27 апреля 2015
This week we are celebrating May Day!
copyright of protectbritain.com
The first day of the month of May is known as May Day. It is the time of year when warmer weather begins and flowers and trees start to blossom. It is said to be a time of love and romance. It is when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter.
Traditional English May Day celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and dancing around a Maypole.
The beginning of Summer
Although summer does not officially begin until June, May Day marks its beginning. May Day celebrations have been carried out in England for over 2000 years.
The Romans celebrated the festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer. It was held annually from April 28th to May 3rd.
May Day in Scotland
"I come from a town in Scotland called Turriff. We celebrate May day on the 1st Monday of May every year. The roads are closed off to traffic from 10am - 4pm, we have a funfair at the local park, we have lots off stalls in the town & different activities & going on throughout the day, the Local pipeband (Turriff & Disrtrict Pipeband) march round the town playing. Its a fantastic day out for all & attracts crowds of people to Turriff. " Veronica
May Day Bank Holiday
The month of May has many traditions and celebrations. For the convenience of the general public, many May Day activities have now been moved to the new May Day holiday (from 1978) on the first Monday of the month. This Monday is a bank holiday, a day off school and work.
Many of the May Day celebrations take place at the weekend as well as on the 'May Day' Monday. The weekend is know as bank holiday weekend because it comes with the extra day holiday on the MondayMay Day - Maypole Dancing
A traditional May Day dance is Maypole Dancing.
On May Day, people used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village to mark the arrival of summer.
People danced around the tree poles in celebration of the end of winter and the start of the fine weather that would allow planting to begin.
Maypoles were once common all over England and were kept from one year to the next. Schools would practice skipping round the pole for weeks before the final show on the village greens.
The end results would be either a beautiful plaited pattern of ribbons round the pole or a tangled cat's cradle, depending on how much rehearsing had been done
Maypoles are still a part of some village life and on May Day the villagers dance around it.
The tallest maypole is said to have been erected in London on the Strand in 1661; it stood over 143 feet high. It was felled in 1717, when it was used by Isaac Newton to support Huygen's new reflecting telescope.
Another traditional dance you will often see from May is Morris Dancing. It is a traditional English form of folkdancing, performed by groups of men or women.You can see many different groups of Morris Dancers performing at the Rochester Sweeps Festival every May.
Morris Dancing has been danced for hundreds of years, and passed down through the generations in the villages of rural England. The dances are usually performed at festivals such as May Day, Whitsun and Christmas.
The Origins of Morris Dancing
There are several thoughts to the origins of Morris Dancing. The name may refer to the possibility of the form of dancing coming to England from the Moors of North Africa; or it may have been called 'Moor-ish' simply because the dancers sometimes painted their faces black, and people compared this to the dark-skinned Moors.
The dancing is very lively and accompanied by an accordion player, a melodeon or fiddle player (Cotswolds) or a noisy band with a drum (Border Morris or North West sides)
Morris dancers wear different clothes depending on the part of the country in which they dance. They are often dressed in white with coloured baldrics (coloured belts) across their chests.
Border Morris Dancers generally wear 'tatter jackets' and black their faces - probably originating as a form of disguise.
There are usually six or eight dancers arranged in two lines or in a circle facing each other. The dancers may carry white handkerchiefs that they shake, or short sticks that they bang against each other as they dance. Some dancers have bell-pads tied at their knees, which make a loud and cheerful rhythm as they dance.Свернуть
20 апреля 2015
This week we are celebrating EARTH DAY!
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by theEarth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.
The aim of this day is to create awareness on the climate change and its effects on the environment; hence, helping to promote a peaceful, healthy and sustainable environment.
What do people do?
The April 22 Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches. Some people are encouraged to sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction. Television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues.
Earth Day is not a public holiday and public life, with regard to transport schedules and opening hours for schools and businesses, is not affected.
The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.
Some people prefer to observe Earth Day around the time of the March equinox. In 1978, American anthropologist Margaret Mead added her support for the equinox Earth Day, founded by John McConnell. She stated that the selection of the March Equinox for Earth Day made planetary observance of a shared event possible.
Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth; a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth; or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown or blue.
The “Earth Flag”, which was designed by John McConnell, has been described as a “flag for all people”. It features a two-sided dye printed image of the Earth from space on a dark blue field, made from recyclable, weather-resistant polyester. Margaret Mead believed that a flag that showed the earth as seen from space was appropriate.Свернуть
13 апреля 2015
This week we are Leonardo da Vinci's Birthday!
Leonardo da Vinci
Occupation: Artist, Inventor, Scientist
Born: April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy
Died: May 2, 1519 in Amboise, Kingdom of France
Famous works: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Vitruvian Man
Style/Period: High Renaissance
Leonardo da Vinci was an artist, scientist, and inventor during the Italian Renaissance. He is considered by many to be one of the most talented and intelligent people of all time. The term Renaissance Man (someone who does many things very well) was coined from Leonardo's many talents and is today used to describe people who resemble da Vinci.
Where was Leonardo da Vinci born?
Leonardo was born in the town of Vinci, Italy on April 15, 1452. Not much is known about his childhood other than his father was wealthy and had a number of wives. About the age of 14 he became an apprentice to a famous artist named Verrocchio. This is where he learned about art, drawing, painting and more.
Leonardo the Artist
Leonardo da Vinci is regarded as one of the greatest artists in history. Leonardo excelled in many areas including drawing, painting, and sculpture. Although we don't have a lot of his paintings today, he is probably most famous for his paintings and also gained great fame during his own time due to his paintings. Two of his most famous paintings, and perhaps two of the most famous in the world, include the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
Leonardo's drawings are also quite extraordinary. He would keep journals full of drawings and sketches, often of different subjects that he was studying. Some of his drawings were previews to later paintings, some were studies of anatomy, some were closer to scientific sketches. One famous drawing is the Vitruvian Man drawing. It is a picture of man who has perfect proportions based off the notes from the Roman architect Vitruvius. Other famous drawings include a design for a flying machine and a self portrait.
Leonardo the Inventor and Scientist
Many of da Vinci's drawings and journals were made in his pursuit of scientific knowledge and inventions. His journals were filled with over 13,000 pages of his observations of the world. He drew pictures and designs of hang gliders, helicopters, war machines, musical instruments, various pumps, and more. He was interested in civil engineering projects and designed a single span bridge, a way to divert the Arno River, and moveable barricades which would help protect a city in the case of attack.
Many of his drawings were on the subject of anatomy. He studied the human body including many drawings on muscles, tendons, and the human skeleton. He had detailed figures of various parts of the body including the heart, arms, and other internal organs. Leonardo didn't just study the human anatomy either. He also had a strong interest in horses as well as cows, frogs, monkeys, and other animals.
Fun Facts about Leonardo da Vinci
- The term Renaissance Man means someone who is good at everything. Leonardo is considered to be the ultimate Renaissance man.
- Some people claim he invented the bicycle.
- He was very logical and used a process like the scientific method when investigating a subject.
- His Vitruvian man is on the Italian Euro coin.
- Only around 15 of his paintings are still around.
- The Mona Lisa is also called "La Giaconda" meaning the laughing one.
- Unlike some artists, Leonardo was very famous for his paintings while he was still alive. It's only recently that we've realized what a great scientist and inventor he was.
09 апреля 2015
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07 апреля 2015
Приглашаем детей от 6 лет в Летний Лингвистический Клуб
«BBEnglish Summer Club» в городе Звенигород.
Мы предлагаем уникальную языковую программу, которая направлена на развитие разговорного английского языка, снятие языкового барьера, расширение и закрепление словарного запаса.
С нами дети окунутся в удивительный мир английского языка, получат представление о традиционных английских играх, займутся настоящим творчеством на мастер-классах, и вдоволь наиграются во время спортивных мероприятий.
А также мы предлагаем удивительные по своей познавательности экскурсии в различные музеи и парки г. Москвы и Подмосковья.
