Spring begins around March 21st, and our spring session begins around the same time.
Saint Patrick’s Day is March 17th. Who was St. Patrick and why do people celebrate his day?
Saint Patrick lived from 385 to 461 AD. He was born in Britain, but his family was Roman. At that time, there were still many Romans in Britain. When he was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates and he was taken to Ireland as a slave. He eventually escaped and went to France, where he became a priest. He then returned to Ireland and converted most of the population to Christianity. He helped change the laws and introduced reading and writing to many Irish people.
St. Patrick is very important to Irish people. The symbol of Ireland is the shamrock (a green clover leaf) and it is associated with St. Patrick, too. A four-leaf clover (instead of the usual three), is a sign of good luck. Another Irish symbol is the leprechaun. A leprechaun is a small magical elf or fairy that has a treasure of gold. According to legend, if you capture a leprechaun, he will give you his treasure in order to escape.
Why is St. Patrick’s Day an important holiday in North America? Because millions of people in Canada and the United States have ancestors from Ireland. In the 19th and first half of the 20th century, many immigrants to North America were from Ireland. Today, people whose families are originally from Ireland celebrate their heritage on St. Patrick’s Day by wearing green-coloured clothes, having parties, and going to big parades. There is always a very large parade in New York City, Boston and in Montreal on St. Patrick’s Day. The parade in Montreal is the oldest one in North America. It started in 1824. The parade is usually on Saint Catherine Street near our school on the weekend near March 17th. It is a special celebration of Ireland and Irish culture.
April Fools’ Day is April 1st. It is a day to play practical jokes on your friends and family. It is a day for pranks and hoaxes, but all jokes must be done before noon. The holiday came from traditional holidays in Europe hundreds of years ago.
Practical jokes are when you do something to your friends to confuse or embarrass them or to make a mess, like gluing a pencil to the table, or bucket of water that falls when someone opens a door. A hoax is spreading false information, like reporting that UFOs are landing in downtown in the city. Sometimes, newspapers, radio or TV stations do hoaxes on April Fools’ Day.
Earth Day is April 22nd. It is a day to celebrate our beautiful planet, and to discuss ways to help improve the environment. Many people are worried about pollution and climate change (global warming). We all have to do more to protect the Earth.
Earth Day is not a holiday in Canada, but it a day to remember the four R’s: rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle. Usually the newspapers and TV have stories about the environment and the government usually announces something on the day.
Easter is a very important religious holiday for Christians. There are two holidays together, Good Friday and Easter Monday, so there is a four-day long weekend. According to Christians, Good Friday is the day that Jesus Christ was killed on the cross, and Easter Sunday was the day He came back to life. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the most important event for Christians.
The date of Easter changes every year, between March and April depending on the moon, but it is always a long weekend. The symbols of Easter are eggs and rabbits, and spring flowers. It is like spring festivals in every country, it is about new life after a long, cold winter. Traditionally, people decorate eggs with colours, and then hide them and have an Easter egg hunt. Children look for hidden eggs. People also eat a lot of chocolate at Easter, especially chocolate shaped like eggs or rabbits. Some people give presents at Easter, too.
In Canada, Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May. It is a day to show how much you appreciate and love your mother. Give her a call, even if it isn’t Mother’s Day in your country.
Victoria Day is always on the Monday closest to May 24th, which was the birthday of Queen Victoria (1819 to 1901). She was very important in Canadian history, because she was queen when Canada became a country in 1867, and she even chose Ottawa for the capital. That is why there are many parks, streets, schools, and even a city named after her.
Today, the holiday is really to celebrate the birthday of the Queen (or the King). The university, banks, government offices and many businesses will be closed for the holiday Monday. In Quebec, the holiday is called “Journée nationale des patriotes”.