Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
Samhain began at sundown on October 31 and extended into the following day. According to the Celtic pagan religion, known as Druidism, the spirits of those who had died in the preceding year roamed the earth on Samhain evening. The Celts sought to ward off these spirits with offerings of food and drink. The Celts also built bonfires at sacred hilltop sites and performed rituals, often involving human and animal sacrifices, to honor Druid deities.
By the end of the 1st century AD, the Roman Empire had conquered most of the Celtic lands. In the process of incorporating the Celts into their empire, the Romans adapted and absorbed some Celtic traditions as part of their own pagan and Catholic religious observances. In Britain, Romans blended local Samhain customs with their own pagan harvest festival honoring Pomona, goddess of fruit trees. Some scholars have suggested that the game of bobbing for apples derives from this Roman association of the holiday with fruit.
Pure Celtic influences lingered longer on the western fringes of Europe, especially in areas that were never brought firmly under Roman control, such as Ireland, Scotland, and the Bretagne region of northwestern France. In these areas, Samhain was abandoned only when the local people converted to Christianity during the early Middle Ages. The Roman Catholic Church often incorporated modified versions of older religious traditions in order to win converts. For example, Pope Gregory IV sought to replace Samhain with All Saints' Day in 835. All Souls' Day, closer in spirit to Samhain and modern Halloween, was first instituted at a French monastery in 998 and quickly spread throughout Europe. Folk observances linked to these Christian holidays, including Halloween, thus preserved many of the ancient Celtic customs associated with Samhain.
Halloween traditions thought to be incompatible with Christianity often became linked with Christian folk beliefs about evil spirits. Although such superstitions varied a great deal from place to place, many of the supernatural beings now associated with Halloween became fixed in the popular imagination during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In British folklore, small magical beings known as fairies became associated with Halloween mischief. The jack-o'-lantern, originally carved from a large turnip rather than a pumpkin, originated in medieval Scotland. Various methods of predicting the future, especially concerning matters of romance and marriage, were also prominent features of Halloween throughout the British Isles.
Between the 15th and 17th centuries, Europe was seized by a hysterical fear of witches, leading to the persecution of thousands of innocent women. Witches were thought to ride flying brooms and to assume the form of black cats. These images of witches soon joined other European superstitions as symbols of Halloween.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Politically, the country is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories. The most populated province is Ontario followed by Quebec. Canada follows a parliamentary system adopted from England. We have a Prime Minister not a President. We are part of the British Commonwealth like Australia and India etc.
Culturally, Canada is difficult to describe because it is a mosaic of cultures. Typically, people see Canada as French and English. French and English are our two official languages but if you visit Canada you will experience many other cultures. In our last census, Canadians represented more than 200 ethnic backgrounds and more than 20% of those surveyed weren’t even born in Canada! Since 1901, Canada has invited over 13 million immigrants into the country. For the first 60 years, most of the immigrants came from Europe but today most of them come from Asia. After English and French, Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, and other Chinese languages) is the next most commonly spoken language, followed by Italian, German and Punjabi. These cultures help make Canada an interesting place to live in. I can listen to Spanish, Mandarin or French on the radio. I can shop at Japanese, Indian or Chinese markets. Unlike so many other countries, Canadians don’t really share a common culture but despite our differences, most of us share a belief in equality and diversity, and respect for all individuals in society.
Here are some interesting facts about Canada:
1) Lacrosse is our national sport but mostly we prefer to watch hockey.
2) We call our dollar the “Loonie” because of the picture of a loon on the back.
3) We live in cities. Almost 80% of Canadians live in urban centres most of which are located along the US border.
4) We say ‘eh’ a lot and pronounce ‘z’ as zed no zee!
5) Basketball, zippers, insulin and the telephone were invented by Canadians.
6) Canada is hosting the next winter Olympics in 2010. A Canadian has never won a gold medal on Canadian soil.
7) Canada's capital, Ottawa, has the coldest average temperature of any capital city in the world.
8) Canada has six time zones. British Columbia is 4.5 hours behind Newfoundland.
9) All Canadians have free access to health care.
10) Avril Lavigne, Shania Twain, Nelly Furtado, Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, and Sarah McLachlan are Canadian.
