Today, let’s talk about how May Day is celebrated in some parts of Europe. For many, it is a traditional workers' holiday.
In Greece, one of the more popular activities on May Day is fire jumping. This is done after the sun sets. Women dance around the lit fire. The children wet their clothes and hair, before jumping over the fire. It is a symbolic act, to keep away winter and disease. Another popular tradition is picking flowers, and creating a May Day wreath, to hang on their doors. It is meant to bring people closer to nature.
In France, May Day is really a day off for its workers. French people like to give family and friends little sprigs, bouquets, or even whole plants of lily of the valley, for good luck. The more bell-like the flower, the better the luck.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has announced there will be a general election in the UK on June 8. Her decision to hold a snap election comes after she repeatedly claimed she was initially against the idea. She said that her change of mind is because opposition parties, and unelected peers in the House of Lords, were jeopardising her government’s preparations for Brexit.
The Prime Minister said, “We need a general election, and we need one now.” She added, “I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion. But now, I have concluded, it is the only way to guarantee certainty for the years ahead.”
Today, we are going to talk about the extraordinary news story, of an airline passenger, who was dragged, yelling, off a United Airlines flight in America. Three other passengers, on flight 3411 from Chicago, were also ejected, so four-crew could take their seats, to connect them onto other flights.
Dr David Dao, 69, was forcibly ejected from the plane he was on, in Chicago. His crime? To book a seat with United Airlines, sit in it, and expect them to honour its side of the contract. When no one agreed to give up their seats, four passengers were randomly selected to be removed.
Today’s English lesson, about doors, is inspired by one of my students, who happened to be looking at a door, when asked for a topic of conversation.
You’d be surprised what you can say about doors. For starters, there are several different shapes of door. Most doors are rectangular. Some are double-opening doors. They can be made of glass, wood, wood panelling, plastic, or uPVC. A good joiner can make a handmade door, though, many doors today are manufactured in a factory. There are also aluminium and steel doors. Wooden doors can be painted, stained or polished.
Today, we are going to talk about spring. It is one of the four seasons. Spring follows on from winter and precedes summer. The other season being autumn. Spring starts when the equinox is 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. In the UK, and Europe, spring is when the clocks go forward one hour.
Originally, spring was called Lent. In the 14th century that time of year was called springing time. This being a reference to plants springing from the ground. In the 15th century, it got shortened to spring-time. In the 16th century, it got further shortened to spring.
Easter is a Christian holiday. Easter can be between March 19 and April 25. The dates vary because of the March equinox. Many countries have public holidays on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday.
Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus. His body was then moved to a cave where it was placed in a tomb. The cave’s entrance was covered by a giant stone put there by Roman soldiers. Many Christians remember this by going to church on Good Friday. Easter Sunday is when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ, after his crucifixion.
Easter for many, is all about chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs (chocolate eggs). The Easter bunny originates from the pagan festival of Eastre. Eastre was a goddess worshipped by the Anglo-Saxons. Her symbol was the rabbit.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Tuesday, signed the official letter needed, to give notice to leave the EU. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty allows a country to withdraw from the European Union. No country has ever done this before. It is a historic day for the UK.
The notification letter was presented to European Council President, Donald Tusk, on Wednesday 29th March. He said on Twitter, “After nine months the UK has delivered. #Brexit.” He went on to say, “There is no reason to pretend that this is a happy day, neither in Brussels nor in London. After all, most Europeans, including almost half the British voters, wish that we would stay together, not drift apart.” Many people in the UK, and throughout the EU itself, are against the UK leaving the EU.
London on Wednesday saw a terror attack unfold in the heart of Westminster. Four people were killed in the attack that took place outside the Houses of Parliament. One of the killed was a police officer. A Foreign Office Minister performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him in the grounds of parliament.
Witnesses said that the attacker initially struck a number of people with a 4x4 vehicle, including three French schoolchildren, on the nearby Westminster Bridge. Other eyewitnesses said at least 12 people were injured. Many of them were children. People were jumping off the bridge into the river Thames, as that was their only hope of survival. People were seen fleeing the area.
There are many legends about the Knights Templar. The secretive religious sect have left behind many mysterious mysteries. They once held great power across Europe. So much so, that King Philip IV of France, who was in debt to them, and in fear of their power, literally forced them underground, having burnt many of their prominent members at the stake.
So it is interesting to hear about a mysterious 700-year-old cave that may have been used by the famous Knights Templar. The fascinating cave was discovered, a while back, behind a rabbit hole, in a field in Shropshire, England. Could this cave be a Holy Grail site? Did the Knights Templar really meet here, in secret?
WikiLeaks recently released documents that allegedly say that the CIA can bug your Samsung TV, listen in on your mobile, and control your car.
WikiLeaks claims that people can be listened in and watched by ‘Weeping Angels’. This name derives from killer stone statue monsters that featured in the British TV science fiction children’s TV show Dr Who. The Weeping Angels creep up to their victims, then kill them.
The documents revealed how the spooks can convince people that their TV is off, when in fact, it is really recording every word they say, on the microphones on the TVs. The attack was developed by Britain’s MI5.