybe with black bats flying across the moon, and that meant bad luck. And of course black cats for more bad luck. Sometimes a black cat would ride away into the sky on the back of the witchs broom. And on Halloween night wed dress up in Mom or Dads old shoes and clothes, put on a mask, and be ready to go outside. The little kids (children younger than we were) had to go with their mothers, but we older ones went together to neighbors houses, ringing their doorbell and yelling, "Trick or treat!" meaning, "Give us a treat (something to eat) or well play a trick on you!" The people inside were supposed to come to the door and comment on our costumes. Oh! heres a ghost. Oh, theres a witch. Oh, heres an old lady. Sometimes they would play along with us and pretend to be scared by some ghost or witch. But they would always have some candy and maybe an apple to put in our "trick or treat bags." But what if no one come to the door, or if someone chased us away? Then wed play a trick on them, usually taking a piece of soap and make marks on their windows. .And afterwards we would go home and count who got the most candy. One popular teen-agers Halloween trick was to unroll a roll of toilet paper and throw it high into a tree again and again until the tree was all wrapped in the white paper. The paper would often stay in the tree for weeks until a heavy snow or rain washed it off. No real harm done, but it made a big mess of both the tree and the yard under it. One kind of Halloween mischief.
A Sunday between March 22 and April 25
The meaning of many different customs observed during Easter Sunday have been buried with time. Their origins lie in pre-Christian religions and Christianity. All in some way or another are a "salute to spring," marking re-birth. The white Easter lily has come to capture the glory of the holiday. The word "Easter" is named after Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A festival was held in her honor every year at the vernal equinox （春分）.
People celebrate the holiday according to their beliefs and their religious denominations （命名）. Christians commemorate Good Friday as the day that Jesus Christ died and Easter Sunday as the day that He was resurrected （复活）. Protestant settlers brought the custom of a sunrise service, a religious gathering at dawn, to the United States.
This year Easter will be celebrated on Sunday April 11, 2004. On Easter Sunday children wake up to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of candy. He has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week. Children hunt for the eggs all around the house. Neighborhoods and organizations hold Easter egg hunts, and the child who finds the most eggs wins a prize.
The Easter Bunny is a rabbit-spirit. Long ago, he was called the" Easter Hare." Hares and rabbits have frequent multiple births so they became a symbol of fertility. The custom of an Easter egg hunt began because children believed that hares laid eggs in the grass. The Romans believed that "All life comes from an egg." Christians consider eggs to be "the seed of life" and so they are symbolic of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Why we dye, or color, and decorate eggs is not certain. In ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia eggs were dyed for spring festivals. In medieval Europe, beautifully decorated eggs were given as gifts.
In England, Germany and some other countries, children rolled eggs down hills on Easter morning, a game which has been connected to the rolling away of the rock from Jesus Christs tomb when he was resurrected. British settlers brought this custom to the New World.
In the United States in the early nineteenth century, Dolly Madison, the wife of the fourth American President, organized an egg roll in Washington, D.C. She had been told that Egyptian children used to roll eggs against the pyramids so she invited the children of Washington to roll hard-boiled eggs down the hilly lawn of the new Capitol building! The custom continued, except for the years during the Civil War. In 1880, the First Lady invited children to the White House for the Egg Roll because officials had complained that they were ruining the Capitol lawn. It has been held there ever since then, only canceled during times of war. The event has grown, and today Easter Monday is the only day of the year when tourists are allowed to wander over the White House lawn. The wife of the President sponsors it for the children of the entire country. The egg rolling event is open to children twelve years old and under. Adults are allowed only when accompanied by children!
Traditionally, many celebrants （司仪神父） bought new clothes for Easter which they wore to church. After church services, everyone went for a walk around the town. This led to the American custom of Easter parades all over the country. Perhaps the most famous is along Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Good Friday is a federal holiday in 16 states and many schools and businesses throughout the U.S. are closed on this Friday.
Now I would like to give you some details about Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Thanksgiving Day is the most truly American of the national Holidays in the United States and is most closely connected with the earliest history of the country.
In 1620, the settlers, or Pilgrims, they sailed to America on the May flower, seeking a place where they could have freedom of worship. After a tempestuous two-month voyage they landed at in icy November, what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts.
During their first winter, over half of the settlers died of starvation or epidemics. Those who survived began sowing in the first spring.
All summer long they waited for the harvests with great anxiety, knowing that their lives and the future existence of the colony depended on the coming harvest.Finally the fields produced a yield rich beyond expectations. And therefore it was decided that a day of thanksgiving to the Lord be fixed. Years later, President of the United States proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day every year. The celebration of Thanksgiving Day has been observed on that date until today.
The pattern of the Thanksgiving celebration has never changed through the years. The big family dinner is planned months ahead. On the dinner table, people will find apples, oranges, chestnuts, walnuts and grapes.There will be plum pudding, mince pie, other varieties of food and cranberry juice and squash. The best and most attractive among them are roast turkey and pumpkin pie. They have been the most traditional and favorite food on Thanksgiving Day throughout the years.
Everyone agrees the dinner must be built around roast turkey stuffed with a bread dressing to absorb the tasty juices as it roasts. But as cooking varies with families and with the regions where one lives, it is not easy to get a consensus on the precise kind of stuffing for the royal bird.Thanksgiving today is, in every sense, a national annual holiday on which Americans of all faiths and backgrounds join in to express their thanks for the year s bounty and reverently ask for continued blessings.The Origin of Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is now popularly known as the Spring Festival because it starts from the Begining of Spring (the first of the twenty-four terms in coodination with the changes of Nature). Its origin is too old to be traced. Several explanations are hanging around. All agree, however, that the word Nian, which in modern Chinese solely means "year", was originally the name of a monster beast that started to prey on people the night before the beginning of a new year.
One legend goes that the beast Nian had a very big mouth that would swallow a great many people with one bite. People were very scared. One day, an old man came to their rescue, offering to subdue Nian. To Nian he said, "I hear say that you are very capable, but can you swallow the other beasts of prey on earth instead of people who are by no means of your worthy opponents?" So, it did swallow many of the beasts of prey on earth that also harrassed people and their domestic animals from time to time.
After that, the old man disappeared riding the beast Nian. He turned out to be an immortal god. Now that Nian is gone and other beasts of prey are also scared into forests, people begin to enjoy their peaceful life. Before the old man left, he had told people to put up red paper decorations on their windows and doors at each years end to scare away Nian in case it sneaked back again, because red is the color the beast feared the most.
From then on, the tradition of observing the conquest of Nian is carried on from generation to generation. The term "Guo Nian", which may mean "Survive the Nian" becomes today "Celebrate the (New) Year" as the word "guo" in Chinese having both the meaning of "pass-over" and "observe". The custom of putting up red paper and firing fire-crackers to scare away Nian should it have a chance to run loose is still around. However, people today have long forgotten why they are doing all this, except that they feel the color and the sound add to the excitement of the celebration.