domingo, 16 de mayo de 2010


The Tuesday before Lent is known as Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday. In 2010 it was enjoyed on 16th February. It is celebrated as Carnival and Mardi Gras in many places of the world.

On that day it is traditional to eat pancakes, toss pancakes and take part in pancake races.

The origins of eating pancakes arose from Christians who observe Lent and wanted to use up all the rich foods in their cupboards before that period. During Lent eggs, sugar and butter were not allowed so these ingredients were used to make pancakes.

A pancake is a thin, flat cake, made of butter and fried in a frying pan. It is served immediately from the frying pan.

Caster sugar (superfine sugar) is sprinkled over the top and a dash of fresh lemon juice added. The pancake is then rolled. Pancakes are served with syrup, partridgeberry jam and sausages.
Different things are added to pancakes such as coins, pieces of string, nails, wedding rings, buttons...

The lucky one to find coins in their pancake will be rich, the finder of the ring will be the first married, the finder of the nail will become a carpenter and the finder of the button will be a tailor.

Pancake races are also very typical on this day. The object of the race is to get to the finishing line first after having run a designated path that ends up at the church whilst flipping a pancake in a frying pan a pre-decided number of times. The skill lies not so much in the running of the race but in flipping and catching the pancake, which must be intact when the finishing line is reached. Only women are allowed to participate in this race.

It all began in 1445 when a woman was cooking pancakes on Shrove Tuesday to use up all of her perishables before Lent. While she was still cooking she heard the chiming of the bells summoning her to church. Not wanting to be late, the woman ran to church with her apron on and the frying pan still in her hand.

Annual Pancake Grease is held at the famous Westminster School in London. A verger from Westminster Abbey leads a procession of eager boys into the playground where the school cook tosses a huge pancake over a five-meter high bar. The boys then race to grab a portion of the pancake and the one who ends up with the largest piece receives a cash bonus from the Dean.

Skipping is also typical on Shrove Tuesday, where everyone assembles on the promenade to skip. Long ropes are stretched across the road and there maybe be ten or more people skipping on one rope.

sábado, 8 de mayo de 2010


The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn, and he almost didn't get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.

The St. Patrick's Day custom started in Ireland but it came to America in 1737. That was the first year St. Patrick's Day was publicly celebrated in this country, in Boston.

St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17. On St. Patrick's Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. People dance, drink and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon, cabbage, corned beef or Irish soda bread.

The first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in the United States, as these parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans, as well as a must-attend event for a slew of political candidates.

One traditional icon of the day is the shamrock. And this stems from a more bona fide Irish tale that tells how Patrick used the three-leafed shamrock to explain the Trinity. His followers adopted the custom of wearing a shamrock on his feast day.

Nowadays, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by people of all backgrounds in the United States, Canada and Australia. Although North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in other locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia.

In modern-day Ireland, St. Patrick's Day has traditionally been a religious occasion. However, Iast year, close to one million people took part in Ireland's St. Patrick's Festival in Dublin, a multi-day celebration featuring parades, concerts, outdoor theater productions and fireworks shows.

One reason St. Patrick's Day might have become so popular is that it takes place just a few days before the first day of spring. One might say it has become the first green of spring.

martes, 4 de mayo de 2010


Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem. In many churches, during Palm Sunday services, large palm branches are carried in processions.

Christians remember Maundy Thursday as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist. The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. Roman Catholic church services feature a ceremony in which the priest washes the feet of 12 people to commemorate Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus and is a day of mourning in church.

Hot cross buns are sweet, spiced buns made with dried fruit and leavened with yeast. A cross, the symbol of Christ, is placed on top of the buns, either with pastry or a simple mixture of flour and water. The buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday.

Easter Sunday is the commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is celebrated with great enjoyment by Christians. Churches are usually filled with flowers and the celebrations include the singing of special hymns.

Easter eggs, symbolising new life, have long been associated with the Easter festival. Chocolate Easter eggs, are a favourite part of Easter in Australia. Some families and community groups organise Easter egg hunts for children in parks and recreational areas. Easter eggs are traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday.

The Easter Bilby, instead of the Easter bunny, delivers eggs to Australian children.


Easter Monday is the day after Easter Sunday. It is not a federal holiday in the United States of America. Some Easter traditions continue on the Easter Monday, such as the egg rolling race at the White House.
Egg rolling is a popular activity on Easter Monday.

Palm Sunday in the United States celebrates Jesus Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. It is also the Sunday before Easter Sunday.
Many Christians in the United States remember Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week.

Easter Sunday is an important day in the Christian church calendar because it celebrates Jesus Christ's resurrection, according to Christian belief.
It is also a time for decorating eggs or sharing chocolate eggs among friends and family.

Maundy Thursday, which is also known as Holy Thursday, is the day before Good Friday.
It commemorates Jesus Christ’s last supper and the initiation of Holy Communion (the Eucharist), observed in many Christian churches.

