原标题：美国文化 Labour Day
Chapter Eleven: Easter
Easter is a very important Christian festivity. People celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his death.
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon in March. This is between 22 March and 25 April. The origin of the English word Easter is uncertain . It probably comes from the pagan goddess of spring, Eostre.
The pagans celebrated the arrival of spring with special festivals.
The Christian Easter slowly replaced the pagan festivals, but some symbols of the spring festivals remained, such as flowers, eggs, rabbits and bunnies . The tradition of the Easter basket is ancient. The pagans offered their eggs in grass baskets to the goddess Eostre.
In Britain and in the United States it is usual to send Easter cards to friends and relatives. For most Christian families Easter morning begins with a church service. Some Easter services begin very early in the morning. Others take place out of doors in a garden or park.
Easter is a time for Christians to be happy and there is special music in the churches. It is possible to hear George Frederick Handel's "Messiah" during some Easter services.
Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah To celebrate Easter and the arrival of spring almost everyone wears something new: a new dress, a new suit, new shoes.
Before Easter Day American and British children paint Easter eggs with bright colours and designs. Coloured eggs were exchanged at ancient spring festivals. The egg is an ancient symbol of life and fertility . The decoration of Easter eggs began in England during the Middle Ages. Members of noble families gave one another gold-covered eggs as Easter presents!
On Easter Day in the United States. There is the traditional Easter egg hunt in every city and town. Parents tell their children that the Easter bunny hid many eggs in the park. The children must find the hidden eggs. Eggs are hidden in the grass, in a shrub or under a tree. When the children find the eggs they put them in colourful Easter baskets. The child with the biggest number of eggs is the winner.
The tradition of the Easter bunny and the basket of eggs was introduced by German immigrants long ago.
On Easter Monday children roll their eggs down a hill.
Egg rolling is an ancient Easter tradition. The first egg that reaches the bottom of the hill without breaking is the winner.
A famous egg-rolling contest takes place outside the White House in Washington DC on Easter Monday. The President of the United States invites children to roll eggs on the lawn of the White House.
At Easter time there are chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies and sugar eggs in all sweet shops. Some eggs are personalized with a name on them.
Hot Cross Buns are a special Easter food. They are small sweet cakes with a cross on top. This cross represents Christ's death on the cross. The buns are usually eaten in Britain on Good Friday.
In many American cities and towns there is an Easter Bonnet Parade.
Girls and women with funny and bizarre Easter bonnets march in the parade. Most women make their own bonnets. There is a prize for the most original. The most famous Easter Bonnet Parade is in New York City, on Fifth Avenue. Thousands of people participate !
In 1933 the great American composer Irving Berlin wrote a song about the Easter Bonnet Parade. Here is a verse:
"In your Easter bonnet With all the frills upon it You'll be the grandest lady In the Easter parade."
Families usually spend Easter Day together. The traditional Easter meal consists of roast lamb, peas, new potatoes and eggs in many forms.
Chapter Twelve: May Day
On the first day of May we celebrate the arrival of spring and warm weather. Everyone is happy to say goodbye to winter and to welcome spring.
Flowers bloom , leaves grow and baby animals are born in spring.
The May Day festival originated in the Roman Empire in about 258 BC.
It was a festivity in honour of Flora, the goddess of flowers and spring.
When the Romans invaded Britain the festivity was celebrated by the Britons too.
The ancient Celts celebrated spring the night before May Day. This festival was called Beltane. The Druids made big fires on top of the hills.
The Celts sat around the fires and ate, sang songs and danced happily.
In central Scotland Beltane is still an important festival. In the Middle Ages May Day was one of the merriest festivities in Britain. People went into the forest after midnight to pick flowers and plants. They returned the next morning and put the leaves and flowers in their hair. There was music,singing and dancing all day.
The most important event of the day was the dance around the Maypole.
The most beautiful young woman of the village became the Queen of the May. There were Morris dances too.