Friday, 29 May 2009
Changing Places (1975), was Lodge's first book in a trilogy of campus novels. Inspired by his experience teaching in California, the novel centres on two academics: Englishman Phillip Swallow from the University of Rummidge in the West Midlands, and Morris Zapp, an American from the State University of Euphoria (California), and their participation in an exchange programme that sees them swap politics, lifestyles and wives. Small World (1984), the second book in the trilogy, develops Zapp and Swallow's story, while Nice Work (1988) completes the trilogy with the story of industrialist Vic Wilcox and his unlikely relationship with marxist, feminist and post-structuralist academic Dr Robyn Penrose. Small World and Nice Work were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.
How Far Can You Go? (1980) and Paradise News (1991) both deal with the doctrinal changes and moral uncertainty which beset members of the Catholic church in the post-war period generally and the 1960s in particular. Therapy (1995) continues similar themes through the story of a successful sitcom writer plagued by middle-age neuroses and a failed marriage.
Ralph Messenger, the central character of Lodge's most recent novel, Thinks ... (2001), is Director of the prestigious Holt Belling Centre for Cognitive Science at the fictional University of Gloucester. A notorious womaniser, he is forced to reappraise his lifestyle when he becomes involved with Helen Reed, a novelist who has come to work at the university.
David Lodge is a successful playwright and screenwriter, and has adapted both his own work and other writers' novels for television. Small World was adapted as a television serial, produced by Granada TV in 1988, and Lodge adapted Nice Work as a four-part TV serial for the BBC, broadcast in 1989. It won the Royal Television Society Award (Best Drama Serial) and the author was awarded a Silver Nymph for his screenplay at the International Television Festival in Monte Carlo in 1990. He wrote and presented a documentary about the academic conference circuit, Big Words - Small Worlds, which was broadcast on Channel 4 in November 1987, and a film about the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, broadcast by the BBC in 1993. He also adapted Charles Dickens' Martin Chuzzlewit as a six-part television serial, first screened in 1994.
His first stage play, The Writing Game, was produced at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in May 1990, and subsequently in Manchester and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lodge adapted it for Channel 4 television in 1996. His most recent play, Home Truths, was performed at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1998. The author subsequently re-wrote the play as a novella, published in 1999. Consciousness and the Novel (2002), explores the representation of human consciousness in fiction, and includes essays on Charles Dickens, Henry James and John Updike. His novel, Author, Author: A Novel (2004), opens in December 1915 with the dying Henry James, and journeys back to the 1880s to explore James's 'middle years'.
David Lodge lives in Birmingham. His latest novel is Deaf Sentence (2008), based on his own experience of deafness.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Friday, 17 April 2009
On 23rd April, England celebrates the day of its patron saint, St. George. But, St. George isn't just the patron saint of England. In this WebQuest you will discover the answers to these questions: Who was St. George? What is he the patron saint of? Where is his day celebrated? Did he really kill a dragon?
Activity 1: Who was Saint George?
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
While in medical practice, Hosseini began writing his first novel, The Kite Runner, in March of 2001. In 2003, The Kite Runner, was published and has since become an international bestseller, published in 48 countries. In 2006 he was named a goodwill envoy to UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency. His second novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns was published in May of 2007. Currently, A Thousand Splendid Suns is published in 25 countries. He lives in northern California.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
clipped from http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/wordsinthenews/2009/03/090323_witn_water.shtml
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Watch out! Some people get goosebumps... This is the amazing Riverdance performing as the Interval Act at Eurovision 1994, most people agree that Irish music was reborn to the whole world that day.
Monday, 9 March 2009
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
According to Christian beliefs, Lent commemorates Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness, and observant Christians mark this period by fasting. So Shrove Tuesday was cleverly invented to use up the ingredients that were given up for Lent - milk, butter and, particularly, eggs - which may not be eaten again until Easter.
Learn more at...
Monday, 16 February 2009
Her official website at http://www.katerusby.com/
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
In the beginning, Valentine's Day was associated with romantic couples only but in recent times the festival is seen in much larger perspective. Now, people take opportunity of the day to wish ‘Happy Valentine's Day' to anyone they love be it father, mother, teachers, siblings, friends, co-workers or just anyone special to them. The idea behind this tradition is to celebrate love, get love and give love to everyone around us.