Традиции и обычаи Великобритании

St.Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day


Saint Patrick is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. St Patrick is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works; the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation /dɪˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃən/ осуждение of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.

According to different versions of his life story it is said that he was born in Britain, around 385AD. His parents Calpurnius and Conchessa were Roman citizens living in either Scotland or Wales. As a boy of 14 he was captured and taken to Ireland where he spent six years in slavery herding sheep. He returned to Ireland in his 30s as a missionary among the Celtic pagans.

Many people ask the question «Why is the Shamrock the National Flower of Ireland?» The reason is that St. Patrick used it to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans. Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

In the custom known as “drowning the shamrock”, the shamrock that has been worn on a lapel or hat is put in the last drink of the evening.

Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been – the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the “Holy Wells” that still bear this name.

There are several accounts of Saint Patrick’s death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city.

St. Patrick’s Day Facts

  • Patrick’s Day is observed on the 17th of March and it celebrates St Patrick who is said to have died on that date.
  • In Ireland people wear small bunches of shamrocks on their clothes to celebrate the holiday. Children wear orange, white and green badges, and women wear green ribbons.
  • The Irish flag is green, orange and white.
  • Four-leaf clovers are considered to be lucky. Each leaf means something: hope, faith, love and luck.
  • There are 10, 000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover.
  • The traditional symbols for St. Patrick’s Day are the shamrock, leprechauns, a harp /hɑːp/арфа, green, the Celtic cross, and the Blarney Stone.
  • A toast for St Patrick’s Day, “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”
  • In 1903, St Patrick's Day became an official public holiday in Ireland.
  • The first St Patrick's Day parade in Ireland was held inWaterford in 1903.
  • The first St Patrick's Day parade took place in Russia in 1992. Since 1999, there has been a yearly «Saint Patrick's Day» festival in Moscow and other Russian cities such as St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Voronezh, and Volgograd. In 2017, theRussian Orthodox Church added the feast day of Saint Patrick to its liturgical calendar to be celebrated on 30 March.

Legend of the Blarney Stone

Blarney Castle is a home of the Blarney Stone.

The legend says that an old woman cast a spell on the stone to reward a king who had saved her from drowning/ˈdraʊnɪŋ/ утопление.

Kissing the stone while under the spell gave the king the ability to speak sweetly and convincingly.

St.Patrick's Day

The Blarney Stone

It is difficult to reach the stone.  Kissers have to lie on their back and bend backward holding iron bars for support.

The word “blarney” means “clever flattering talk”.


Fun Time!

Let’s make a leprechaun!

leprechaun /ˈleprəkɔːn/ is a type of fairy in Irish folklore. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief /ˈmɪstʃɪf/ шалость озорство. They are solitary /ˈsɒlɪtəri/ одинокий creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom. 

For this you need:

  • green, black, white and yellow construction paper
  • a glue stick
  • scissors
  • markers
  • orange wool for felting to make a beard
  1. Make a hat out of green construction paper.
  2. Glue on a black stripe with a yellow buckle.
  3. Cut a face out of white paper and glue a hat to the top of it.
  4. Draw eyes, a nose, and a smile with a black marker.
  5. Arrange the orange beard around his face first and then stick it.
  6. There you have a cute little leprechaun for St. Patrick’s Day!

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Коляда, Белгородская область

Christmas celebrations in Russia


The History of the Festival

In Russia Christmas is celebrated on the 7th of January and marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is mainly a religious event in Russia. The origin of this festival goes back in the late 10th century and is connected with the baptism of Rus and Prince Vladimir. As you know in most of the European countries, the USA, Canada, Great Britain and some other countries people celebrate Christmas on December 25.  As a matter of fact the date is different because the Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar for religious celebrations whereas the Gregorian calendar is internationally the most widely used civil calendar. It was named after Pope Gregory XIII who introduced it in October 1582.  The Gregorian calendar is 14 days ahead of the Julian calendar.

