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VOA慢速英语20061222b

时间:2007-01-01 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:shimianmaifu   字体: [ ]
    (单词翻译:双击或拖选)

Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC1, in VOA Special English.

(MUSIC)

I'm Doug Johnson. On our special holiday show this week:

We answer a question about why Christmas is celebrated2 on December twenty-fifth ...

Play some music from new holiday albums ...

And report about an unusual holiday.

Festivus

Every December, many Americans celebrate holidays. Christians4 have Christmas, Jews have Hanukkah and many African鈥揂mericans observe Kwanzaa. Some people also celebrate a holiday that began on a television show. Faith Lapidus explains Festivus.

FAITH LAPIDUS:

A man named Dan O'Keefe created Festivus and started celebrating it in the nineteen sixties. O'Keefe's son Daniel became a writer for the American television comedy show Seinfeld. He wrote a show about Festivus that was first broadcast on Seinfeld in December of nineteen ninety-seven. He also wrote a book about it. The Real Festivus was published in two thousand five.


Frank Costanza (played by Jerry Stiller) with a Festivus pole

On the television show, the character Frank Costanza invents Festivus. He does so to protest that Christmas has lost meaning and has become nothing more than a time to shop.

He celebrates Festivus on December twenty-third. He uses an aluminum5 pole instead of a Christmas tree. People gather at someone's house and tell each other all the ways they have been disappointed in the past year. They eat a holiday dinner. Then two of them test their strength by fighting with each other.

One of the main ideas of Festivus is that people of all religions can celebrate it. Frank Costanza explains on Seinfeld:

(SOUND)

The Washington Post newspaper recently listed some ways Americans are celebrating Festivus for real. For example, it says about four hundred people are expected to attend a Festivus party on Saturday in Springfield, Illinois.

In New York City, the Pink Pony6 restaurant held a Festivus party earlier this month. The Grape Ranch7 in Okemah, Oklahoma, celebrated Festivus with a party on December sixteenth. The Grape Ranch also produces a Festivus wine.

And shoppers in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, can attend a Festivus marketplace. They can give away gifts they have received that they do not like.

December Twenty-Fifth

HOST:

Our VOA listener question this week comes from Vietnam. Dinh Cong Huy wants to know why Christmas is celebrated on December twenty-fifth.

That is the day Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, whom they believe was the son of God. But history and religious experts say there is no evidence that the man known as Jesus was born in December. In fact, the Christian3 Bible says nothing about when he was born or that his birth should be celebrated.


Painting of a Saturnalia celebration

Experts say the reason for celebrating the birth of Jesus in December came from festivals in ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks honored their god Bacchus on or about December twenty-first each year. The Romans honored their god Saturn8 for seven days beginning December seventeenth. The Romans observed Saturnalia by closing businesses, attending parties and giving gifts.

Another important part of the celebration was using light to frighten away dark spirits. History experts note that these holidays came at the same time of the year as the day with the shortest period of daylight. That day is called the winter solstice. The ancient calendar said it was December twenty-fifth.

Experts say the winter solstice was an important part of all societies because the sun is at its lowest point. Ancient people believed that the gods must defeat evil forces for the sun's light to return.

People in the Roman Empire in the fourth century celebrated festivals honoring the sun on December twenty-fifth. Roman Emperor Constantine celebrated such a sun festival. He became a Christian shortly before he died more than one thousand six hundred years ago.

The Christian Church within the Roman Empire took the date of the sun festival, December twenty-fifth, as the date for Christmas. Not all Christians did this, however. In areas using a different calendar, Christmas was celebrated in January. Some Christian churches today celebrate Christmas on January sixth.

Experts say many Christmas traditions began as Christian attempts to gain religious followers9. These early Christians accepted the traditions of other groups. For example, the Norsemen of Scandinavia celebrated a sun festival in which they burned fires and placed green plants in their homes. Many Christians today place evergreen10 trees in their homes as part of the holiday celebration.

You can hear more about modern Christmas traditions and music on the Special English program THIS IS AMERICA on Monday.

Holiday Music

Popular singers and musicians release special holiday albums for the Christmas season. Barbara Klein tells us about some of the new albums this year.

