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Lesson Transcript

Gabriella: Hi, I’m Gabriella.
Gina: And I’m Gina. Top 5 Most Important Dates on the British Calendar.
Gabriella: We’re going to be talking about holidays!
Gina: Public holidays and festivals, yes! These are important days, but also fun days for Brits. Where shall we start?
Gabriella: Let’s start with a day that can be both important and fun, depending on what you believe.
Gina: Sounds good!
Gabriella: Our first date is commonly known as Pancake Day.
Gina: I love Pancake Day! It’s also known as Shrove Tuesday, and other than being on a Tuesday, the date changes every year.
Gabriella: Pancake Day is seven weeks before Easter and as Easter’s date changes, so does Pancake Day’s.
Gina: There is the religious side to Pancake Day as it is the last day before Lent starts – the period before Easter where Christians give up something, typically sweet or rich foods.
Gabriella: That’s right. People used to make pancakes as they were an easy way to use up the stocks of anything that was being given up for Lent. But, Pancake Day has come to have a wider and more fun meaning.
Gina: Tell us a little about that.
Gabriella: Pancake Day is famous for pancake races! These are short races that people run while flipping a pancake in a frying pan.
Gina: It’s difficult to flip a pancake at the best of times, let alone when in motion!
Gabriella: That’s why it’s fun!
Gina: What is the next date we should remember?
Gabriella: “Remember, remember the fifth of November.”
Gina: “Gunpowder, treason, and plot”. I remember that rhyme!
Gabriella: It’s about Guy Fawkes Night, which is held on the fifth of November every year.
Gina: Also known as Bonfire Night, right?
Gabriella: That’s right. In 1605, Guy Fawkes and his friends plotted to kill the king, King James I, by blowing up the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder.
Gina: But, they were caught before they succeeded and later executed for their plot.
Gabriella: Yeah, and we celebrate their failure with firework displays and by building bonfires.
Gina: It’s a really fun festival, but sometimes the never-ending fireworks can become tiresome as people typically start celebrating in October…
Gabriella: It can definitely be a long festival sometimes! Next is New Year’s Eve, on the 31st of December.
Gina: Of course most countries in the world celebrate the coming of the new year in some form.
Gabriella: They do. In the UK, people either go to parties or celebrate at home with family and friends.
Gina: Is there a focus of the celebrations? Somewhere that the TV channels concentrate their programming on?
Gabriella: Yes, it’s the Embankment in London. The Embankment runs past the River Thames, and the real focal point is the area around Big Ben and the London Eye.
Gina: Big Ben always rings in the New Year.
Gabriella: And then there is a spectacular fireworks display focused on the London Eye, which is a huge Ferris wheel, and also on the river itself.
Gina: It always looks very pretty on the TV and many people go to see the fireworks there, despite how cold it is!
Gabriella: They do. Our next date for the calendar is Easter.
Gina: As we said earlier, the date of Easter changes every year, but the holiday always falls on a Friday, Sunday and Monday, with Sunday being the actual day of Easter.
Gabriella: It’s a holiday to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but because it’s at the beginning of spring, it has also come to mean rebirth in a more general sense.
Gina: That’s right. Even those who don’t celebrate Easter for its religious meaning, can celebrate Easter.
Gabriella: Giving chocolate Easter Eggs is very popular and there are Easter bonnet parades and egg painting competitions.
Gina: I remember Easter bonnet parades from when I was at school. It’s a hat, or bonnet, that is decorated with things such as flowers, chicks and eggs.
Gabriella: That’s right. Our last and most important day is Christmas Day.
Gina: Of course it is! This happens on the 25th of December each year, and celebrates the birth of Jesus.
Gabriella: It’s also a day for the family to come together as the vast majority of Brits will have the day off work.
Gina: People give each other Christmas presents that are placed under a tree until Christmas morning, when they are opened. There’s lots of food at Christmas, isn’t there?
Gabriella: Yeah, I think most people put some weight on over Christmas! The traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey, but other meats such as goose, beef or chicken are also popular.
Gina: I like the dessert the best – Christmas pudding. This is a very heavy and rich fruit pudding that has usually been seasoned with brandy and sherry.
Gabriella: There are also mince pies, which are a sweet little pie, and chocolate logs.
Gina: TV programmes are usually special at Christmas too.
Gabriella: That’s right. There will be special editions of regular programmes at Christmas and many blockbuster movies being premiered.
Gina: And of course, at 3pm every year is the Queen’s speech!
Gabriella: Yes, the Queen gives a speech to the country and talks about the previous year and the year ahead. It’s tradition to watch her speech every year.
Gina: So those are the top five dates in the UK.


Gina: Ok, everyone. I think that’s all for this lesson.
Gabriella: Thank you for listening everyone. See you next time!