Today, we are going to talk about Guy Fawkes’ Night, or Bonfire Night. The event is held every year in the United Kingdom, on the evening of the fifth of November.
The annual commemoration is to remind us of the events of the 5th November 1605, when Guy Fawkes’, who was a Catholic, was caught and arrested in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, while guarding the gunpowder that was to be used to blow it up.
Today, let’s talk about Halloween. It occurs once a year on the night of the 31st October. It’s the most likely time you’ll see people dressed up as witches, ghosts, skeletons, monsters, devils, or other weird, supernatural, creatures.
Halloween parties are popular among both children and adults, and dressing up in costume is all part of the fun! Watch out for many a pumpkin with spooky eyes and teeth lit by a candle. Halloween colours are black and orange. Watch out for the spooky masks!
Today, let’s talk about autumn. What exactly is autumn? It is a season that follows summer and is before winter. Autumn starts in Britain on the 23rd September. It is on this day that daylight and night are the same length of time. The nights now get longer and the days shorter.
Autumn is probably the most colourful time of year. It is when the leaves change colour. Many leaves turn into vivid autumn red, yellow and brown colours that so many people love to see. Autumn is also conker season when the conkers fall from Horse Chestnut trees.
Autumn is the time of falling leaves. Many leaves are blown off the trees. Often they form a magnificent carpet of different coloured leaves on the ground. It is a sign that winter is on its way!
For the second year running, Singapore has been voted the top place for expats’ to live and work in 2016. The country topped the list of countries, in HSBC’s ninth annual Expat Explorer survey.
More than 60% of expats earnt more in Singapore, than they did in their own country. Nearly half, felt they were healthier living in Singapore. 84% of expats said the island was safer than their own country. 75% said the level of education was better than their original country. 58% of expats felt Singapore is a good place to start a business.
Switzerland offers the best wages, with annual incomes around US$188,000. In Singapore, the average expat salary is US$139,000. This is significantly higher than the global average of US$97,000.
Today, let’s talk about going back-to-school. It is September and the school holidays have now finished. It is time to start a new term. This could be at school, university or college, at language school, or even in the office. Students are now returning to lessons, following their summer break.
For schoolchildren, the new term may result in meeting new friends, as well as seeing old ones. It means a new school timetable. It will probably mean new subjects to learn, with exams to study for at the end of the school year.
A new term also brings new teachers, as well as some of the ones you already know and sometimes love. The new term can also include the dreaded word that no one likes – homework!
Who is the patron saint of England? It is St. George. English people celebrate St. George’s Day every year on April 23rd.
It has to be said though that unlike the Scottish and Irish, who celebrate their patron saints in style and by drinking alcohol, the English really do not celebrate their day! In recent years efforts have been made to increase the day’s importance, but it actually lacks serious effort by the English.
Back in the 60s, when I was a boy at primary school, in class we used to play St. George and the Dragon. This was done in the form of a Mummers play, as it was known. The story being that St. George would kill the dragon then rescue the damsel in distress. It is a fairytale. By the 12th century the legendary story had become widespread.
Today, let’s talk about April Fools’ Day. Known also as All Fools’ Day it is celebrated on the morning of the 1st April when practical jokes and hoaxes are played on people. The victims are called April fools! Newspapers are fond of reporting fake stories, which are normally explained the next day.
April Fools’ Day in the UK can be traced back to around 1392 to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. The Nun’s Priest’s Tale mentions ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two’. The passage was meant to mean 32 days after March – 2nd May – but was mistook for 32nd March i.e. 1st April.
Today let’s talk about Easter traditions. Every Christian country and region has its own. In this lesson we will look at a few of them.
Most people associate Easter with Easter eggs, Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts. Easter though is about Christ. Many Christians celebrate Easter to commemorate the resurrection of Christ. For this reason they go to church over this period.
Easter traditions do vary depending on where you live and what religion you have. A favourite Easter game is egg tossing or egg throwing. Why? Because the egg is a symbol of the rebirth of the earth in Pagan celebrations of spring and was adopted by early Christians as a symbol of the rebirth of man at Easter.
Today, we are going to talk about February 29. The extra day occurs once every four years. It is called a Leap Day and is added to the calendar. When there is a leap year there are 366 days rather than 365 days of the year.
The previous leap year was in 2012. This year sees another leap year. The extra day is added because of the way the Solar System works. A complete orbit of the Earth around the sun actually takes approximately 365.2422 days.
Why are there 29 days in February rather than 30 or 31? This is down to history. During the Roman Empire Emperor Julius Caesar ordered his astronomer Sosigenes to simplify the 355 day Roman calendar, which had an extra 22 days added on every two years. Sosigenes created the 365 day year, with an extra day every 4 years.
Today let’s talk about Valentine’s Day! In case you didn’t know it is on February 14th. It is celebrated in many countries around the world. These days it is pretty commercial. Known also as St Valentine’s Day it is associated with love! Valentine’s Day symbols include heart shapes, doves and the figure of a winged cupid.
In Britain in the 18th century handwritten greeting cards were sent. Lovers also expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, and confectionary. By 1900 handwritten cards had given way to mass-produced greeting cards; all these traditions still continue. Nowadays lovers also send SMS messages and email cards. A dozen red roses remain a popular gift to send your lover.