In Britain May Day is a public holiday and it is celebrated on the first Monday in May. It is not a public holiday in the United States.
In Britain and the United States there are still traditional Maypole dances on May Day. People in costumes dance around the Maypole. The Maypole is decorated with many coloured ribbons. The coloured ribbons represent the sun's rays and form a design on the Maypole.
In Britain many people in costumes do Morris dancing on May Day. They dance with bells and handkerchiefs. The tradition probably came from Spain in the 13th century when it was called Moorish dancing.
In the United States most elementary schools celebrate May Day with dances around the Maypole. In some American towns and universities there are May Day festivals. A young woman becomes the May Queen. Music,dancing around the Maypole and games are all part of the festival. There are beautiful floral decorations everywhere.
Part One: From San Francisco to London
When I was 27 years old, I worked in an office in San Francisco. I did my job well and my future was promising. I was alone in the world and I was happy. On Saturday afternoons I didn't work. I sailed my little sailboat on San Francisco Bay. One Saturday afternoon, I sailed out too far. The strong afternoon wind pushed my sailboat out of the bay, into the Pacific Ocean.
That night, when I had lost all hope, a small British brig saw me and took me on board. The brig was sailing to London. The voyage was long and stormy. I worked as a sailor to pay for my trip.
When I arrived in London, my clothes were old and dirty. I had only one dollar in my pocket. With this dollar, I ate and slept for the first twenty-four hours. During the next twenty-four hours, I didn't eat and I didn't sleep.
At about ten o'clock the following morning, I went to Portland Place. I saw a child walking past, holding a big pear. The child ate one small piece and then threw the pear onto the street.
I stopped and looked at it. I was very hungry and I really wanted that pear.
But every time I tried to get it, someone passed by and looked at me. I
quickly turned in the other direction and waited for the person to pass by. I tried again and again to get that pear, but the same thing happened. I was desperate . I decided to get the pear and not to worry about the people who saw me. At that moment, a gentleman opened a window behind me and said,"Come in here, please."
A well-dressed servant opened the door. He took me to a beautiful room.
Here, two old gentlemen were sitting and discussing something important.
Their breakfast was still on the table. I was very hungry and I stared at their breakfast.
I want to tell the reader that the two gentlemen had made a bet several days before. I knew nothing about the bet until later. Let me tell you what happened.
说起我们中国人民熟悉的国际劳动节International Workers' Day和美国的劳动节Labor Day，都离不开两个世纪前的特殊背景。
1864年国际工人协会建立，要求于1866年5月1日起实施八小时工作制 eight-hour day。世界各国的工人群体纷纷响应。随着1886年5月1日的到来，以老牌工业城市芝加哥为中心，美国工人们在全国各地举行了约35万人参加的大规模罢工和示威游行，要求改善劳动条件，实行八小时工作制。但不幸的是在芝加哥的抗议活动中爆发了流血冲突，最后劳工和警察都伤亡惨重，此事件也成为历史上闻名的「干草市广场惨案」Haymarket Affair。
而回到美国国内，劳动人民继续为实现八小时工作日努力。1894年5月，芝加哥又爆发了「普尔曼罢工」Pullman Strike事件，全国铁路交通陷入瘫痪，最高峰涉及27个州的大约25万工人。最后联邦政府出面，罢工才得以平息。为了安抚情绪高涨的工人团体，国会同年就通过了劳动节的立法。而日期却选择了九月第一个星期一以纪念1882年由「中央工会」Central Labor Union和「劳动骑士团」Knights of Labor在纽约市组织的美国历史上第一次“劳工节”万人游行活动。而到1935年罗斯福总统执政时，八小时工作制也在法律中正式确立。
Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September.
☑ labor 是 美式英语拼写
☑ n.劳动; 劳工
☑ labour 是 英式英语拼写
Labor Day is called the "unofficial end of summer" because it marks the end of the cultural summer season.