Первая смена с 01 июня по 17 июня 2015г.
Вторая смена с 18 июня по 03 июля 2015г.
Стоимость: 1400 рублей в день, при оплате до 18 мая 1300 рублей в день.
*дополнительно оплачиваются входные билеты на экскурсии и проезд
Программа летнего клуба предусматривает:
- дневное пребывание с 9:00 до 18:00 (выходные дни дети проводят дома с родителями);
- группы от 8 до 12 человек;
- мастер-классы, проектные работы;
- экскурсии и спортивные мероприятия;
- сертификат по окончании;
- материалы для занятий;
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Много занимательного и интересного, яркие впечатления, новые друзья, свежий воздух, отличное настроение – все это сделает отдых вашего ребенка в нашем летнем клубе незабываемым!Свернуть
07 апреля 2015
Поздравляем Аникина Артемия с отличными результатами участия
во Всероссийской олимпиаде школьников по английскому языку!
04 апреля 2015
This week we are celebrating Easter!
What is Easter in UK?
Easter is a popular holiday across the United Kingdom, filled with history, folklore and traditional customs. Easter, one of the oldest Christian traditions, is the celebration of the last week of Jesus’ life, his death, and his resurrection. For Christians, Easter symbolises the dawn of a new life and the high point of the Christian calendar. While defined as a Christian holiday, Easter has many of its roots in the traditions and rituals of the pagan people who inhabited the United Kingdom before its wide spread conversion to the Christian faith. Scholars believe that Easter was named for “Eostre”, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the spring.
The actual day of Easter, unlike Christmas, is not a set date. Always on a Sunday, Easter can vary in date by country depending on whether the Gregorian or Julian calendar is being used. The UK, which follows the Gregorian calendar, celebrates Easter on the Sunday following the first full moon that occurs after the first day of spring. Using this timeline, Easter can vary in date from as early as the 22nd of March to as far into spring as the 25th of April.
Easter in the UK begins with the Thursday before Easter. Maundy Thursday is celebrated as the last day of Jesus’ life and the day of the Last Supper. It is said that Jesus washed the feet of his loyal disciples in the “Eucharist” ceremony. The day is named after the French word “mande”, which roughly translates to the terms command or mandate. It is said that this name came about from Jesus’ last command given to his followers, “love one another as I have loved you.”
Dating back to the time of King Edward the First, it is tradition for the Queen to take part in the Maundy Thursday celebrations. It is customary for the sovereign to distribute what is called the “Maundy Money” to deserving senior citizens. One man and one woman are chosen to represent each year of the Monarch’s age. These are citizens that have done great service in the community and are chosen to receive a red and white purse containing one coin for every year of rule by the Monarch.
Maundy Money is a modern change on the original celebration of Maundy Thursday. It was said that the Royals used to wash the feet of selected poor people to show devotion and humility to their constituents. However, the last Royal to have participated in the original form of this holiday was King James the Second. The current tradition of Maundy Money was said to have been started by King Charles the Second in 1662 and has remained unchanged in its entirety since 1670.
Thought once to be named “God’s Friday” or “Holy Friday”, the United Kingdom’s celebration of Good Friday is a commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Good Friday is treated as a day of mourning in the United Kingdom. Churches remain unlit and bare, with no decorations or flowers; some churches cover statues and paintings. Many churches hold a ceremony at 3 o’clock, as this is said to be the time that Jesus died on the cross. Most church services on Good Friday last approximately three hours and will incorporate passion plays or dramatic readings into their services.
Hot cross buns are traditionally eaten by Christians in the UK on Good Friday. The bread serves as a reminder of Jesus dying for our sins due to the shape of the cross that appears across the top of the bun. They are generally consumed as a breakfast food and come straight from the oven. Once sold by street vendors in the cities, a well known nursery rhyme was founded based on the pitch sung by the local vendors: “Hot Cross Buns, Hot Cross Buns, One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns. If you do not like them, give them to your sons, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns.” There are several superstitions around the hot cross bun. Some say that when baked on Good Friday, they would never go mouldy. Others say that if hardened, they would protect a house from fire. Sailors were known to take them to sea, to protect them from shipwrecks.
