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Presidents’ Day

Febbraio 2014
Buon compleanno, George Washington! Il terzo lunedì di febbraio gli americani festeggiano il compleanno del loro primo presidente. Washington, in realtà, nacque il 22 del mese, ma si è scelto un giorno convenzionale per celebrare l’evento, che è simbolicamente divenuto la festa di tutti i presidenti.

di Talitha Linehan

File audio:

Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore

Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent)

“Happy Birthday, Mr. President!” This is a song that Marilyn Monroe sang at a birthday party for President John F. Kennedy in 1962. This month people all over America will be singing “Happy Birthday” to their first president, George Washington, on Washington’s Birthday.
Washington’s Birthday is a holiday that takes place on the third Monday of February. It is better known as Presidents’ Day.

BY GEORGE

George Washington is a man who doesn’t need an introduction. He was one of America’s Founding Fathers and became its first president in 1789. Washington’s Birthday became a holiday just over 100 years later. For many years Washington’s Birthday was on his real birthday, on February 22nd. In 1971, however, it moved to the third Monday in February. After this   people started to see the holiday in a new way. They stopped calling it “Washington’s Birthday” and started calling it “Presidents’ Day.” And so the holiday changed, from being a day to celebrate one president to being a day to celebrate all presidents.

PATRIOTIC

Today Americans celebrate Presidents’ Day in many ways. They fly the American flag and wear its colours; red, white and blue. They visit museums to learn about their country’s history. And they go to special events, where people read famous presidential speeches and re-enact famous events, like the signing of the Constitution.

BURGERS

Of course, Americans also do the thing they do best – they have fun! Family and friends get together to watch special holiday sports games on TV. Some people have a presidential potluck. That’s a party where everyone brings a president’s favourite dish. It could be George Washington’s favourite cake, cherry pie, or Bill Clinton’s favourite fast food, cheeseburgers! Presidents’ Day is also a great day to go shopping. Most shops have special sales on the day. They reduce the price of everything from clothes to cars by up to 50 per cent. In the past shops closed on Presidents’ Day. But now the holiday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

OLD STYLE

People in some parts of America still celebrate George Washington’s birthday on Presidents’ Day. The city of Alexandria in Virginia, where Washington lived, has the country’s biggest Washington Birthday parade. The parade has taken place every year since 1923. It has huge floats, horses, wagons, marching bands and performers, who dance and sing on the streets of the city that the first president called home. 


FUNNY FACTS

The President of the United States is one of the world’s most powerful people, but that doesn’t stop him from doing some very strange things. Here are 10 examples:

The 1st president, George Washington, made the shortest inauguration speech ever. It was less than two minutes long.

The 6th president, John Adams, went skinny-dipping in a river every morning.

The 7th president, Andrew Jackson, participated in about 100 duels, often to defend his wife’s honour. Someone shot him at two of these duels, but he survived.

The 17th president, Andrew Johnson, was drunk at his inauguration.
The 20th president, James Garfield, could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other hand – at the same time!

The 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, was the first president to have electricity at the White House. But his workers had to turn the lights on and off because he was afraid to touch the switches.

The son of the 31st president, Herbert Hoover, had two pet alligators that sometimes ran around the White House.

The 32nd president, Franklin Roosevelt, wore dresses until he was five.

The 39th president, Jimmy Carter, once reported seeing a UFO.


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Explains

Just over 100 years later. Circa 100 anni dopo. Over (letteralmente “sopra”) è un modo per dire more than, mentre under (letteralmente sotto) è un’alternativa a less than. Just over 100 years later significa letteralmente “appena sopra i 100 anni dopo”, cioè poco più di 100 anni dopo.