Holidays and festivals

In every country, there are different holidays and festivals. I would compare the USA, Czech Republic and Britain.

 

In USA, Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. It’s the oldest American holiday, first celebrated in 17th century, due to Pilgrims. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Families usually meet themselves together, have a big dinner, eat stuffed turkey and a pumpkin pie.

The other important day is Independence Day. The fourth of July has been the most important annual national holiday in the United States since 1776, when America was declared independent. The day is celebrated with parades, picnics, speeches, fireworks and bonfires.

Halloween is the day all American children wait for- they say trick or treat behind your door and you give them candy. Children dress up in funny clothes and masks. The name Halloween means All Hallows Eve-the Eve of All Saint’s day, celebrated on October the 31st. Ghosts, witches, spirits are all present in celebrations. People even decor their houses-often with Jack O’ Lantern, a pumpkin witch holes as a face in it.

Saint Valentine’ s day, is lover’s holiday. People give presents, send greeting cards to people they like or admire.

 

In Britain, they also celebrate Saint Valentine’s day, Halloween… but as in the rest of Europe, Easter is also celebrated there. It is an ancient symbol of life and spring, Christians remember the death of Christ and his return to life.

On November the 5th, there is Guy Fawkes night. The unsuccessful plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605 is commemorated with bonfires, burning of guys as Guy Fawkes (whose gunpowder was discovered and he with his other companions were executed).

On November the 11th or the nearest Sunday, Remembrance Day is celebrated. It is a ceremony in Whitehall in London when there are 2 minutes of silent to remember those who were killed during 2nd world war.

 

In Czech Republic, we have so many holidays and special traditions due to our very rich history. Starting with the 1st of January, as New Year. People eat lentils to have money in the future year.

In April, there is Easter Sunday and Monday. It is celebrated on the first full moon after March, 21st. The symbols are eggs, flowers, lamb, hare (zajíček). In Czech Republic, boys whip (šlehat) girls so they stay attractive for men in future year.

In May, there are two holidays- on May the 1st, there is Workers day (it has origins in Communist era), on May the 8th, there is Liberation day, which celebrates the end of the 2nd world war.

On July, the 5th, we celebrate Cyril and Methodius day. We remember two important priest for our country-they brought Christianity to the Slavic people in central Europe.

The day after, July the 6th, we remember Jan Hus, a catholic priest who was burned at the stake (hranice).

On September the 28th, we have Saint Wenceslas day, as the anniversary of prince Wenceslas, also known as Czech Statehood day.

On October the 28th, we celebrate Czechoslovak Independence Day, when in 1918, the independent Czechoslovak republic was founded.

Many people even nowadays remember communist era and demonstrations connected to it- on November the 17th, we remember the Struggle for freedom and democracy day, because in 1989, there was a giant demonstration against communism which started the Velvet revolution.

Of course we celebrate Christmas in Czech Republic too. It’s divided into: Christmas Eve (24th), Christmas Day (25th) and Saint Stephen’s day (26th). It celebrates the birth of Christ. Families gather together, they eat carp and potato salad, cut the apples and sing carols.

 

Tuto maturitní otázku vytvořila Natálie V. Další maturitní otázky z angličtiny najdete zde:

Prague – maturitní otázka

Tuto maturitní otázku z anglického jazyka vytvořila Natálie V., další najdete na webu zde:

 

Prague is the capital city of Czech Republic. It is situated in Central Bohemian Region along the Vltava river. It has 1.3 million inhabitants. It is the centre of government, economics, culture, also a political, administrative, financial and commercial centre. It’s also the residence of Czech president. It is a magical city of bridges, cathedrals, towers, red roofs.

 

A legend connects its foundation with princess Libuše. In 14th century, bohemian king Charles IV. Transformed Prague into an imperial capital. He founded Charles University. During his reign, the town flourished, the same as in 16th century, when bohemian king Rudolf II. Chose Prague as his residence. During 19th century, National theatre was opened by the opera Libuše from Bedřich Smetana and the Petřín tower was opened for the public. In 20th century, many events happened in Prague, such as Nazi occupation (that happened not only in Prague of course), the \Prague Spring or Velvet revolution.