Fish is the traditional food of choice for Good Friday suppers, while some devout Christians opt to fast instead in memory of the sacrifice given by Jesus Christ.
The Saturday prior to Easter is called “Holy Saturday.” It is historically considered to be the day that Jesus lay in the tomb and is used to reflect on his sacrifice and prepare for the Easter festivities. Most churches hold services on the eve of Easter. Starting in the early church, it was common for ‘new converts’ to the faith to be baptised on this day so that they were able to take their first communion on the Easter Sunday.
Easter Sunday is one of the most important holidays in the church. It symbolises remembrance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, implying that death is not the end of our journey. The churches celebrate Easter Sunday with bell ringing, flowers (generally white lilies), and a white and gold colour pallet inside of the church hall. Some churches conduct a sunrise service; some perform their services on a hillside. An Easter vigil is held in which a fire is lighted outside of the church first thing on Sunday morning. A candle called the Paschal Candle is lit from the fire and then carried into the church. A Paschal Candle is covered in small studs that symbolise Christ’s wounds and is used to light the candles of the congregation members. The service is considered to be joyous in comparison to the mourning ceremonies of the previous days.
The Foods of Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday is rich in traditional foods. Breakfast consists of boiled eggs and the exchanging of Easter gifts and cards. Roast lamb with mint sauce is served as the main meal for Easter Sunday. Easter biscuits and custard tarts are the traditional pudding. Tea tends to be a Simnel cake, which is a fruitcake covered with an almond marzipan. Traditionally, eleven balls of marzipan were baked on top of the cake denoting the eleven original disciples. This, of course, excludes Judas as one of the disciples. Easter biscuits contain spices, currants, and occasionally grated lemon rinds. These are sometimes referred to as Easter cakes.
The Traditions of a United Kingdom Easter
Perhaps one of the largest traditions during a UK Easter is the giving of Easter eggs. Chocolate eggs are given to children on Easter Sunday. These can either be hollow or have a filling, such as a cream base, and tend to be wrapped in silver or gold paper. Early Easter gifts were originally birds’ eggs, painted in bright colours and patterns. Some still celebrate Easter with egg painting as a children’s activity. Eggs are a symbol of new life created during the spring and is said to have come from the original pagan traditions surrounding the holiday.
Another egg related tradition involves rolling real eggs down a hill in a race. The winner was the owner of the last un-cracked egg. While this tradition seems to have faded in popularity, it can still be seen in Preston in Lancashire, in the north of England. Some have adopted the tradition of hiding eggs in the garden for children to search for. This has only appeared in the UK as of late, with the adoption of the German-originated Easter Bunny.
Morris dancing can still be seen around the United Kingdom. A form of historical folk dancing dating roughly back to the Middle Ages, Morris dancing is comprised of men costumed in white with ribbons and bells on their ankles who dance through the streets of the villages. This is done to symbolize the arrival of spring. Another, slightly less common tradition is the Maypole dancing. This dates back to before Christianity came to the shores of the UK and is a pagan-based tradition. The Maypole dance includes dancing around a large pole with ribbons. People dance around the pole, while holding the ribbons, in a weaving fashion until the entire pole is swathed in the ribbon. This is meant to celebrate the coming of spring in the original pagan festival.
Celebrations across the UK
Annual Easter egg hunts are conducted at The World of Beatrix Potter in the Peter Rabbit Garden with over 50 eggs hidden and prizes totaling up to $10,000 upon occasion. Prizes do vary by year, but the proceeds go to charity and is a lovely experience for children or adult fans of the beloved Beatrix Potter series.
In Scotland, Floors castle plays host to an annual egg-and-spoon race. The castle, home to the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, stays closed through the winter, reopening to the public during the spring and summer seasons. Egg-and-spoon races, bunny hop races, face painting, and many other seasonal activities take place in the castle gardens.
