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Culture

CD2 Tracks 30

What is the most important festival in your country?

Do you think this festival will still be as important in the future?

Tell me how weddings are celebrated in your country.

What are some forms of traditional dancing in your country?

What is the most important festival in your country?
Our most important festival is without doubt Christmas. We all look forward to it for months, buying presents for our loved ones and decorating our homes, It’s magical for everyone but for children especially. When we knew Father Christmas was about to visit, my sister
Samantha and I were always too excited to sleep.

Do you think this festival will still be as important in the future?
Yes, I think so. I think people often forget the true meaning of Christmas, though – I mean, » they don’t think about the story of the birth of Jesus – and in the future they’ll probably remember it even less. They see it more as a time for buying and receiving presents.

Tell me how weddings are celebrated in your country.
Well, the wedding party is the most interesting bit. After the ceremony, everyone has a huge meal and then dances all night, sometimes to traditional music played by a band, sometimes just to pop music played by a OJ. I prefer the traditional music because you can hear pop music any time, and the old, traditional songs have so much meaning and history behind them. The older generation always know all the words so they sing along!

What are some forms of traditional dancing in your country?
Folk dancing is quite popular, even among young people, The dancers wear traditional costume, which looks beautiful. My favourite is a circle dance performed by women, but there’s also a marching dance and a couple dance. I’m afraid I don’t know anything about the choreography of these dances, I just know I like watching them.

CD2 Tracks 31 & 32

Our most important festival is without doubt Christmas. We all look forward to it for months, buying presents for our loved ones and decorating our homes. It’s magical for everyone but for children especially. When we knew Father Christmas was about to visit, my sister Samantha and I were always too excited to sleep.

CD2 Tracks 33-36

See pages 82-83 for text.

CD2 Tracks 37

I love Guy Fawkes Night. It’s a British celebration held on 5th November every year. The origins of it are really fascinating, a story of intrigue and deception. In 1605, Guy Fawkes planted some gunpowder under the Houses of Parliament. He wanted to blow up the government and the King, but he was caught. He was tortured and executed for treason.

People lit bonfires to celebrate the fact that King James had survived, and the government made the day a national day of thanksgiving. People still light bonfires to this day, and for this reason, the festival is sometimes called Bonfire Night. A cloth ‘Guy’ is put on top of the bonfire and burned. People also set off fireworks in their back gardens or they attend public firework displays.

When I was younger, my dad would set off fireworks in our garden and I would be terrified. They were so loud they made me jump! But I had to try and hide it because he had gone to a lot of trouble to prepare and light the fireworks for us. Our cat hated Bonfire Night and would hide behind the sofa for hours on end!

I love this festival for many reasons, Firstly, it brings some colour and excitement to an otherwise very dark time of year, Then, I love the story behind it. It’s so much more fascinating than the stories behind other festivals, Last but not least, I love the fact that it’s a major celebration that is particular to the British. I don’t think the British are too good at
national celebrations, probably a result of our Puritan past. But the 5th of November is a valued exception.

It also amuses me that while the French celebrate Bastille Day, the anniversary of when revolutionaries stormed the Bastille Prison representing royal authority, we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, the anniversary of when a plan to kill the King failed and the status quo was upheld. It says quite a lot about the differences between our cultures.

Do you think everyone in Britain knows about the origins of the festival?
Yes, I do. There’s even a rhyme to help you remember: Remember, remember the 5th of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

CD2 Tracks 38

This year, I’m spending New Year with my boyfriend’s family. We’re arriving on 28th December and staying till 4th January. I’m really looking forward to it.

CD2 Tracks 39-43

See pages 84-86 for text.

CD2 Track 44

Are historical sites in your country popular with visitors?

Is it more important to preserve historical sites or make way for the developments of the future?

What do you think will happen to your country’s historical sites in the future?

What is ‘culture’ for you?

Do you think that it is important for a society or culture to have a sense of continuity with the past?

How will your country’s culture have changed in fifty years’ time?

Are historical sites in your country popular with visitors?
They seem to be very popular, yes, The last time I went to visit a historical site myself, I was struck by the number of families there with young children, I don’t think these sites are popular with young couples, necessarily, but it looks to me as though when those couples have children they suddenly develop a new appreciation for those places and I suppose they think that finding out about the history of their region and country is an important component in bringing up their children,

Is it more important to preserve historical sites or make way for the developments of the future?
When a developer wants to build a new shopping centre in my country, for example, they are obliged to conduct an archeological survey. If any remains are found, archeologists have to be given time to study it. I think this is marvellous. So I think old and new can work side by
side and you don’t necessarily have to choose between them.

What do you think will happen to your country’s historical sites in the future?
I think many of them will continue to be given funding because people realise that you can make lots of money by attracting visitors to historical sites, On the other hand, some are so dilapidated that they require enormous amounts of investment and I’m not sure they will
survive into the future – some old manor houses, for example.

What is ‘culture’ for you?
Culture can be defined as the way of life of a particular society or section of society, It involves their customs and traditions, and so in some senses culture is what distinguishes us from others, what makes us unique. I think culture is also what connects us to our past, to our heritage. We mustn’t forget modern culture either, though. Youth culture is often very
vibrant and powerful, with its new and inventive forms of music, dress and art.

Do you think that it is important for a society or culture to have a sense of continuity with the past?
Yes, definitely. Change is necessary, but it is also frightening. For this reason, people continue to rely on their traditions to give them a sense of their roots and to remind them of where they’ve come from. Commemorating the past is also a way of bringing people together, such as during Independence Day,

How will your country’s culture have changed in fifty years’ time?
We are becoming more and more multicultural, so I’m not sure that all of our traditions will survive in their current form , For example, can we continue to regard Christmas as our major annual celebration if perhaps half of the country does not have Christianity as its religion? It would be a shame to lose our traditions, However, if that is indeed the case, something new will I’m sure have replaced them in fifty years’ time. And maybe it is better to develop new customs and celebrations that more accurately reflect modern society.

VOCABULARY

Reference: Collins Speaking for IELTS

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