christmas by lanyuehua

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									                               Christmas Traditions and Music
                                      Shelley Gollust

     (THEME)

     ANNCR:

    Millions of Americans will celebrate Christmas on December Twenty-Fifth. It is the most
widely-celebrated religious holiday in the United States. For the past few weeks, Americans have
been preparing for Christmas. I'm Bob Doughty. Shirley Griffith and Ray Freeman tell us about
American Christmas traditions and music on the V-O-A Special English program, THIS IS
AMERICA.

     (MUSIC: "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen")

     VOICE ONE:

     People have been buying gifts to give to family members and friends. They have been filling
homes and stores with evergreen trees and bright, colored lights. They have been going to parties
and preparing special Christmas foods. Many people think Christmas is the most wonderful time
of the year. Johnny Mathis thinks so, too.

     (MUSIC: "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year")

     VOICE TWO:

     Many Christians will go to church the night before the holiday or on Christmas Day. They
will celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Christian ministers will speak about the
need for peace and understanding in the world. This is the spiritual message of Christmas. Church
services will include traditional religious songs for the holiday.

     One of the most popular is this one, "Silent Night." Here it is sung by Joan Baez.

     (MUSIC)

     VOICE ONE:

     Many other Americans will celebrate Christmas as an important, but non-religious, holiday.
To all, however, it is a special day of family, food, and exchanging gifts.

     Christmas is probably the most special day of the year for children. One thing that makes it
special is the popular tradition of Santa Claus.

     Young children believe that Santa Claus is a fat, kind, old man in a red suit with white fur.
They believe that -- on the night before Christmas -- he travels through the air in a sleigh pulled by
reindeer. He enters each house from the top by sliding down the hole in the fireplace. He leaves
gifts for the children under the Christmas tree.

     Here, Bruce Springsteen sings about Santa Claus.

     (MUSIC: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town")

     VOICE TWO:

     Americans spend a lot of time and money buying Christmas presents. The average American
family spends about eight-hundred dollars. Stores and shopping centers are crowded at this time of
year. More than twenty percent of all goods sold during the year are sold during the weeks before
Christmas. This is good for stores and for the American economy.

     VOICE ONE:

     Some people object to all this spending. They say it is not the real meaning of Christmas. So,
they celebrate in other ways. For example, they make Christmas presents, instead of buying them.
Or they volunteer to help serve meals to people who have no homes. Or they give money to
organizations that help poor people in the United States and around the world.

     VOICE TWO:

     Home and family are the center of the Christmas holiday. For many people, the most
enjoyable tradition is buying a Christmas tree and decorating it with lights and beautiful objects.
On Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, people gather around the tree to open their presents.

     Another important Christmas tradition involves food. Families prepare many kinds of holiday
foods, especially sweets. They eat these foods on the night before Christmas and on Christmas
day.

    For many people, Christmas means traveling long distances to be with their families. Peabo
Bryson and Roberta Flack sing about this holiday tradition.

     (MUSIC: "I'll Be Home for Christmas")

     VOICE ONE:

     Another Christmas tradition is to go "caroling." A group of people walks along the street. At
each house, they stop and sing a Christmas song, called a carol. Student groups also sing carols at
schools and shopping centers. Let us listen to the choir of Trinity Church in Boston sing "Carol of
the Bells."
     (MUSIC)

     VOICE TWO:

      Not everyone in the United States celebrates Christmas. Members of the Jewish and Muslim
religions, for example, generally do not. Jewish people celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah. And
some black Americans observe another holiday, Kwanzaa. Yet many Americans do take part in
some of the traditional performances of the season. One of the most popular is a story told in
dance: "The Nutcracker" ballet. The music was written by Russian composer Peter Ilich
Tchaikovsky in Eighteen-Ninety One.

     VOICE ONE:

     The ballet is about a young girl named Clara. Clara is celebrating Christmas with her family
and friends. One of her Christmas presents is a little device to open nuts -- a nutcracker. It is
shaped like a toy soldier. She dreams that the nutcracker comes to life as a good-looking prince.

     Professional dance groups in many American cities perform the ballet at this time of year.
They often use students from local ballet schools to dance the part of Clara and the other children
in the story. This gives parents a chance to see their children perform.

     VOICE TWO:

     We leave you with "The Waltz of the Flowers" from "The Nutcracker." It is played by the
Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Eugene Ormandy.

     (MUSIC)

     VOICE ONE:

    Today's program was written by Shelley Gollust. It was produced and directed by Lawan
Davis. I'm Shirley Griffith.

     (MUSIC)

     VOICE TWO:

     And I'm Ray Freeman. Join us again next week for another report about life in the United
States on the V-O-A Special English program, THIS IS AMERICA.

								
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