The island of Harris in Scotland conducts an egg rolling competition. If your egg makes it to the bottom of the hill unbroken, you are said to have good luck for the remainder of the year.
Good Friday and Easter Monday are considered Bank Holidays with most businesses being closed across the United Kingdom giving most a four day holiday. Easter coincides with a two week holiday for schools and is the most popular time for family vacations.
Easter holiday celebrations are unique to those across the world due to their historical background. A United Kingdom Easter has traditions based not only on Christianity principles but also containing deep rooted pagan customs. Whether you are celebrating Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ or a large Easter bunny leaving behind chocolate and painted eggs, there are plenty of unique celebrations across the country to enjoy over the holiday weekend.Свернуть
30 марта 2015
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is always celebrated on April 1st. It is the name given to the custom of playing practical jokes on friends, or sending them on fools errands. Sometimes, elaborate practical jokes played on friends or relatives might last the entire day. Even the news media and major companies sometimes get involved. Whatever the prank, the trickster usually ends it by yelling to his victim, "April Fool!"
The history of April Fools' Day, sometimes called All Fools' Day, is not clear. There is no first "April Fools' Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar, although it is known to date back at least to the sixteenth century. Most historians believe that April Fool’s Day originated in continental northern Europe and then spread to Britain.
Some popular theories on the origin of April Fools' Day include:
The Gregorian Calendar
Some say that April Fools' Day was first celebrated soon after the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar. Prior to that time, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the date of the Christian Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year. The celebration culminated on April 1 and was celebrated in much the same way as it is today with parties and dancing into the late hours of the night.
In 1563 King Charles IX decreed January 1 to be the first day of the year. Eighteen years later, in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII introduced the new Gregorian Calendar, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1. Upon moving the official New Year's Day from April 1 to January 1, there were some people who hadn't heard or didn't believe the change in the date, so they continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April first. These people were called them "April fools" and often had tricks played on them. They were subject to ridicule, and were often sent on "fools errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.
Although this is a popular and widespread theory, it is not the only theory for the origin of the holiday, and many of the customs and traditions of the holiday were already well established prior to the calendar change.
The Arrival of Spring
Some believe that the custom is related to the arrival of Spring with the unpredictable and capricious April weather.
Also, the Spring Equinox marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring and the new growing and planting season. Many cultures celebrated this time of year with jubilant festivals where people would wear disguises and play pranks on each other. Many historians believe April Fools' Day evolved from some of these festivals.
May Day (May 1)
In many pre-Christian cultures May the 1st (May Day), which falls approximately halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice, was celebrated as the first day of summer. This marked the beginning of the new growing and planting season. Someone who did this prematurely would be called an April Fool.
Today, April Fools' Day has spread around the world, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of friends and families:
United States - Americans play small tricks on friends and strangers alike on the first of April. One common trick is pointing down to a friend's shoe and saying, "Your shoelace is untied."
France - French children fool their friends by taping a paper fish to their backs. When the young victim discovers this trick, the prankster yells "Poisson d'Avril!" (April Fish!)
England - Tricks can be played only in the morning. If a trick is played on you, you are a "noodle".
Scotland - April Fools' Day is actually celebrated for two days and the custom is known as "hunting the gowk" (the cuckoo), and April fools are "April gowks". The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body. It is called Taily Day. The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.
Mexico – the counterpart of April Fools' Day is actually observed on December 28. Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod. It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.
Portugal - April Fools' is celebrated on the Sunday and Monday before Lent. The traditional trick there is to throw flour at your friends.
In Russia, too, they have always respected the good humor and a healthy laughter. In the first warm days (which approximately begin in the beginning of April) the ancient Slavs went out to "scare" the winter away. They dressed in animal skins, wore masks and staged noisy presentations accompanied by laughter. Well, the actual April Fool's Day was first introduced by Peter I. Since then, this unofficial holiday in Russia has been adored both by adults and children. To mark April 1 in Russia means charging with positive emotions for the upcoming year. Perhaps it is only in this country that they treat humor so "seriously" and cannot imagine the holiday without the funny practical jokes. The joke might be kind, funny and even extreme, if you want, but in the end it all should end in laughter with tears (of joy, of course). Besides, on April 1 in Moscow and other Russian cities they arrange various comedy shows and concerts, which are worth visiting in order to experience unforgettable pleasure.Свернуть
23 марта 2015
This week we are celebrating Earth Hour Day!