In the former Soviet Union Christmas was not celebrated very much.  After the October revolution Christmas tree and related celebrations were gradually eradicated. New Year’s Day was the most important holiday of the year. After 1935 the Christmas traditions were adopted as a part of New Year celebrations in Russia. These include the decoration of spruce, family gatherings, the visit by Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (Snowmaiden).

Рождество в России

Christmas in Russia

Since 1992 Christmas has become a national holiday in Russia as a part of a ten-day holiday at the beginning of every new year. Lots of churches, chapels and cathedrals have been restored in towns and villages throughout the country. On Christmas Eve (January 6) church-goers visit Christmas services including “All Night Vigil”.

baptism – крещение

spruce  /spruːs/ – ель (blue spruce – голубая ель)

  • Noun: spruce = fir tree, conifer – хвойное дерево
  • Adjective: spruce = nice, smart, elegant, stylish, fine, nice – элегантный, нарядный
  • Verb: to spruce = put in order, to dress up, to tidy
  • Verb: to spruce = to tell lies, to cheat, to fool, to kid, to deceive

as a matter of fact = actually = really = in fact – на самом деле

calendar  /ˈkæləndə/ – календарь

to eradicate  /ɪˈrædɪkeɪt/ – искоренять, истреблять

chapel /ˈtʃæpəl/ – часовня

church-goers – прихожане

Christmas Eve – сочельник

All Night Vigil /ˈvɪdʒɪl/ — всенощная (богослужение, которое длится всю ночь, до 4 – 5 часов утра)

Traditional Russian Cuisine

In the evening families have the traditional Christmas Eve “Holy Supper” which consists of 12 meatless dishes, one to honor each of the Twelve Apostles who took part in the Last Supper (Gospel event, the last meal of Jesus with his disciples). Some people don’t eat anything on Christmas Eve until the first star has appeared in the sky. The Russian word for Christmas Eve ‘sochelnik’ comes from the word ‘sochivo’.

Кутья, сочиво



‘Sochivo’ or ‘kutia’ is a kind of porridge made of wheat, buckwheat or rye, served with honey, poppy seeds, fruit (especially berries and dried fruit like raisins), chopped walnuts or sometimes even fruit jellies. From old times till now people are used to treating their relatives and neighbors to this dish. Sometimes ‘kutia’ is eaten from one common bowl which symbolizes unity. In the past some families liked to throw a spoonful of sochivo up on the ceiling. If it was stuck to the ceiling, some people thought that they would be lucky and would get a great crop!

Gospel – Евангелие

disciple   /dɪˈsaɪpl/  – ученик, последователь

meatless dishes – постные блюда

wheat   /wiːt/ – пшеница

buckwheat   /ˈbʌk.wiːt/ – гречиха

rye  /raɪ/ – рожь

poppy seeds – мак

dried fruit – сухофрукты

raisins /ˈreɪzən/ – изюм

chopped walnuts  /ˈwɔːlnʌt/ – измельченные грецкие орехи

to treat –  угощать

bowl /bəʊl/ – миска, чашка

ceiling /ˈsiːlɪŋ/ – потолок

harvest – урожай

Meat and vegetable dishes

Principal dishes on the Christmas table in old Russia included a variety of pork (roasted pig, stuffed pig's head, roasted meat chunks), jelly (kholodets), and aspic. Some other meat dishes such as goose with apples, sour cream hare, venison, lamb, whole baked chicken and fish were served at Christmas dinner. As a rule all these dishes were made in the Russian oven.

Other popular dishes on Christmas Eve are beetroot soup (borsch) or vegan potluck (solyanka). They are served with individual vegetable pies, often made with cabbage, potato, or mushroom).

Sauerkraut is one of the main dishes on the festive table. It is usually served with cranberries, cumin, shredded carrot and onion rings. It might be followed by more pies or porridge dishes such as buckwheat with fried onions and fried mushrooms.