Good Friday commemorates Jesus Christ's crucifixion.
Good Friday occurs two days before Easter Sunday in the United States. It is the day when Christians commemorate Jesus Christ's crucifixion. It is not a federal holiday in the United States, although it is a state holiday in some states.

Holy Saturday is the day before Easter Sunday in the United States.
Many Christians in the United States attend an Easter vigil service on Holy Saturday. They remember Holy Saturday as the day when Jesus lay in his tomb. An Easter candle is lit in some homes, particularly among families who cannot attend the Easter vigil services.
Children decorate eggs with paint, crayon, water colors, stickers and other material. These eggs are often placed in Easter baskets.


Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. In Britain, the Queen takes part in the Ceremony of the Royal Maundy, which dates back to Edward I. This involves the distribution of Maundy Money to deserving senior citizens (one man and one woman for each year of the sovereign's age), usually chosen for having done service to their community.

On the Friday before Easter, Christians commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is a day of mourning in church and special Good Friday services are held.

The week of Easter begins on Palm Sunday. Christians carry palm branches in parades, and make them into crosses and garlands to decorate the Church.
Easter eggs are a very old tradition going to a time before Christianity. Eggs after all are a symbol of spring and new life.

Nowadays people give each other Easter eggs made of chocolate, usually hollow and filled with sweets. British children hunt for (chocolate) Easter eggs hidden about the home or garden by the Easter bunny.

Hot cross buns, now eaten throughout the Easter season, were first baked in England to be served on Good Friday. These small, lightly sweet yeast buns contain raisins or currants and sometimes chopped candied fruit. Before baking, a cross is slashed in the top of the bun.

Easter bonnets or baskets are also made which have things like daffodils in them. Easter bonnet competitions are held and children go to these competitions to see whose bonnet is the best.

domingo, 2 de mayo de 2010


Here you have a link with some ideas for Christmas (stories, poems, prayes, songs, ...)

sábado, 24 de abril de 2010


In some parts of Australia, such as Western Australia, Halloween is celebrated on Guy Fawkes Day (on the 5th November) or as it is also known Mischief Night or Danger Night. However, most Australians celebrate Halloween on October 31th. It is also known as All Hallows’ Eve and is the day before All Saints’ Day.

It is a day for children to create mischief by doing tricks or getting a treat.

It was not widely done in Australia as it was in America and elsewhere, in fact most children in Australia celebrated it as dance at their schools or in other activities.

However, Halloween is fast becoming a popular occasion in Australia, with regular Halloween events, parades and fetes at schools, house decorations, parties, and groups of children and teenagers dressed up in Halloween costumes, trick or treating through local streets.


Halloween is an annual festival which takes place on October 31th and has its roots in pagan customs. In the United States Halloween is celebrated by hosting costume parties, playing 'trick-or-treat', watching horror films, visiting haunted houses or carving lanterns out of pumpkins.

Halloween is usually celebrated amongst family, friends and, sometimes, co-workers. However, some areas hold large community events. Parties and other events may be planned on October 31 or in the weekends before and after this date.

Many children dress up in fancy costumes and visit other homes in the neighborhood. At each house, they demand sweets, snacks or a small gift. If they do not get this, they threaten to do some harm to the inhabitants of the house. This is known as playing 'trick-or-treat'.

Some families carve lanterns with 'scary' faces out of pumpkins or other vegetables or decorate their homes and gardens in Halloween style.

One cause that ties with Halloween is collecting donations for the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF). As children trick-or-treat on Halloween night, some of them might carry small cardboard boxes with the UNICEF logo on them and collect coins instead of the usual candy. The money collected is then given to UNICEF and used to help needy children worldwide.


In England Halloween was nicknamed, Nutcracker Night or Snap Apple Night. Families would sit before a great fire in the hearth, roasting nuts and eating apples. They told stories and played holiday games.

Nowadays in England children make "pumpkins" and they carry them through the streets and sing the Pumpkin Night Song. They knock on doors and ask for money.

In some parts of England Turnip Lanterns are placed on gateposts to protect homes from the spirits.

In parts of northern England, there is a traditional festival called Mischief Night on November 4th. During the celebration, children play tricks on adults.

Halloween celebrations in England started in the late twentieth century under the pressure of American cultural influence.

Bobbing for apples is a game associated with Halloween. In it, attempts are made with one's mouth only to catch an apple placed in a water-filled barrel. Once an apple is caught, it is sometimes peeled and tossed over the shoulder in the hope that the strips would fall into the shape of a letter, which would be the first initial of the participant's true love.

viernes, 23 de abril de 2010


Christmas Down Under in Australia is never white with temperatures ranging from 25-38 degrees centigrade. So, many Australians spend Christmas out of doors, going to the beach for the day.

Christmas is special to the majority of Australians for it is their Summer Holiday season and students finish their school year.