Earth Hour started in 2007 as a lights-off event to raise awareness about climate change. We have grown to engage more than 162 countries and territories worldwide. Earth Hour is on Saturday, 28 March 2015 at 8:30 pm local time.
What is Earth Hour?
The Earth Hour event asks that we all, across the Earth, turn off our power systems for one hour on a specified day, at a particular time.
Our planet's weather system is shifting. Whether it is permanent or temporary; the result of human induced global warming, or a natural shift in climate patterns, as has happened many times on earth over the millennia, we really can't be absolutely sure.
One hour, however global, won't affect our climate to any great degree, and there is a danger that gestures like these breed complacency after the event for some. But if it causes individuals and businesses to question our attitude to Earth as an inexhaustible resource created for our consumption, then it's an exercise well worth promoting and practicing.
It would seem to me that the value of Earth Hour Day ultimately lies in its ability to stimulate our intelligence and goodwill towards this lovely planet that we live on. You can find out more about Earth Hour Day, and how you can join in by reading on...
'Everyone has a right to a clean and healthy environment regardless of race, ethnicity or socio-economic status.'
Earth Hour is organized by the WWF's, and it's mission is to 'stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.'
The Beginnings Of Earth Hour Day
Earth Hour Day was the inspired idea of the Australian branch of the WWF. The concept was that the residents of Sydney should turn off their lights for one hour at a designated time as a mass statement of concern regarding climate change and the worlds use of fossil fuels.
Starting in 2006, the event was so successful that the following year 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses responded to the day and 'switched off' in unison.Свернуть
After that the event took on a life of its own, as first Toronto in Canada, and then another 35 countries and approximately 400 cities signed up for the event over the next two years. 2011 marked a new record in participation, with 135 countries participating in Earth Hour.
Earth Hour has now become an annual global event, and falls each year on the last Saturday of March; coniciding with the equinox,. This specific timing means that most cities around the globe will be experiencing darkness at the time of the switch off, thus making the event quite stunning.
16 марта 2015
St. Patrick's Day History and Traditions
This holiday is celebrated every year on March 17th, honoring the Irish patron saint, St. Patrick. The celebrations are largely Irish culture themed and typically consist of wearing green, parades, and drinking. Some churches may hold religious services and many schools and offices close in Suffolk County, the area containing Boston and its suburbs.
People all over the world celebrate St. Patrick's Day, especially places with large Irish-American communities. Feasting on the day features traditional Irish food, including corned beef, corned cabbage, coffee, soda bread, potatoes, and shepherd's pie. Many celebrations also hold an Irish breakfast of sausage, black and white pudding, fried eggs, and fried tomatoes. Common traditions include:
- Parades - This event is most often associated with the holiday. Cities that hold large parades include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Savannah, and other cities worldwide.
- Drinking - Since many Catholics are Irish-American, some may be required to fast from drinking during Lent. However, they are allowed to break this fast during the St. Patrick's Day celebrations. This is one cause for the day's association with drinking heavily.
- Dying water or beer green - Chicago dies its river green for the festivities, and many bars serve green-dyed beer. The White House fountain is also dyed green.
- Other incorporations of green - In Seattle, the parade routes are painted in green. Observers are supposed to wear green or else risk being pinched. Parade floats and decorations will feature the color green.
- Religious services - Those who celebrate the holiday in a religious context may also hold a feast. Outside of this context, overindulgence tends to revolve around drinking.
- Pea planting - In the Northeast, many celebrate by planting peas. This is largely due to the color and time of year (prime pea-planting conditions.
