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Foreign languages

Foreign languages are absolutely necessary for us nowadays because of our growing international contacts with all the countries of the world.

There are many reasons why we begin the study of a foreign language. One of them is to be able to communicate with other people who use this language. We may be planning to travel in one or two countries where the language is spoken. If we know the language of a foreign country, we can talk to its people and understand what they are saying to us. If we are working in any branch of science, we naturally wish to read scientific books and magazines in other languages. Making business nowadays also means knowing foreign languages because of the growing international business contacts. Knowing foreign languages helps people of different countries to develop mutual friendship and understanding. We can also make our intellectual and cultural horizons wider through contacts with people of another culture. It is also very interesting to read foreign literature in the original. We can also read foreign newspapers and magazines and to understand films in foreign languages without any help.

Learning foreign languages is compulsory in all the secondary and higher schools in our country. English is a very popular language. People use it in many parts of the world and there is a lot of business correspondence and literature in English.

I think, it is very important to know at least one foreign language — English, German, French, Spanish or any other one.

Customs and traditions.

Holidays were celebrated during periods of transition from one type of agricultural activity to another.

Easter, for example, is a spring holiday. Spring is a time of ploughing and sowing in the fields, a time of warmth and awakening after a cold, hungry winter. In pagan times Ukrainians believed that the gods died tad were reborn every year. An example of pagan customs is the dyeing of eggs.

To the Christian Ascension Day (the 40th day after Easter) Ukrainians added a pre-Christian tradition of going to the field to inspect the progress of the wheat.

The Trinity is celebrated in summer, on the 50th day after Easter. Traditionally people decorate their homes with green tree branches and fragrant herbs.

Another summer holiday is Ivan Kupala's Day on July 7. During the day everyone has to be at least immersed in water. This was the last holiday before the harvest.

August 2, St. I Ilia's Day, marked the beginning of autumn. "Until dinner it's summer, after dinner it's autumn", people said. On the 19th of August, or on "Saviour Day", vegetables, fruit, mushrooms, and honey were blessed.

Weddings usually took place in the middle of October.

A unique feature of Ukrainian Christmas festivities is the "vertep", or puppet theatre". Young people get together, dress as angels, kings, Herod, Satan, Death, and even animals. They walk from house to house singing about the birth of Christ, greeting everyone with the holiday.

British Traditions and Customs

Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. In Britian traditions play more importaint part in the life of the people than in some other countries.  Englishmen are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up.  It has been the law for about three hundred years that all the theatres are closed on Sundays no letters are delivered only a few Sunday papers are publshed.  To this day English families prefer cotage houses with gardens to flats in a modern house with central heeting. English people like gardens. Sometimes the garden in front of the house is a little square covered with cement painted green (in imitation of grass) and a box of flowers.  In English houses the fire-place has always been the centre of interest in a room. For many months of the year people like to sit round the fire and watch the dancing flames. Fire places are decorated with woodworks, there is a painting or a mirror over it. Above the fire there is usually a shelf with a clock and some photographs.  Holydays are especially rich in old traditions and are different in cotland, Wales and England. Christmas is a great english national holyday and in Scotland it is not kept at all exeept by clerks in banks, all the shops and factories are working. But 6 days later on the New Year's Eve the  Scots begin to enjoy themselves. People invite their friends to their houses and sit the old year out and the new year in. In England on new Year's Eve a lot of people go to Trafalgar Square, at midnight, they all cross their arms join hands and sing. People have parties too, they drink toarts to the New Year Children are happy to have presents.

Four times a year the offices and banks in Britain are closed on Monday.  These public holidays are known as Bank Holidays. The British like to spend holidays out of the town in the open air. They go to the sea-side or to amusements parks.  Londoners often visit the Zoo, outside London they take their families to Hamsted Heath ['hнmstid'hi@] a large natural park too. There is usually a big fair with many different amusements for children merry-go-round, swings puppet shows, bright baloons.

One must also speak about such holidays ass All Fools Day, Hallowe'en Bonfire Night, St. Valentines Day and such tradition as Eisteddfod (a festival of which culture).

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