IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: Describe a festival in your country | DailyStep English

IELTS Speaking Test Part 2: Describe a festival in your country


Jane Lawson,  English Teacher at DailyStep EnglishHello, I'm Jane at DailyStep English.  

How can you describe your hometown for an IELTS speaking test?

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 The Festival of Christmas 

IELTS Speaking Test PART 2 Sample Question and Answer
by Jane Lawson at

Question: Describe a festival that is important in your country

You should say:

  • When the festival occurs
  • What you did during it
  • What you like or dislike about it
  • And explain why this festival is important



I think the main festival in my country is Christmas, which is in late December. The main day that is celebrated in the UK is Christmas Day, on 25th December, though we also have the day off the following day, on Boxing Day, when many people visit friends and extended family.

I spent last Christmas with my family, and will also spend this one there too. We all get together at my parents’ house, because it is large enough to host everyone. On Christmas morning, we start preparing the meal, as it takes a long time to cook! We put the turkey or goose in the oven, and then some of us go to church for a Christmas mass. The rest of us stay behind to carry on cooking. At around midday, we gather round the Christmas tree, which is decorated with baubles, tinsel, and fairy lights and we open our presents, which are all placed under the tree the night before. After that we have our Christmas dinner, which is always the same meal as it is a traditional feast.

I love nearly everything about Christmas. There is a sense of anticipation and excitement in the period leading up to Christmas, and then during the festival itself families and friends spend time together and most people have time off work. One thing I don’t like about Christmas is that it is very commercialised and it can be stressful getting ready for it!

This festival is important for many people, even for non-Christians. Many non-Christian people in the UK enjoy the festive season without attaching any religious significance to it. It is our only national holiday involving resting, feasting and the giving of gifts, and I think such times nurture our souls.

This sample answer took around 2 minutes, which is the maximum time you need to speak for without stopping in Part 2 of the IELTS speaking exam. Now, take a look at this week’s Audio Word Study to learn some useful phrases and conversation techniques for the Christmas and New Year periods.

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Here is Audio Word Study #083 on

Christmas and New Year are national holidays in many countries, and also important festivals when friends and family come together to celebrate. Of course, Christmas has religious significance but you can also refer to this period as ‘the festive season’, which does not have religious connotations. Let’s take a look at some useful phrases and conversation techniques related to Christmas and New Year.

To refer to a period of more than one day, we use the preposition OVER.
Over Christmas  means  during the Christmas period.
Over New Year  means during the New Year period.

To refer to an exact day or date, we use the preposition ON.
On Christmas Eve     =       24th December  (the twenty-fourth of December)
On Christmas Day     =       25th December  (the twenty-fifth of December)
On Boxing Day         =       26th December  (the twenty-sixth of December)
On New Year’s Eve   =       31st December   (the thirty-first of December)
On New Year’s Day  =       1st January        (the first of January)

The preposition AT can mean either a single day, or a period of days.
At Christmas means over Christmas or on Christmas Day.
At New Year means over New Year, on New Year’s Eve or on New Year’s Day

Now, here are some good ways of starting a conversation with a colleague, friend or neighbour around the festive season. Make sure you speak along with this audio file, so that you learn the correct intonation to sound friendly!

Before Christmas, you can say:.
1. What are you up to over Christmas? = How are you planning to spend Christmas = What are your plans at Christmas? 

2. Are you going away over Christmas or are you staying at home? = Will you be home at Christmas or are you going away?

3. Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? = Have you bought all your Christmas presents yet?

After Christmas, you can say:
4. What did you get up to over Christmas? = How did you spend Christmas? = What did you do over Christmas?

5. Did you go away at Christmas or did you stay at home? = Did you spend Christmas away or at home? = Where did you spend Christmas?

6. How was your Christmas? = Did you have a good Christmas?

7. Did you get any nice presents for Christmas? = What did you get for Christmas?

Before New Year, you can say:
8. What are you up to over New Year? = How are you planning to spend New Year? = What are your plans over New Year?

9. Are you going to a New Year’s Eve party? = Are you going out to a party on New Year’s Eve or are you staying in?

10. Are you going to make any New Year resolutions?  = Are you planning any New Year resolutions?

After New Year, you can say:
11. What did you get up to over New Year? = How did you spend New Year? = What did you do at New Year?

12. Did you go out or stay in on New Year’s Eve? = Were you at a party or at home on New Year’s Eve

13. Have you made any New Year’s resolutions?  = What are your New Year resolutions?

Now, read and listen to this Audio Word Study again, and try speaking along with the audio file. Then go and start some conversations in English using these phrases!

That’s all for Audio Word Study #083 on

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