Saint Patrick - The Missionary and Bishop of Ireland
St. Patrick, or the "Apostle of Ireland," actually started out in the pagan religion. While not much is known about his early life, as many of his life's details were lost to folklore, letters from St. Patrick reveal that he was captured in Wales, Scotland, or another close area outside of Ireland and taken to Ireland as a slave. Years later, he escaped and returned to his family, who were Romans living in Britain, going back to Ireland for mission work after finding a place as a cleric and then Bishop within the Christian faith. He was born around 460, and by the 600s, he was already known as the Patron Saint of Ireland.
There are many legends associated with St. Patrick. The symbol of the shamrock used for St. Patrick's Day comes from the story of St. Patrick using the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The three-leafed plant coincided with the Pagan religion's sanctity of the number three and is the root of the green color theme.
Another popular belief is that St. Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland. The story says that while St. Patrick was fasting, snakes attacked him, so he chased all snakes into the ocean. However, there have never been snakes in Ireland during the post-glacial period. The absence of snakes and symbolism involved with snakes is believed to explain the story, although it could have been referring to type of worm rather than snakes. One legend has St. Patrick sticking a walking stick into the ground while evangelizing, which turned into a tree.
The History of St. Patrick's Day and why it's celebrated.
St. Patrick's Day was first celebrated in America in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. This first celebration of the holiday in the colonies was largely to honor and celebrate the Irish culture that so many colonists had been separated from.
Early celebrations continued this modest tradition. In New York, the first celebration took place as a small gathering at the home of an Irish protestant. St. Patrick's Day parades started in New York in 1762 by a group of Irish soldiers in the British military who marched down Broadway. This began the tradition of a military theme in the parade, as they often feature marching military unites. The holiday eventually evolved from the modest religious dinner into the raucous holiday we know today.
Worldwide St. Patrick's Day Parades and Celebrations
Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but the events will vary based on the city:
- Boston - St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Boston bring over 600,000 visitors to the city, which has a large Irish-American community. The city has one of the largest parades, which many veterans take part in, and events are held in the large number of Irish pubs in the city. The Irish Cultural Centre holds a celebration, and many events feature Irish food, such as corned beef.
- New York - New York City is the place of the oldest civilian parade, which boats over 150,000 participants. This may include veterans along with firefighters, policemen, and cultural clubs. It is led New York's 69th infantry regiment. Another city in New York state, Pearl river, has the second largest parade in the state with crowds of over 100,000. In Buffalo, there are two St. Patrick's parades.
- Scranton - This Pennsylvania city's parade is one of the oldest and largest. Since 1862, this parade has been one of the most popular, with current celebrations attracting around 150,000.
- Chicago - The Irish community makes up a large part of Chicago's celebration. Chicago dyes the Chicago River green and holds the South Side Parade, which has actually had to be scaled back in recent years due to the celebration growing too large for the Irish groups that hold the parade.
- New Orleans - This coastal city was the largest point of immigration for the Irish. St. Patrick's Day celebrations are typically held at the community or neighborhood level.
- Ireland - This celebration is more religious in nature, as it is considered a religious feast day. While it was made an official holiday in 1903, the first Saint Patrick's Festival was held in 1996. During these recent years, the even has become more cultural and consists of many celebrations in the streets.
Copyright © 1997-2012, Jerry Wilson; Get Permission to Reprint this article.Свернуть
10 марта 2015
This week we are celebrating Mothering Sunday in United Kingdom!
Mothering Sunday 2015
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother's Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and usually falls in the second half of March or early April.
What do people do?
Mother's Day, or Mothering Sunday, is now a day to honor mothers and other mother figures, such as grandmothers, stepmothers and mothers-in-law. Many people make a special effort to visit their mother. They take cards and gifts to her and may treat her to brunch, lunch or high tea in a cafe, restaurant or hotel. People who cannot visit their mother usually send gifts or cards to her.
An important part of Mothering Sunday is giving cards and gifts. Common Mother's Day gifts are cakes, flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and luxurious clothing. Some people do not give a physical gift, but choose to treat their mother or grandmother to a special meal, beauty treatment or fun outing.