 

As for transport, you can use trams, buses, underground (3 lines). There are two railway stations. Masaryk station and Wilson station. We also have one airport-Václav Havel airport-named after the first Czech president Václav Havel. For bigger comfort, you can use taxi or Uber, Taxify services. During summer, there’s also a possibility of using Rekola.

 

Prague is the centre of culture in Czech Republic. There are many theatres, the main ones are Smetana Theatre, which is the State Opera, Vinohrady and National theatre. There are many halls, such as Lucerna Palace-Great Hall, or Žofín palace, where graduation balls are held.

 

In the city centre, there are mainly shops with souvenirs for tourists, but there are also many shopping centres (Nový Smíchov, Arkády, Letňany). People, especially tourists, tend to do window shopping (očumování výloh).

 

In Prague, there are so many places of interest:

  • Wenceslas Square -real centre of the city, national museum at the top, includes the statue of Czech patron Saint Wenceslas, overcrowded with tourists
  • The Municipal House-in 1918, independent Czechoslovak republic was declared here, art nouveau style, today it’s main concert venue
  • Celetná street-connected with life of author Franz Kafka
  • Karolinum-part of Charles university since 1383, central interior space used for commencement ceremonies and other official events
  • The Old Town Hall-gothic style, execution of 27 noblemen in 1621, burned down in May 1945
  • Astronomical clock-oldest part of Orloj, 12 apostolles and other figures appear when the clock strikes the hour
  • The Charles bridge-gothic, statues baroque, connects the Old Town and Lesser Town (Malá Strana), many artists
  • Prague castle-seat of the president, guarded by guards in uniforms
  • Saint Vitus cathedral-gothic, king Charles and his four wifes are buried here, includes the Crown chamber with Bohemian Coronation Jewels
  • Petřín tower-copy of Eiffel tower, includes the Mirror maze, nice gardens around

The United States of America

Tuto maturitní otázku z anglického jazyka nám zaslala Ada365, děkujeme. Další maturitní otázky z angličtiny najdete zde.

 

Basic information

  • Capital: Washington D.C.
  • Area: North America (third largest country in the world)
  • Population: 328,2 millions
  • Nationalities: Afroameričané – 12,1 % (asi 34,9 milionu) Asijští Američané – 4,3 % (12,5 milionu) Američtí indiáni – 0,8 % (2,4 milionu) Havajci a ostatní pacifičtí ostrované – 0,1 % (0,4 milionu), European (white) 82%
  • Languages: English, Spanish
  • Political system: Federative constitutional republic (federativní ustavní repulibka)
  • Head of state: Joe Biden
  • Law-making body (zákonodárný organ): something that makes laws
  • Congress          consists of House of Representatives and Senate
  • Date of foundation: 4. 7. 1776

 

Why is the USA sometimes called “the melting pot” or “the salad bowl”?

The “melting pot” metaphor is used to describe how immigrants who come to America eventually become assimilated into American culture, thus creating multiple cultures that have blended into one. The “salad bowl” metaphor is a different view describing that immigrants who come to America combine their cultures with others, but still retain their own cultural identity. Basically, America is one big integration of unique, distinct cultures.

 

History

In 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered the American continent. He was looking for a saver way to India so when he landed on an island in the Caribbean Columbus believed that he had landed on the coast of India and named the people there Indians. However, the continent is named after Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian explorer who made many voyages to South America and wrote detailed descriptions of the New World.

The USA consist of 50 states, the Federal District of Columbia and outlying US territories such as Puerto Rico, the Panama Canal Zone, Virgin Islands and several islands in the South Pacific. The US is bounded in the west by Pacific Ocean, in the north by Mexico/Canada, in the east by Atlantic Ocean and in the south by Canada/Mexico. There are 48 states between these borders. Alaska, which became the 49th state in 1959 occupies the north-western part of the North American continent and is separated from the continental US by Canada. Hawaii, which became the 50th state in the same year, is situated approximately half-way between American and Asian continent.

The largest state is Alaska, the second largest is Texas. The smallest state is Rhode Island. The longest river is Mississippi (6 400km). The highest mountain is Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska. The lowest point is Death Valley in Eastern California (86 metres below the sea level).

 

Landscape and climate

There are two great mountain ranges in the USA: the Appalachian Mountains on the east coast and Sierra Nevada Rocky Mountain in the west, both running from north to south.