квашеная капуста с клюквой


venison /ˈvenɪsən/  – оленина

chunk /tʃʌŋk/ – ломоть, большой кусок

aspic /ˈæspɪk/ – заливное

lamb /læm/ – баранина (мясо ягненка)

casserole /ˈkæsərəʊl/  – мясная запеканка или запеканка из бобов с овощами

vegan /ˈviːɡən/  – строго вегетарианский

potluck – an informal meal where guests bring a different dish that is then shared with the other guests (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/)

sauerkraut  /ˈsaʊəkraʊt/ – квашеная капуста

cranberry /ˈkrænbəri/ – клюква

cumin  /ˈkjuːmɪn/  – тмин

shred – клочок, кусочек

shredded carrot – порезанная на мелкие кусочки морковь


The festive table cannot do without pancakes, casseroles, pies with various fillings: herbal, vegetable, fruit, meat, cheese and fish. Pies are indispensable dishes not only for Christmas but for the other holidays as well. They can be both closed and open style.

Sweet dishes included berries, fruit, cakes, biscuits, candy, honey were served on the Russian Christmas table. Beverages such as kompot, sbiten, kissel and vzvar were often served at the end of the meal. ‘Vzvar’ or ‘uzvar’ is a sweet drink made of dried fruit (apples, plums, pears, cherries and currants), herbs, spices and honey boiled in water. Sometimes wine can be added. Together with ‘sochivo,’ ‘vzvar’ is a symbol of eternal life and the birth of the Savior.

indispensable — незаменимый

сurrants  /ˈkʌrənts/  – cмородина

eternal  /ɪˈtɜːnəl/  – вечный

beverage — напиток

the Savior – Спаситель

Traditional Russian Carols ‘Kolyadki’

Initially Christmas in Russia was linked with lots of folk customs. Some areas still keep up with the tradition of carol singing and masking on the night of January 6th. Groups of children and adults, dressed in costumes of manger animals, walk from door to door singing songs called ‘kolyadki’. Some of them are pastoral carols praising the birth of baby Christ, while others are connected with Kolyada, an ancient pre-Christian Slavic goddess of the sun. It was believed that Kolyada could make long winter days warmer and bring sunshine to people’s homes. These songs are widely popular in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. For their singing people are usually given some money, fruit, sweets and pies.

Коляда, Белгородская область

Kolyada, Belgorod region

Basically, Christmas was a large and important feast for every Russian family and it still is.

 Christmas Predictions and Superstitions

  • If there is hoarfrost on the branches of the trees in the first 3 days of Christmas, there will be a rich harvest of grain this year. (Иней на деревьях в первые три дня Рождественских праздников — к обильному урожаю хлеба.)
  • If it is warm on Christmas day, the spring will be cold. (Если в этот день тепло — весна будет холодная.)
  • If the Christmas night is blizzard, the bees will swarm well. (Если ночью метель — пчёлы хорошо роиться будут.)
  • A crescent Moon in the sky on Christmas predicts a lean year. (Если Рождество на новом месяце, то год будет неурожайным.)
  • If you see lots of stars in the sky at Christmas night, there will be plenty of berries in the woods, but if you see few stars, it means you will hardly find any berries in the summer. (В ночь звёзд густо — густо и ягод будет, если звёзд мало, то мало и ягод уродится.)
  • It is considered a bad omen if the first footer on Christmas is a woman. It means that all the women in this family will have health problems during the year. (Cчитается плохой приметой, если первой на Рождество порог переступит женщина. Это означает, что у всех женщин в этой семье будут проблемы со здоровьем в течение года.)
  • Another tradition is to clean the house on this day, to wash in the bath and to set a clean tablecloth for the year to bring good harvest. (Еще одна традиция – это убрать дом накануне Рождества, помыться в бане и постелить чистую скатерть, чтобы год принес хороший урожай.)
  • If you put some Christmas biscuits baked in the shape of a cow, sheep or a rooster on the windowsill, you will have a happy and prosperous year. (Считалось, что если в Рождество выставить за окно печенье, испеченное в форме коровы, овцы или петуха, то вас ждет успех и процветание в этом году.)

Enjoy watching my short video about Christmas in Russia.

You can use it for your projects and presentations.

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