IGNIS Winter 2017-2018 - Page 13

IGNIS Young Reporter rations in the USA In the United States, Thanksgiving, at the end of November, marks a major family holiday weekend. Then, commercially, the day aft er Thanksgiving, Christmas kicks off with a major unoffi cial holiday: Black Friday, known for the chaos caused by promotional sales from many major retailers. It starts the Christmas shopping period and has been the busiest shopping day in the USA in the entire year since 2005. As time goes on, it becomes more hectic and more and more well known. There have been reports of violence, injuries and deaths due to stampedes. Billions of dollars are spent during this 4-day weekend, encouraging retailers to go to greater measures to get customers through the door. Some stores are starting to open their doors from midnight to midnight. Aft er the chaos of Black Friday, December brings Christmas, celebrated by non-religious people as a time for family and by Christians as commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. First is the period of Advent, spread over the four Sundays before Christmas Day. Advent means ‘coming’ in Latin, and Christians use this time for spiritual preparation, remembering the meaning of Christmas (Jesus coming into the world for us). Following the winter solstice, December 24th, Christmas Eve, marks the end of the advent period and, in some countries, workers get the day off to do last minute preparations for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Carolling, hanging stockings or pillowcases, hanging ivy, holly or mistletoe and of course decorating a tree are some of the main customs done on Christmas Eve. IGNIS 13