The Atlantic seacoast is mountainous and rocky in the north-east. In the south there is a wide coastal plain between the mountains and the sea.

Half of the USA lies between the mountains. These interior plains include Central Lowland, Great Lakes section and the Great Plain. This region is drained by the Mississippi and its eight branches. This Mississippi valley is one of the greatest fertile plains on the earth. Extensive areas of prairies are found in its south-western part.

The Great Lakes Region in the north has also fertile lands and the most fertile region in the west is the Central Valley of California.

One third of the land is covered with forests.

There is tundra in Alaska and the Hawaii islands are volcanic tropical islands.

The climate varies along with the landscape. The weather ranges from the warm, wet conditions of the Appalachians to the desert conditions in some of the western states. It varies from almost winterless climates in Arizona and Florida to long and very cold winters in Montana and the Dakota. The warm Gulf Stream flowing from Florida influences the climate of the Atlantic seacoast.

 

Rivers and lakes

The rivers entering the Atlantic between the St Lawrence and the Gulf of Mexico are short. They are: the Hudson, the Delaware, the Potomac and so on.

The main river entering the Gulf of Mexico is the Mississippi. Together with its principal tributary, the Missouri, the Mississippi is over 6,000km long. Other tributaries are The Ohio, the Red river, the Arkansas and etc.

Another river that flows into the Gulf of Mexico is the Rio Grande, which form the border between the USA and Mexico.

The Great Lakes Region includes five lakes in the north east: Ontario, Erie, Michigan, Superior and Huron. The river Niagara, flowing between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, forms the Niagara Falls.

4 of the lakes form water border between Canada and the USA. The only American lake is Lake Michigan.

 

Look at the abbreviations of some American states and write their full name:

AZ          Arizona                                               NY          New York

CA          California                                            OH         Ohio

FL           Florida                                                 MT         Montana

IL            Illinois

NV         Nevada

UT          Utah (solné jezezo)

TX           Texas

The UK and the USA are said to be two countries divided by common language. There are differences between British and American English in vocabulary, spelling, grammar, stress (přízvuk), pronunciation and intonation.

 

What are the American English words for the following British words?

Chips – French fries

Petrol – gas, gasoline

Shopping centre – (shopping center)    mall

Flat – apartment

Secondary school – high school

Return ticket – round-trip ticket       (zpáteční jízdenka)

Underground – subway

Football – soccer

Film – movie

Holiday – vacation

toilet – rest room

 

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is the capital of the US, situated on the north-east coast of the USA on the Potomac River, in the District of Columbia.  The site of the capital was chosen by President Washington himself because he knew this area very well. The city was designed by French architect Pierre L’Enfant in the late 18th century. The city was divided into 4 quadrants (northwest, southwest, and northeast, southeast) with the Capitol as the centre. The main industry in Washington is the Federal Government, the second is tourism.

 

There are three important buildings in Washington:

  • The White House: it is official seat of the president
  • The Capitol: it is the meeting place of the US legislature/congers
  • The Pentagon: it is the seat of the Ministry of Defence in the US state of Virginia

 

The top landmarks (apart from the above mentioned buildings) situated in Washington D.C. are: Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institution, National Mall, National Air and Space Museum

Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and Washington monument

Can you name any American presidents? (6)

Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H. W. Bush

What is there on the American flag? Why? Flag has thirteen horizontal stripes (seven red and six white) and a blue canton (seven stripes wide), in which are placed fifty white five-pointed stars in nine rows (alternating five and six stars). The bars represent the thirteen original, founding states of the Union, the stars the current number of states of the Union.

What is the flag sometimes called? The Stars and Stripes

 

New York

Broadway: is a theatre in New York, was opened on Christmas Day 1924, also a street where other 40t theatres are

Wall Street: is a street in the southern part of Manhattan Island, is the headquarters of the New York Stock Exchange and other businesses and banks, financial heart

Manhattan: is an island off the east coast of the United States, in the state of New York at the mouth of the Hudson River. What else why is it famous

Times Square: is a large intersection and area between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, part of the Manhattan portion of Midtown Manhattan, Times Square is home to a number of companies, there is a lot of billboards

Central Park: is a large public city park, the largest city park in the United States, this park is visited by 25 million people a year

5th avenue: is the main street in the centre of Manhattan in New York, there are also lots of shops, it is the most famous and most expensive street in New York

Ellis Island (Island of tears): is an island at the mouth of the Hudson River near New York City, why is it famous?