Specially decorated Mother's Day cakes are available in many stores. In the days and weeks before Mothering Sunday, many schools, Sunday schools and children's organizations help their pupils to prepare a handmade card or gift for their mother.
Mothering Sunday is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom. Public transport services run to their usual Sunday timetables. Cafes, restaurants and hotels may be fully booked a long time ahead, as many people treat their mother to a special meal on Mothering Sunday. Those wishing to eat in a restaurant on Mother's Day may need to reserve a table in advance.
Mothering Sunday was originally a time when people returned to the church, in which they were baptized or where they attended services when they were children. This meant that families were reunited as adults returned to the towns and villages where they grew up. In time, it became customary for young people who were working as servants in large houses, to be given a holiday on Mothering Sunday. They could use this day to visit their own mother and often took a gift of food or hand-me-down clothing from their employers to her. In turn, this moved towards the modern holiday, on which people still visit and take gifts to their mothers.
Traditionally, people observed a fast during Lent. Lent is the period from Ash Wednesday until Good Friday. During the Lent fast, people did not eat from sweet, rich foods or meat. However, the fast was lifted slightly on Mothering Sunday and many people prepared a Simnel cake to eat with their family on this day.
A Simnel cake is a light fruit cake covered with a layer of marzipan and with a layer of marzipan baked into the middle of the cake. Traditionally, Simnel cakes are decorated with 11 or 12 balls of marzipan, representing the 11 disciples and, sometimes, Jesus Christ. One legend says that the cake was named after Lambert Simnel who worked in the kitchens of Henry VII of England sometime around the year 1500.Свернуть
02 марта 2015
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
International Women's Day (IWD), also called International Working Women's Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women's economic, political, and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily in Europe, including Russia. In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother's Day (celebrated in USA and Canada in May and in Great Britain on 15th of March this year).
This week we are celebrating International Women’s day and the next week we will focus on the Mother's Day and its celebrations in UK.
What do people do?
International Women’s Day events are held worldwide on March 8. Various women, including political, community, and business leaders, as well as leading educators, inventors, entrepreneurs, and television personalities, are usually invited to speak at various events on the day. Such events may include seminars, conferences, luncheons, dinners or breakfasts. The messages given at these events often focus on various themes such as innovation, the portrayal of women in the media, or the importance of education and career opportunities.
Many students in schools and other educational settings participate in special lessons, debates or presentations about the importance of women in society, their influence, and issues that affect them. In some countries school children bring gifts to their female teachers and women receive presents from friends or family members. Many workplaces make a special mention about International Women’s Day through internal newsletters or notices, or by handing out promotional material focusing on the day.
International Women’s Day, is a public holiday in some countries such as (but not exclusive to):
Many businesses, government offices, educational institutions are closed in the above-mentioned countries on this day, where it is sometimes called Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is a national observance in many other countries. Some cities may host various wide-scale events such as street marches, which may temporarily affect parking and traffic conditions.
The first International Women’s Day occurred on March 19 in 1911. The inaugural event, which included rallies and organized meetings, was a big success in countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The March 19 date was chosen because it commemorated the day that the Prussian king promised to introduce votes for women in 1848. The promise gave hope for equality but it was a promise that he failed to keep. The International Women’s Day date was moved to March 8 in 1913.
The UN drew global attention to women's concerns in 1975 by calling for an International Women's Year. It also convened the first conference on women in Mexico City that year. The UN General Assembly then invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for Women's Rights and International Peace in 1977. The day aimed to help nations worldwide eliminate discrimination against women. It also focused on helping women gain full and equal participation in global development. International Men’s Day is also celebrated on November 19 each year.
The International Women’s Day logo is in purple and white and features the symbol of Venus, which is also the symbol of being female. The faces of women of all backgrounds, ages, and nations are also seen in various promotions, such as posters, postcards and information booklets, on International Women’s Day. Various messages and slogans as well as number eight that promote the day are also publicized during this time of the year.Свернуть