CHRISTMAS IN AUSTRALIA

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             Most Australians have been dreaming of a white Christ­mas for centuries. But the traditional European Christmas is just a myth for Australians. Santas wearing thick woollen clothes don’t fit with Australia’s thirty-degree heat. Thank­fully things are changing fast. Now they have their own Christ­mas, Australian style.

             Australia is a country which is largely made up of desert and sandy beaches. For the first settlers, two hundred years ago, a plate of corned meat and a mug of billy tea might have been the best Christmas dinner available. As a new nation de­veloped and grew richer, people tried to recreate the kind of Christmas that they used to have in Europe.

            Christmas in Australia happens in the summer. However, we tried our best to deny the reality of a summer Christmas. In the class-room, children learned songs like Frosty the Snow­man and Jingle Bells. Up until recently, the only Christmas cards published portrayed white winter Christmases. All this was a bit ridiculous in a country where 80 per cent of the land has never witnessed a snowflake, even in winter.

            However, the last ten years have witnessed some big chan­ges in the Australian lifestyle. Many Australians now believe that the country should break its connections with Britain and the British Queen.

           Now Australians see themselves as inhabitants of the Asia Pacific region. So now Christmas has got an Australian iden­tity.

           It’s rare to find a flake of snow on Christmas cards these days. Now the publishers print Christmas cards with native Australian animals and landscape scenes of the Australian bush.

           On Christmas day you’ll find a large percentage of kids on the beach playing with their new surfboards, building sand- castles rather than snowmen. Indeed one of the most typical Australian Christmas presents is a beach towel.

           It’s not only with food and gifts that Australian Christ­mases differ from European ones. Because of the weather, the atmosphere of Christmas is different.

           Instead of being a serious time where most families are in­doors, Australians are usually outdoors in shorts and T-shirts, taking a cold six-pack of beer to a friend’s barbecue. There are loads of summer festivals with people celebrating Christmas in carnival style.

           What is unique though is something that most Australians are starting to dream of. That is a Christmas of sunshine, surf and sand. Although to many Europeans this may seem strange, to many Australians it’s now the only Christmas worth drea­ming of.

 

 

 

               QUESTIONS:

 

1.      What have most Australians been dreaming of for cen­turies?

2.      Who doesn’t fit with Australia’s thirty-degree heat?

3.      What did people try to recreate?

4.      What did Christmas cards portray up until recently?

5.      What do the publishers print Christmas cards with?

6.      What is one of the most typical Australian Christmas presents?

7.      What do Australians do on Christmas day?

 

 

VOCABULARY:

 

myth — миф

desert — пустыня

to recreate — развлекаться

to portray — изображать, рисовать

snowflake — снежинка

to dream of — мечтать о (чем-либо)

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