Up until 30 years ago, Christmas celebrations were heavily influenced by their original Anglo-Celtic influences. The English style of Christmas served as their model for celebrating Christmas. Today with the huge influx of overseas migrant Christmas celebrations are heavily influenced by the ethnicity of families involved.

Australians consider Christmas a time for remembering the birth of Jesus and the spiritual meaning of Christmas. For many, Christmas will begin with families attending a mid-night mass. After the mass, a little sleep is attempted. For many, the children in various households, wake up the family at dawn. Gifts are unwrapped and the joy of Christmas begins.

The tradition of an Australian Christmas Eve carol service lit by candles was started in 1937 by radio announcer Norman Banks. This outdoor service has now been held in
Melbourne every year since then.

Traditionally, extended families gather on 25 December for a Christmas lunch similar to a traditional United Kingdom Christmas meal that includes decorated hams, roast turkey, roast chicken, salads and roast vegetables, accompanied by
Champagne, and followed by fruit mince pies, trifle, and plum pudding with brandy butter. Christmas crackers are a feature of the meal. Candy canes are a popular confectionery in Australia in the Christmas period. More recently, as appropriate to the sometimes hot weather on the day, lighter meals featuring fish and seafood may be served, along with barbecue lunches. However, the typical roast remains popular.

The Australian traditions and decorations are quite similar to those of the United Kingdom and North America. The traditional
Christmas tree is the most crucial decorative item, while strings of lights and tinsel are common. The tradition of sending Christmas cards is widely practiced in Australia.

A popular tradition celebrated in
Adelaide is the Adelaide Christmas Pageant. This parade is the largest of its kind in the world, attracting crowds of over 400,000 people. Begun in 1933, the pageant is staged in early November every year, usually on a Saturday morning, marking the start of the Christmas season. It comprises a procession of floats, bands, clowns, dancing groups, and walking performers, all culminating in the arrival of Santa Claus.


In the United States Christmas begins on the fourth Thursday in November, just after the Thanksgiving holiday. On Thanksgiving Day, a parade is taken out in New York City that has the figure of Santa Claus participating in it.

In the final days leading to December 25th the exterior of almost every house is adorned with strands of electric lights. Christmas trees are also set up in most places. Many churches and private homes display illuminated Nativity Scenes commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Christmas Eve is a day of great joy. Some people attend a Midnight Mass service at church and participate in singing carols. The midnight mass starts at midnight, the point of transition from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day. The Christmas dinner in the U.S. includes turkey or ham, potatoes and pie. At Christmas Eve gatherings adults drink eggnog, a drink made of cream, milk, sugar, beaten eggs and brandy or rum. After dinner, children go to bed early but not before hanging up their stockings on the fireplace to be filled with gifts and goodies by Santa Claus. On the following morning, children wake up to look for their presents under their Christmas tree.

Christmas includes Christmas Tree, Yule log, Christmas card, Santa Claus with his reindeers and Mistletoe. Americans celebrate Christmas with the exchange of gifts, greetings and with family visits. Carols and songs are famous everywhere.


Advent (December 1st) is the official start of the run up to Christmas.
Two traditions in England are the Advent calendar and the Advent candle. The Advent Calendar originated in the 19th Century when Protestant Christian families made a chalk line for every day in December until Christmas Eve. Nowadays it is usually a rectangular card with 24 or 25 doors. Door number 1 is opened on the 1st of December, door 2 on the 2nd, etc. Behind each door there is a Christmas scene or a chocolate.
An Advent Candle often has 25 marks, a bit of the candle is burned by one mark each day. However, it is now more common to have four candles for the four weeks before Christmas with a final candle lit on Christmas Day.

In England less emphasis is placed on Christmas Eve (December 24th) than in other countries. Carol singing, midnight church services and going out to the pub are some of the activities that many families enjoy.
Night time on Christmas Eve is the when Father Christmas comes. Children hang up their stockings and go to sleep. In the morning, when they wake up, they open their stocking presents. Traditionally on Christmas Eve mince pies and sherry (or milk) are left out for Santa and carrots for his reindeers.

On Christmas Day, the average family gets out of bed and starts opening presents. When it is finished, the family sits down to breakfast.
Some families also attend church on Christmas Day.

The tradition of the Queen’s Message began in 1932 when King George V read a special speech written by Rudyard Kipling. Queen Elizabeth II continues the tradition to this day.

In England Boxing Day celebrated on December 26th, is traditionally a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants, and friends.
It originated in medieval times, when every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute gifts to the poor.

Saint Steven's Day (December 26th) marks the beginning of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It is a holiday of homecoming and family gatherings, with candles glowing in the windows.
In medieval times, the tradition was to hide a dried bean in a cake. The cake was then eaten on Twelfth Night (January 6th), during a party. The finder of the bean became "King of the Bean" and ruled the party.
Another eating myth is that for every mince pie you eat over the 12 days of Christmas you will have a month of good luck the following year.