The Statue of Liberty: is a statue standing on Liberty Island near New York City, The statue is 46 meters high more

 

General Overview of California

California is one of the most visited states   of the USA and i tis situated in the South-west     of the country. The state is nicknamed The Golden State because of the Gold Rush    period. San Francisco and Los Angeles are major cities and Hollywood is famous for its film stars. Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico in the south are neighbour   states. It has a long coastline bordering the Pacific Ocean. That’s why the climate is mild   . Geographically speaking, mountain i tis a land of contrasts: in the North, the eye discovers the  Rocky   mountains – the Highest  is  Mount Whitney reaching   4222   metres – whereas in the south, a huge desert  is stretching out. Alcatraz is a well-known prison reserved to tough gangsters and murderers.  Finally, let us not forget the Silicon Valley, the place where Apple started making computers a few years ago.

 

Horseshoe Bend

is a multi – carved meander of the Colorado River, located in Arizona

 

Yellowstone National Park

Located in the US states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is the oldest national park in the world, there is the Old Faithful geyser

 

Interesting places, facts

National parks

The United States has 62 protected areas known as national parks. Yellowstone is the first established NP in the world and the oldest in the US. It was established in 1872 and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is located in the western US, with parts in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser.

Other famous NP:

Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Glacier, Rocky mountain, Acadia, Arches, Great Smoky mountains, Olympic and so on

 

Choose one NP in the USA and write something more about it – name, location, when established, famous for/what we can see there

Glacier National Park is located in Montana, USA, on the border with the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. It has an area of more than 4000 square meters. There are two ridges of the Rocky Mountains and more than 130 lakes. Together with the Canadian Waterton Lakes Park, it is part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage as the „Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park“.

Another well-known natural attraction is The Niagara Falls.

San Francisco: San Francisco is a city on the west coast of the USA in the California. The city is famous for its cold summers, fog, steep hills, the Golden Gate Bridge and the former prison on the island of Alcatraz. The city is called one of the most beautiful cities in the world, definitely worth a visiting.

There is a cableway in the streets.

New Orleans: New Orleans is one of the most important port cities in the United States, as well as the largest city in Louisiana and one of the most important cities in the southern United States. The city lies on the Mississippi River south of Lake Pontchartrain, through which you can reach the city by the second longest bridge in the world, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. There is a great risk of flooding. In 2005, the city was hit by Hurricane Katrina, and there were also major floods. There are many monuments that people visit. Music style in New Orleans is jazz. (kélébka jazzu). On the Bourbon Street we find a lot of bars, clubs and enjoy.

Chicago: Chicago is located in the state of Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan. For political reasons, the city is nicknamed Windy City and thanks to the large number of parks, the city is also nicknamed City in a Garden. The city is very green and clean compared to other cities. There are many very tall skyscrapers. Trump Tower, Willis Tower, Aon Centre. There are many interesting places that are worth seeing, for example, Shedd Aquarium, which fascinated me.

Las Vegas: Las Vegas is the largest city in the state of Nevada in the USA. The entire Las Vegas area is best known for its nightlife. The Las Vegas Strip is 6.8 km away. There are 18 of the 25 largest hotels in the world and many casinos. The city is also known from many movies. There are a lot of deserts, weddings, chapels, gambling and concerts.

 Grand Canyon: it is a national park situated in Arizona.  It is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River. It is about 446 km long, 29 km wide and almost 2 km deep. You can go rafting, hiking and running there, helicopter tours are also popular. The rocks change their colour because they are of a different origin – sandstone, limestone…

Great Salt Lake: also situated in Utah is the largest salt lake in the USA. You can’t really swim there because there is too much salt – you can only float. It is saltier than the ocean.

Salt Lake City – winter Olympic Games in 2002

Hoover Dam: is a concrete dam on the Colorado River on the borders of Nevada and Arizona. It was constructed during the Great Depression (velká hospodářská krize) and provided jobs to thousands of workers. It protected the area from floods and it was also the biggest water power station at that time. It is very famous because it has appeared in a number of American films.