Describe an important holiday that is celebrated in your country


In IELTS speaking, you might be asked khổng lồ talk about festivals. This could occur in any of the three parts of the chạy thử, but today we will look at part two, & in particular a cue card that says “describe an important festival in your country.”

In this lesson, I will show you how to lớn analyse the cue thẻ, think of ideas, structure your answer, pick the right vocabulary, & then I will give sầu you my own sample answer lớn this question.

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The Cue Card – Describe an Important Festival in your Country

First of all, let’s look at the cue card. It is important to lớn note that it is impossible khổng lồ predict cue cards, but we can look at old ones in order to underst& what is required and what you might need khổng lồ do in your next test.

Describe an important festival in your country.

You should say:

– what it is

– what the significance of it is

– how people celebrate this festival

và describe why this is an important festival in your country.

This is the cue card that we will use today, but remember that there are others. It might say “describe an international festival” or “describe a festival from a foreign country.” You must read it carefully before answering.


Analyse the Cue Card

When you first look at a cue card lượt thích this, you need lớn pay attention khổng lồ the first line và identify the most important words. Here, the most important word is “festival” and then the next most important are “important” và “your country.” These two give you the specific details.

But what does “festival” mean exactly?

The Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary gives two meanings. The first is related to putting on a performance:

a series of special events, performances, etc that often takes place over several days

The second is more traditional & religious:

a special day or period when people celebrate something, especially a religious event

As you can see, there are two aspects khổng lồ consider. However, you just need khổng lồ pichồng one thing & it should fall into lớn either of these categories.

Here are some ideas:

10 Strange Festivals from Around the World from David Wills

This ppt was one that I used with my students when I taught at a university in Đài Loan Trung Quốc. 😄 Don’t you love recycling?

How to Generate Ideas for IELTS Speaking

Once you have sầu understood the question, you should very quickly make a choice. This is because you have just one minute khổng lồ plan your answer & you should talk for up to lớn two minutes.

For me, I would choose the Edinburgh Festival, which is a big festival in my country, Scotlvà. I actually don’t know much about it because I have sầu never been! However, it is the biggest và most famous one, so I think it would be possible to talk about it.

When it comes khổng lồ generating ideas for IELTS, you should spkết thúc some time thinking carefully in the writing test… but speaking doesn’t afford such luxuries. You have sầu khổng lồ be quick. Once you have chosen, you need to lớn think about what you will say. Partly this will be free-size when you start talking, but a little advanced planning can help you.

Making Notes

I always tell my IELTS students not to make many notes for speaking part 2. This is because you simply don’t have time to write much down. You should only write down a few significant words. For example, words you might want to lớn remember, important ideas, the order of things you will discuss… These can all really help you lớn talk more easily.

I might write something like:

hard khổng lồ definebiggest arts festivaldifferent venuesunpleasantly crowded

These words mean little lớn most people but they could help me to structure my answer. I could also just follow the structure on the cue card, but sometimes that can result in a slightly unnatural order, with awkward transitions between different parts.

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Remember: You are not actually required to talk about everything on the cue thẻ. These are just ideas that you can include. However, I vì think it’s a good idea to try & follow it as a loose guide.


Language for Describing Festivals

As I have said many times before, it’s a little difficult khổng lồ teach certain vocabulary because your answer will totally change the required words. For example, I am going to talk about the Edinburgh Festival, which means I’ll talk about stand-up comedy, street performers, và people travelling from around the world lớn see this arts festival.

If you are talking about a religious festival, you might need to lớn talk about worshippers, sacred objects, family traditions, beliefs, & whatnot. This would require very different language from my festival, which is secular.

However, it is important think about grammar. You will most likely talk in the present simple tense because this is what we use for general truths & repeated actions. This is the right tense for festivals:

People travel from all over the world khổng lồ see these performers.Families gather & pay their respects.It is normal to stay up all night & watch the sunrise.

Don’t forget that you can make these descriptions more vivid with the careful use of adjectives and adverbs. Picture a scene in your head & then use these descriptive words khổng lồ bring out the details. Talk about:


All of this can bring more depth to lớn your answer and show the examiner your range of vocabulary.

Sample Answer

Here’s how I would answer this cue card:


The most important festival in Scotlvà is the Edinburgh Festival, which is held each year in the summer months. It is actually quite a hard festival khổng lồ define because it is an arts festival with no entry criteria, & it changes in length and content each year. However, I think this is apt because art should not be strictly defined and regulated.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotl& và this festival is its biggest sự kiện. In fact, it is the biggest arts festival in the world and the third biggest ticketed sự kiện on the planet, after the World Cup và the Olympics. This has brought great attention lớn Scotland & has been a huge contributor to lớn the culture & economy of the country.

The festival is a collection of performances that take place in different venues across the city. These could be almost any style of art, but stand-up comedy is probably the most comtháng one. You also see a lot of musicians, dancers, và other performers.

People travel from all across the world lớn watch or participate, & many great performers used this platsize to launch their career. As such, it is a very famous and respected festival. However, amuốn local people it is actually considered a good time to leave the đô thị as it can become unpleasantly crowded.


My answer here has mostly covered the topics on the cue card but I have tried to lớn structure it a little more naturally. My language is quite simple, but I have used appropriate words và phrases.

Note my introductory phrase:

The most important festival in ___ is ____, which is held each year in ___.

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You could easily use this as a mã sản phẩm for beginning this sort of answer, filling it in with the appropriate details for your chosen festival.

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