Artículos de Noviembre 2008

Thanksgiving

Miércoles, 12 Noviembre 2008

Most fruit and vegetables grow through the summer  and are ready to bring in when autumn comes. This time is called the harvest. After the harvest, many people want to say thank you to God for all the food. There are church services called Harvest Festivals or Thanksgiving Services. There are lots of fruit, vegetables, flowers and loaves of bread in the church, and people sing special songs of thanks. These services started hundreds of years ago.

In September 1620, a group of English people called the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from Plymout, England across the Atlantic Ocean, in a ship called The Mayflower, to Cape Cod in North America. they went away from England because of their religion, and because they wanted land for their families. They wanted to grow food for themselves - not for other people. The pilgrims sailed - for sixty-six dangerous days - across the Atlantic Ocean. When they arrived, they called their new home New England, but they were not the first people to live there. The Indians were there first. Sometimes the Pilgrims fought with the Indians but they also learned a lot from them. The Indians showed them how to live from their new land, for example, and how to grow and cook new kinds of fruit and vegetables.

The first winter was difficult. Many of the Pilgrims died because it was very cold and they had little food. In the spring they started to grow food, helped by some friedly Indians, and in the autumn of 1621 they celebrated their first harvest.

The pilgrims wanted to give thanks, not only for the harvest, but for their new home, new life and new friends.

The date of Thanksgiving Day in the USA has changed three times, but it is now the fourth Thursday in November. Most American and Canadian families still have a Thanksgiving Day dinner with their family. They have turkey and autumn vegetables, and then pumpkin pie.

In the USA, there are a lot of big football matches on that day, so many people go to the games or watch them on television.

Canada is north of the USA, so the winter is longer and the harvest is earlier there. The date of Thanksgiving Day has changed more than once, but is now the second Monday in October. In Canada there is a Thanksgiving Day holiday and the traditional dinner is turkey and pumpkin pie - like in the USA.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations   -  OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)

Guy Fawkes’ Day

Martes, 11 Noviembre 2008

In 1604, the King of England was James I and a Protestant. Many people did not like him because they were Catholics and wanted a Catholic king. A Catholic called Guy Fawkes, and his friends, had a plot (a kind of plan) to kill King James, and his government, when he opened Parliament in London on 5th November 1605.

They put thirty-six boxes of gunpowder in a room underneath the Houses of Parliament. They wanted to kill everyone at the same time.

But the plan did not work. One of Guy Fawkes’ friends wrote a note to someone about it. At about midnight on 4th November, the King’s soldiers found Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder. They sent him to prison but he did not want to give the names of his friends. They did terrible things to him for eight days until he said all their names.

Parliament decided that Guy Fawkes and the other plotters had to die. In January 1606, when people heard the news that the plotters were dead, they made many fires in the streets to celebrate. King James was alive and well!

Every year on 5th November, in most parts of Britain, people build a fire outside, with all the dead leaves and ols piedces of wood they do not want. The fire is called a bonfire. they make a dummy (called a “guy”) of Guy Fawkes, from old clothes.

Sometimes children carry the guy around the streets to show people. They say: “Penny for the guy”, and ask people for money for fireworks.

Some people have a bonfire with fireworks in their garden, but fireworks are expensive, so often people get together and have one big party in a park or a field. It is usually very cold in November, so they have hot food and drinks to keep warm.

Many children learn these old words about Guy Fawkes’ Day:

Remember, remember,

The fifth of November,

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations   -  OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)

Hallowe’en

Lunes, 10 Noviembre 2008

The pagans who lived in Britain two thousand years ago celebrated their New Year on 1st November. Then the Christians came and people celebrated “Hallowmas”, a three-day festival between 31st October and 2nd November. 31st OCtober was called All Hallow’s Eve, and slowly the name changed to Hallowe’en.

In November, winter is near, and hundreds of years ago people believed that bad spirits, like ghosts, came in the winter. They wanted the bad spirits to go away, so they made fires outside and used big autumn fruit or vegetables to make jack o’lanterns. The name “jack o’lantern” means “Jack of the lantern”. A lantern is a kind of light, and some people think Jack was a nightwatchman who had one of these lights.

To make a jack o’lantern, people cut a hole in a large fruit - usually a pumpking. Then they put a candle in the hole, and cut a face in the side so the light was easy to see.

Another thing people did, to make the bad spirits go away, was to dress like witches and ghosts.

Children still do this if they go to Hallowe’en parties. People often put up decorations for Hallowe’en parties, and play games. The decorations are usually black (for dark nigts and death) and orange (for the autumn vegetables).

One Hallowe’en party game is called “bobbings for apples”. Many apples fall off the trees in October so they are easy to find.

Someone puts water and apples in a big bowl. The apples stay on top of the water. Often someone puts something round the first player’s head so they cannot see. The player must keep their hands behind their back and take an apple out of the water with their teeth. Then the next player tries. The game is sometimes very difficult and players usually get very wet!

In Canada and the USA, and sometimes in Britain, children go “trick or treating”. They dress like witches and ghosts, and go to the houses around where they live, often in a small group. When someone answers the door, the children say: “Trick or treat?” This means that the person in the house must decide. Either they give the children a treat (like fruit or chocolate) or the children will play a trick on them. For a trick the children sometimes throw something like an egg at the house.

(Text from Seasons and Celebrations   -  OXFORD BOOKWORMS 2)