Thursday, February 17, 2011

Presidents' Day

Next Monday, people in the United States will celebrate Presidents' Day. Presidents' Day falls on the third Monday of February and it celebrates the birthdays of two presidents of the United States: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789. Six years before, he led the American troops against Great Britain in the War of Independence (1775-1783). He was an honest and beloved president.

Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States from 1861 to 1865. At that time slavery was something that divided the North and the South of the United States. The people from the South wanted to have slaves, the people from the North were against slavery. The American Civil War broke out. The North won the war.The battle of Gettysburg was decisive for the North. Here, Lincoln gave a famous speech which is now in the minds of all Americans. In this speech, Lincoln referred to the American political system as being a: "government of the people, by the people, for the people". Lincoln was shot on 14 April 1865.

Presidents' Day is a national holiday. People hang their flags outside their homes and kids do different activities and crafts to celebrate this day. Lincoln's hat and the American Eagle are two of the most common images we can see this day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to make Valentine's muffins

Saint Valentine's Day

Tomorrow,February 14, we celebrate Saint Valentine's Day. People in love give cards and presents to each other. There were many Christian martyrs called Valentine. Therefore, there are many theories about who Valentine was. One of them points to a Christian priest who was executed for performing marriages secretly during the time of the Roman emperor Claudius II. One legend says that Valentine was a a Christian prisoner who fell in love with the prison keeper's daughter and wrote a letter to her signing it "from your Valentine".

The festivity of Valentine's Day seems to have originated in pagan times in Rome when people celebrated an annual fertility festival called Lupercalia in mid-February. During the Middle Ages, Saint Valentine became the patron saint of love and lovers in England and France. In 498 AD, Pope Gelasius changed the pagan Feast of Lupercalia for St Valentine's Day, celebrating it February 14.

However, some people claim that romance was linked with Valentine's Day because people in England and France during the Middle Ages believed that birds began to look for their mate from February 14. Thus, we find in the Parlement of Foules (1382) by Chaucer:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day

Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.

One of the most important customs of Valentine's Day is the exchange of love cards called ‘Valentines'. The tradition is said to have initiated in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans who sent a Valentine Day card to his wife from prison. These cards are nicely decorated, being the most common symbols roses, hearts, doves and winged Cupids. These cards are normally signed with a question mark.

Lovers also write poems, the most common modern poem is:

The rose is red, the violet's blue

The honey's sweet, and so are you

Thou are my love and I am thine

I drew thee to my Valentine

The lot was cast and then I drew

And Fortune said it shou'd be you.

Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784)

And now, find your Valentine!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Programa de Inmersión Lingüística en colonias de vacaciones para el verano de 2011

10 de febrero, 2011

La Secretaría de Estado de Educación y Formación Profesional, a través de la Resolución de 27 de enero de 2011, convoca ayudas para participar en un Programa de Inmersión Lingüística en colonias de vacaciones, para el verano de 2011. Van orientadas a alumnos y alumnas matriculados/as en 5º y 6º de Educación Primaria y 1º de Enseñanza Secundaria Obligatoria. La edad de los/as participantes no podrán superar los 13 años a fecha de 31 de diciembre de 2.011. El plazo de presentación de solicitudes finalizará el 7 de marzo de 2.011. Éstas se entregarán en la Secretaría del Centro quien se encargará de tramitarlas ante el Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia.

Para más información pinchar en el siguiente enlace:
BOE núm.35, 10 de febrero de 2011