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1. Thanks to new technology
A. Houses are decorated with coloured paper ribbons and chains. Holly with red berries is put on the walls and looks very colourful. A piece of mistletoe (a plant) is hung from the ceiling. It is said to be lucky to kiss under the mistletoe hanging from the ceiling. As you can understand, a lot of people who may not usually kiss each other take the chance given by a piece of mistletoe!
B. One of the delicacies the British have enjoyed for almost 900 years is the mince pie. This is a sort of small cake with a delicious mixture of spices and fruit. It was the Crusaders who introduced it when they brought back new aromatic spices from the Holy Land. In the 17th century Oliver Cromwell tried to ban the eating of mince pies (as well as singing of carols) — but people continued to eat (and sing) in secret.
C. Christmas Day is a family day when families try to be together. In past years, the Queen has broadcast a radio message from her study at Sandringham House. Since 1959 she has been recording her message every year some weeks before Christmas, so it could be broadcast on Christmas Day by radio in all parts of the British Commonwealth.
D. In the USA many towns have a public tree place in some square or park or outside the town hall. This custom began first in America when an illuminated tree was set up in 1909 in Pasadena, California. Now we can observe the ceremony of putting up the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in the heart of New York City, as well as in the main square of every town in the country. The nation’s main Christmas tree is set up in Washington, D.C. on the parade ground near the White House. A few days before Christmas the President of the United States presses a button to light the tree. This is the signal for lighting trees across the land.
E. The custom of breaking a wishbone (of a chicken or turkey) comes from the Romans who used them for fortune telling. They examined the bones of sacrificed birds, which they thought were messengers from their gods. Looking for signs of future events, they broke the wishbone and the person with the longest piece could make a wish which may bring him luck or good fortune.
F. Christmas in Australia is not like anywhere else since December is one of the hottest months of the year. But the Australians have a great time anyway. Those who live near the coast go to the beach on Christmas day. They have a swim, play cricket or volleyball, surf or just sit around with family and friends enjoying Christmas dinner. Santa Claus arrives on a surfboard — quite a change from sliding down a chimney!
G. Christmas caroling is particularly popular in Wales where it is called eisteddfodde and is often accompanied by a harp. In some rural areas a villager is chosen to be the Mari Lwyd. This person travels around the town dressed in white and carrying a horse’s skull on a long pole. Anyone given the ‘bite’ by the horse’s jaws must pay a fine.
A – 4
B – 6
C – 1
D – 8
E – 5
F – 3
G – 7