BARBARA KLEIN:


Sarah McLaughlin's Wintersong

Grammy award winning singer Sarah McLaughlin released her first ever album of Christmas music, Wintersong. It offers quiet and serious music for the holiday season. Here, Sarah MacLaughlin sings Christmas Time is Here. Diana Krall is playing the piano.

(MUSIC)

Another new Christmas album is from country singer Brad Paisley. His album is called Brad Paisley Christmas. Critics say it is a good mix of new and traditional holiday songs. Here is Brad Paisley singing Winter Wonderland.

(MUSIC)

Still another new Christmas album is from Bette Midler. It is called Cool Yule. Her collection includes both serious and funny Christmas songs.

She sings one song in the language of Hawaii -- the state where Midler was born. We leave you now with Bette Midler singing Mele Kalikimaka. It means Merry Christmas.

(MUSIC)

HOST:

I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our special holiday program today.

It was written by Nancy Steinbach. Caty Weaver11 was the producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, www.unsv.com.

Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA's radio magazine in Special English. And all of us in Special English wish all of you a happy holiday!


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 mosaic CEExS     
n./adj.镶嵌细工的,镶嵌工艺品的,嵌花式的
参考例句:
  • The sky this morning is a mosaic of blue and white.今天早上的天空是幅蓝白相间的画面。
  • The image mosaic is a troublesome work.图象镶嵌是个麻烦的工作。
2 celebrated iwLzpz     
adj.有名的,声誉卓著的
参考例句:
  • He was soon one of the most celebrated young painters in England.不久他就成了英格兰最负盛名的年轻画家之一。
  • The celebrated violinist was mobbed by the audience.观众团团围住了这位著名的小提琴演奏家。
3 Christian KVByl     
adj.基督教徒的;n.基督教徒
参考例句:
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
4 Christians 28e6e30f94480962cc721493f76ca6c6     
n.基督教徒( Christian的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • Christians of all denominations attended the conference. 基督教所有教派的人都出席了这次会议。
  • His novel about Jesus caused a furore among Christians. 他关于耶稣的小说激起了基督教徒的公愤。
5 aluminum 9xhzP     
n.(aluminium)铝
参考例句:
  • The aluminum sheets cannot be too much thicker than 0.04 inches.铝板厚度不能超过0.04英寸。
  • During the launch phase,it would ride in a protective aluminum shell.在发射阶段,它盛在一只保护的铝壳里。
6 pony Au5yJ     
adj.小型的;n.小马
参考例句:
  • His father gave him a pony as a Christmas present.他父亲给了他一匹小马驹作为圣诞礼物。
  • They made him pony up the money he owed.他们逼他还债。
7 ranch dAUzk     
n.大牧场,大农场
参考例句:
  • He went to work on a ranch.他去一个大农场干活。
  • The ranch is in the middle of a large plateau.该牧场位于一个辽阔高原的中部。
8 Saturn tsZy1     
n.农神,土星
参考例句:
  • Astronomers used to ask why only Saturn has rings.天文学家们过去一直感到奇怪,为什么只有土星有光环。
  • These comparisons suggested that Saturn is made of lighter materials.这些比较告诉我们,土星由较轻的物质构成。
9 followers 5c342ee9ce1bf07932a1f66af2be7652     
追随者( follower的名词复数 ); 用户; 契据的附面; 从动件
参考例句:
  • the followers of Mahatma Gandhi 圣雄甘地的拥护者
  • The reformer soon gathered a band of followers round him. 改革者很快就获得一群追随者支持他。
10 evergreen mtFz78     
n.常青树;adj.四季常青的
参考例句:
  • Some trees are evergreen;they are called evergreen.有的树是常青的,被叫做常青树。
  • There is a small evergreen shrub on the hillside.山腰上有一小块常绿灌木丛。
11 weaver LgWwd     
n.织布工;编织者
参考例句:
  • She was a fast weaver and the cloth was very good.她织布织得很快,而且布的质量很好。
  • The eager weaver did not notice my confusion.热心的纺织工人没有注意到我的狼狈相。
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