Friday, November 26, 2010


Time is fast approaching when it comes to talk about exams. Here you are some extra help for this first term. Cheer up!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

On the picture, the first Thanksgiving meal of the Pilgrims, at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.

In spite of being a secular holiday, the origin of this festivity was religious. It was a time to give thanks for the first harvest after the arrival and settlement of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower. In those hard days, Native Indians taught the newcomers how to cook new staples and survive in a different country. Hence this celebration remains through years in order to express respect and gratitude in general.
Nowadays, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. The typical Thanksgiving dinner, a roasted stuffed turkey in cranberry sauce, baked beans, creamed potatoes with gravy and pumpkin pie gathers families and friends around. It is a tradition to send loving and best wishes messages to their relatives, classmates or colleagues at work. They often give presents to each other and taking advantage from the season, they decorate their houses with cornucopias, wreaths of fresh or dried flowers and leaves, cranberries, pumpkins, beans, corn and... turkeys.  That's the reason Thanksgiving is also referred to as Turkey Day! Where do you think wishbones come from? Do you understand the joke now? Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Traditional tale

Long time ago, I told you this tale from the Ivory Coast. As my new pupils don't know about it, I want them to share this experience with us. The picture, on the right, was painted by Paul Gauguin, 19th century.

Nowadays it's very common to study languages. But do we really know our mother tongue?

Zogloboló, an African king who took himself far too seriously, forbade his subjects to speak to him. They could only communicate with him through signs. One day, Zogloboló began a trip to meet with African kings in a nearby city. But he felt the urgent call of nature in his way and stepped aside to retrieve himself. As he was in a hurry, his cloak got tangled up and without realising it, he did it on himself.

When he returned to the road, there was great laughter: "Hahahahaha!"...His subjects tried to warn him with signs but Zogloboló didn't understand what they meant. So he appeared for the meeting with a foul-smelling "cake" on his cloak. The other kings began to hold their nose but Zogloboló, who didn't bat an eyelid, spoke: "I'm here to...", he began his speech, which was soon interrupted by another king: "You are a great leader, but I have to tell you that you have a "cake" on your cloak and we can no longer stand the terrible smell". Then, Zogloboló turned around and when he discovered it, he felt so embarrassed that he ran away from the group. Ever since, all his subjects had the right to speak and the king listened to them with patience and attention.

Fortunately, there's freedom of speech, but do we know how to speak and listen?
Source: Sofia Adalid's Collection of Tales of the World.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eid Mubarak

The feast of the Slaughter of the Lamb (in Arabic, Aïd el Kebir) is a very ancient celebration for Muslims. It is very popular in African countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria or Senegal, but it is also spread throughout other Asian and Oceanian countries.The origin of this festivity dates back to biblical legends and to Coranic scriptures.
It all began the day Ibrahim offered Ismael up, his first-son born from Agar, his first wife, to Allah as a proof of his endless love. However, his lord's mightiness replaced  Ismael with a great white lamb taken from paradise, forgiving Ibrahim his sacrifice and thereby, allowing the Arab people's preservation through the shape of a sheep. Since then, Muslims celebrate this feast of the lamb on the tenth day of the month of dihija, which comes seventy days after Ramadan festivity. This year these celebrations are taking place on 16th. November.
Source: taken from the magazine Derechos para todos.

Answer the following questions:
a-Where is the feast of the lamb celebrated? Find more countries apart from those ones mentioned in the text.
b-What does the sheep represent?
c-Who do Allah, Ibrahim and Ismael stand for in the Judeo-Christian tradition?
d-What does Eid Mubarak mean?
e-Do you know any special recipe for this festivity? Write it down with its ingredients and its making.