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The Festive Year

The Rio Carnival in Brazil

This festival is by far the largest in the world. Hundreds of thousands of visitors come every year for the cele­brations before the start of Lent, (a fasting period of forty days before Easter). The carnival takes place in the Sambadrome, a huge new stadium. There, samba schools compete with each other for the best costumes and dancing. They spend a lot of time and money on carnival preparations, making fantastic costumes, masks, decorations, mobile floats and teaching the samba. In the past, the carnival procession was held in the streets of Rio, where beauti­fully clothed people threw streamers and confetti and danced for four days. Nowadays, the world's biggest street party has become a pleasure only for those who can afford the entrance fee.

Oktoberfest

Foreign beer-lovers might think that the Germans are unimaginative when it comes to beer because, good as it is, it all seems to taste very similar. There are, howev­er, many regional and seasonal differences, particular­ly in Bavaria and Munich. Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, actually begins in September and, to mark the occasion, each of Munich's many breweries makes a special beer. Because of this, an astonishing variety of different types and strengths of beer are available at this festival.

The Fallas Festival

The most spectacular of Spain's thousands of festivals must be Valencia's Fallas Fiesta, a two-day event cele­brating the end of winter. The Fallas Fiesta and street party start at noon on St. Joseph's Day. 19th March, with a deafening explosion of fireworks. Then there are con­tests for the best paella – a traditional Valencian rice dish. People gather in the streets to admire the costumes of the men dressed up as the Moors who occupied the city until the 13th century. In the months before the fiesta, crafts­men create around 370 papier mâché sculptures, the fallas, which are detailed caricatures of local people. At midnight, when the fallas are burnt, the burst of flames and fireworks symbolically forces out the winter.

The Tibetan Butter Lamp Festival

Buddhists believe that nothing is permanent, and on the 9th of March they celebrate this belief. Long before the festival begins, monks make their preparations by mixing brightly-coloured dyes into huge quantities of iced butter. It takes them several months to carve the frozen butter into highly decorated statues, some of them as much as 8 metres high. On the day of the festival itself, the sculptures – supported by wooden framesare carried through the streets and greeted with cheers from the excited crowds. Afterwards, the figures are thrown into a river by the monks who made them to demonstrate the idea that not even the most beautiful things last forever.

The Dragon Boat Festival

In China, towards the end of June, people celebrate a holiday known as the Dragon Boat Festival. The festival is held to honour the memory of Qu Xuan, a politician and poet who, in the year 278 B.C., is said to have commit­ted suicide by jumping into a river. It is said that local people threw rice dumplings into the water to save Xuan's soul from the evil spirits in the river. Nowadays, boat races are held every year to remind people of the search for the body of the dead poet. Spectators eat rice cakes and crews row large dragon-shaped boats. Some researchers, however, say that dragon boats existed long before the death of Qu Xuan, and the modern festival is a combination of several old traditions.

(Enterprise 4. Intermediate. Coursebook. pp.56-57)

16. Fill in the correct word from the list below:

regional

available

afford

dyes

souls

occupied

contest

carve

sculpture

supported

permanent

1 Many African tribes .................... masks to wear during particular celebrations. (shape out of wood)

2 Many religions have holidays which honour the ................... of the dead, (spirits)

3 The tickets for the jazz festival were so expensive that we couldn't ......... to go. (pay for sth)

4 The huge ice castle which was made for the winter carnival was ...................... by a wooden framework. (helped to stand up)

5 In Britain, there are many ..................... differences in the way people speak. (local)

6 The performers used blue, red and yellow .................. to change their hair colour for the festival. (colours)

7 To celebrate the harvest, the town's largest bakery held a(n) .................... for the best apple pie. (competition)

8 The artist's ...................... won first prize in the city's art festival. (carving)

9 They built a monument as a(n) .................... reminder of the soldiers who died in the war. (lasting forever)

10 All sorts of food are ..................... at our local spring festival. (obtainable)

11 The city was .................. for months by the enemy. (conquered and held)

(Enterprise 4. Intermediate. Coursebook. p.58)

17. Fill in the correct particle(s).

1 The audience were carried .............................. by the singer's brilliant performance. (got excited)

2 Peter carried ........................ his promise to help us. (fulfilled)

3 Despite the difficulties, they managed to carry the task ........................... . (complete)

4 Although his ankle was bothering him, the dancer carried ........................... the performance. (continued)

(Enterprise 4. Intermediate. Coursebook. p.58)

18. Fill in the correct preposition, then choose any five items and make sentences.

A 1) to throw sth ....... sb (in order to catch); 2) to throw sth ....... sb (in order to hit); 3) to remind sb ....... sth; 4) to search ....... sth; 5) a combination ....... sth; 6) to combine sth ....... sth else; 7) ....... September; 8) ....... noon; 9) ....... the streets; 10) ...... midnight; 11) ....... 9th March; 12) to compete ...... sb.

