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Christmas symbols and traditions (Intermediate)

87

Святой для всех людей праздник - Рождество Христово (Christmas) - приходит в ночь с 6 на 7 января. В этот самый важный для христиан день во всех православных церквях проходят богослужения. Рождество считается самым тихим и самым семейным праздником. Обычно за столом собирается вся семья, приглашаются родственники, гости.

Когда-то в давние времена в день Рождества Христова в ваш дом мог войти кто угодно – двери были открыты для всех. Ныне традиции немного изменились, сегодня уже не получится просто так прийти в дом к совершенно незнакомому человек. Хотя есть старинное поверье, что под личиной нищего в дом может войти сам Иисус Христос...

Discuss the following questions:

Do you celebrate Christmas?

Are there any Christmas traditions in your family?

Reading

In the streets a Nativity scene is often arranged. It is the special exhibition which illustrates the story of Jesus' birth using statues or actors and live animals.

Read an article and find out interesting facts about Christmas symbols and traditions

Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus? The original Santa Claus, St. Nicholas, was born in Turkey in the 4th century. He was very pious from an early age, devoting his life to Christianity. He became widely known for his generosity for the poor. But the Romans held him in contempt. He was imprisoned and tortured. But when Constantine became emperor of Rome, he allowed Nicholas to go free. St. Nicholas was noted for his love of children. And for many centuries he is their patron saint. The Dutch kept the legend of St. Nicholas alive. They spelled St. Nicholas as Sint Nikolaas, which became corrupted to Sinterklaas, and finally, in Anglican, to Santa Claus. Until the 1930's he was shown in paintings to look like an ordinary person, but wearing a red cloak. Then in the 1930's the Coca-Cola Company ran an advertisement showing Santa Claus the way we know him now; rather fat and jolly, with his red suit and long white whiskers.

Stockings on the fireplace Do you know why we hang stockings on the fireplace? Once upon a time poor nobleman and his tree daughters lived. The father was depressed as his daughters could not marry without dowries. One night after the daughters had washed out their clothing, they hung their stockings over the fireplace to dry. That night Saint Nicholas, threw three coins down a chimney of the home of three poor sisters. Each of the coins landed inside separate stockings. In modern times the Christmas stocking is often used as a holder of small gifts for children.

A kiss under the mistletoe Two hundred years before the birth of Christ, the Druids used mistletoe to celebrate the coming of winter. They used it to decorate their homes. The Druids believed the plant had special healing powers for everything. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief.

Christmas cards Christmas cards were introduced in Britain in 1 840, with the postal service, and penny stamps. When they first began, Christmas cards showed religious scenes and often had religious text in them. Nowadays, they can have just about any picture on them, for example, winter view, and most do not contain any reference to religion.

Answer the questions:

What was St.Nicholas known for? How does Santa look in Coca Cola advertisement? Where did the story of a stocking on the fireplace come from? What did the Druids use mistletoe for? Are Christmas cards connected with religion?

Listening

Watch the videos on Christmas Day in the UK

English Vocabulary and Pronunciation of Christmas Symbols (Elementary)

20 Bizarre Christmas Traditions From Around The World

7 Strange Christmas Traditions From Around the World

Discuss the following:

Do you hang stockings at your house?

Did you believe in Santa when you were a child?

Do you like exchanging presents at Christmas?

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