There are a lot of holidays in the USA. Many of them are associated with the history of the nation. The main holidays of the USA are New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
The New Year's Eve is a time for merriment. Most Americans spend this night with friends, at home or in restaurants. Thousands of people gather in New York in Times Square to see the New Year in. The Tournament of Roses takes place in Pasadena, California, on January 1 each year. Prizes are given to the cities with the most unusual floral compositions.
At Easter there is a tradition for people to buy new clothes. After church services many people take walks along the streets of their towns, wearing their new Easter hats and suits. This is usually called the "Easter Parade".
Memorial Day comes on May 30. It is dedicated to the memory of those who died for America in different wars. The national flags are put on the graves of soldiers on this day.
The 4th of July, an Independence Day, is the biggest national holiday of the USA. On this day in 1776 a document, known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted. During this holiday American cities have parades, people shoot off fire-works in parks and fields.
Thanksgiving Day comes on the fourth Thursday of November. When the first settlers landed in America, their first year was very hard and 50 of 100 people died. But the Indians taught people how to plant corn and wild vegetables and in autumn they got a large harvest. Thanksgiving Day was their holiday, the day of giving thanks to God. It is a family holiday and Americans try to gather all family at home on this day.
There are also some holidays which are not celebrated nation-wide, but only by each state separately.
Washington, the capital of the United States of America, is situated on the Potomac River in the District of Columbia. The district is a piece of land ten miles square and it does not belong to any separate state but to all the states. The district is named in honour of Columbus, the discoverer of America. The capital owes much to the first President of the USA -George Washington. It was G. Washington, who chose the place for the District and laid in 1790 the corner-stone of the Capitol, where Congress sits.
Washington is not the largest city in the USA. It has a population of 900 000 people. Washington is a one-industry town. That industry is government. It does not produce anything except very much scrap paper. Every day 25 railway cars leave Washington loaded with scrap paper.
Washington has many historical places. The largest and tallest among the buildings is the Capitol with its great House of Representatives and the Senate chamber. There are no skyscrapers in Washington because no other building must be taller than the Capitol. The White House is the President's residence. All American presidents except George Washington (the White House was not yet built in his time), have lived in the White House. It was built in 1799. It is a two-storied, white building.
Not far from the Capitol is the Washington Monument, which looks like a very big pencil. It rises 160 metres and is hollow inside. A special lift brings visitors to the top in 70 seconds from where they can enjoy a wonderful view of the whole city.
The Jefferson Memorial was built in memory of the third President of the USA, Thomas Jefferson, who was also the author of the Declaration of Independence. The memorial is surrounded by cherry-trees. The Lincoln Memorial devoted to the memory of the 16th President of the US, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation, which gave freedom to Negro slaves in America.
On the other bank of the Potomac lies the Arlington National Cemetery where President Kennedy was buried. American soldiers and officers, who died in World Wars I and II are buried there too.
1. What city is the capital of the USA? 2. Where is Washington situated? 3. To which state does the city of Washington belong? 4. In whose honour is the district of Columbia named? 5. Who was the first President of the USA? 6. Who chose the place for the District? 7. Is Washington the largest city in the USA? 8. What is the population of Washington? 9. What industries are situated in the city? 10. What do 25 railway cars leave Washington loaded with? 11. Why are there no sky-scrapers in Washington? 12. Where is the President's residence? 13. When was the White House built? 14. In whose memory was the Jefferson Memorial built? 15. Who is the author of the Declaration of Independence? 16. Which document gave freedom to Negro slaves in America?
17. Who was buried at the Arlington National Cemetery?
separate - отдельный to be named in honour - быть названным в честь except - кроме, за исключением scrap paper - макулатура hollow - полый, пустой to enjoy a wonderful view of - любоваться прекрасным видом cherry-trees - вишневые деревья on the other bank - на другом берегу