B 13) Participants drank wine made …… grapes.

14) Children decorate eggs …… colourful stickers.

15) They dress the baby …… white clothes for the christening.

16) The guests throw rice and flowers as the newlyweds make their way …… the aisle of the church.

17) Guests offer congratulations …… the bride and groom.

18) People put presents …… the Christmas tree.

19) The crowd watches the military parade …… awe.

20) …… Easter, people cook special dishes.

21) She flavoured the roast …… spices.

(Enterprise 4. Intermediate. Coursebook. p.58)

19. Using the following headings, make notes about each of the festivals. Then tell your partner about one of them.

DATE LOCATION REASON ACTIVITIES

Start like this: The ... festival takes place on ... in ... . It is held to ...

Read the text and fill in the blanks with words from the list below, then say which traditions and superstitions are mentioned in the text.

luck filled exchanged looks forward to

firecrackers play strips winds through

atmosphere celebrate held keep out

A

The Chinese New Year festivities are 1) .......... at the end of January or beginning of February for a period of one month. During this time, Chinese people 2) ........... the end of the winter season.

Preparations begin in December when shops are 3) ............... with people buying gifts. Buying new shoes is extremely important because it is believed that if you walk in old shoes on New Year's Day, you'll have bad 4)............... .

On New Year's Eve, families gather at home and cover their doors with 5) ........... of red paper. This is meant to 6) ................ evil spirits. Gifts are 7) .............. at midnight. Homes are filled with the sounds of happy children, who traditionally receive coins in red envelopes on New Year's Eve.

For the next two weeks, all shops are closed as people enjoy visiting friends and relatives. The 8) .............. is friendly as children sing songs for sweet rice cakes and musicians 9) .............. in the streets. The final and most impressive event is the Lantern Festival. Colourful lanterns are hung outside homes and a dragon parade takes place. The dragon is very long, made of paper and painted in bright colours. Men stand under the dragon's head and body. The parade 10) ........................ the streets as crowds cheer and set off 11) ................... .

The Chinese New Year is an exciting holiday which everyone 12) ................... . It is a celebration rich in tradition and full of happiness.

(Enterprise 4. Intermediate. Coursebook. p.59)

B Read the text and fill in the correct word derived from the words in bold.

New Year's Eve is celebrated on December 31st in 1) ............ (west) countries. It is a time for people to welcome the coming of the New Year.

In London, for example, 2) ...................... (prepare) for New Year's Eve begin weeks in advance. Everything is decorated in the 3) ................ (tradition) way – tinsel, streamers and balloons are hung and "Happy New Year" signs are placed in windows. Party hats and footers are bought in 4) ..................... (anticipate) of the celebration.

On New Year's Eve, some people attend parties while others choose to go to a pub or disco. Food and drinks are served and 5) ................ (live) music is played while party-goers chat or dance the night away. At midnight the sound of popping corks can be heard as champagne bottles are opened and the 6) ................ (bubble) drink is served. Many people spend the evening at Trafalgar Square. Crowds gather and wait for 12 o'clock when the chimes of the 7) ................ (fame) Big Ben ring out. Everyone begins to sing 8) ...................... (happy) and wish each other a happy and 9) ...................... (health) new year.

No matter where New Year's Eve is spent, the feeling is the same. People 10) ..................... (cheerful) celebrate this joyful occasion.

Read texts A and B again and fill in the table below. Then, looking at your notes, compare the two events. Use: but, similarly, however, whereas, both, while, etc

e.g. In western countries, New Year’s Eve is a celebration to welcome the new year, whereas the Chinese New Year is a celebration of the end of the winter season.

CHINA LONDON

DATE

REASON

PREPARATIONS

ACTIVITIES

COMMENTS/

FEELINGS

(Enterprise 4. Intermediate. Coursebook. p.59)

20. Fill in the gaps with one of the words from the list below.

medals, commemorate, memorial service, parade, traditional costumes, wreath, national anthem, 21-gun salute, veteran, two-minute silence

  1. The ……… will be held at the Royal Albert Hall.

  2. Someone who has fought in and survived a war is called a war ……… .

  3. The audience sang the ……… at the beginning of the ceremony.

  4. The festival was held to ……… fifty years of piece.

  5. The Queen laid a ……… at the foot of the war memorial.

  6. The crowd lined the streets to watch the soldiers marching in the ……… .

  7. It is customary for a ……… to be fired at the end of the ceremony.

  8. A ……… is observed throughout the country as a sign of respect for the people who died in the war.

  9. In keeping with the theme of the festival, everyone involved wore …… .

  10. The veterans proudly displayed their ……… as they marched down the street.

(Successful Writing. Upper-Intermediate. St’s book. p.21)

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