Hogmanay in Scotland

In Scotland on the 31st of December we celebrate Hogmanay!

Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Year’s Eve. We have many different new year traditions!

In many Scottish cities, the Hogmanay celebrations start on the 30th of December with a torchlight procession.
torchlight-procession

In the evening of the 31st, all the family gathers together to have a meal. Traditionally, the house must be clean and tidy (even the insides of the kitchen cupboards!); and all debts must be paid. This is so that we start the new year well!

To finish the night, many people go to a traditional party called a ceilidh. There’s lots of Scottish folk music and everybody dances. It’s a great night!

On the 1st of January; New Year’s Day, it’s very difficult to wake up, so why not go for a refreshing “dook” in the river?
loony-dook

We have an expression in Scots: “Lang may yer lum reek!” Literally, it means “May your chimney always be smoky”, and we use it to wish our friends and family warmth and happiness for the year. So, lang may yer lum reek!

New Year in Scotland !

On the last day of the year we celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of another! At midnight there is a countdown – ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one….. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Everyone sings a Scottish song called Auld Lang Syne that is originally a poem by a Scottish man called Robert Burns. The words ‘Auld Lang Syne’ translates from an old Scottish dialect to ‘Old Long Since’. The song is about love and friendship!

Everybody stands in a big circle, crosses their arms, hold hands with the next person and sings….

‘Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

And never brought to mind,

Should auld acquaintance be forgot;

For auld lang syne’

new years

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On the 1st  January lots of people make New Year Resolutions. This is a list of promises to oneself for the New Year. The New Year is a fresh start!

Here are some examples:

  • I will eat more vegetables. veg
  • I will go to the gym three times a week.gym

 

 

  • I will be nicer to my brothers.
  • I will learn my English verbs.

Saint Andrew’s Day

In Scotland, we celebrate our national day on the 30th of November – Saint Andrew’s Day!

 

Legends tell us that Saint Andrew created the Scottish flag – a white cross on a blue background. The blue backgroud represents the sky, and the white cross is the clouds.


(The orange text is a regional Scottish language called Gàidhlig)

 

Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, but Saint Andrew’s Day is not a religious celebration. It’s a day where we celebrate Scottish culture, food, music, clothes and any other Scottish thing you can think of!

 

On the 30th of November, lots of men wear kilts. It’s a tradition!

 

We eat a traditional Scottish dinner with the family – haggis, neeps and tatties. Neeps is a Scottish word for turnip and tatties are potatoes.

 

And then we go to a cèilidh, a traditional party where we sing, dance, and listen to Scottish folk music.

 

It’s lots of fun! Happy Saint Andrew’s Day, everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving !

On thursday the 22nd was Thanksgiving in the USA.
This is an important day for all americans. They eat a lot of good food this day.
Bianca’s family sent photos to her with all the food prepared by her mother ( Turkey, mashed potatoes, macaroni, sweet potatoes, ham, pumpkin pie …)

Here is a song for you :
( Holiday Jazz Chants Carolyn Graham)

Here is a video which explains Thanksgiving.

Guy Fawkes Night

 

Guy Fawkes was a man who, on the 5th of November 1605, wanted to destroy the parliament with fire. His secret plan was discovered, and the King was saved! So, every year on the 5th of November we celebrate Guy Fawkes Night.

Capture

This is a picture of the celebrations in 1776.

Sometimes it’s called Bonfire night because people build large fires. Teenagers visit all the houses in the neighbourhood to ask for wood. Here it is in a forest on Arran island.

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But the best things about Guy Fawkes Night are… the fireworks!Capture4

This is a firework display in Glasgow Green, a big park near my house.

Liane

The emblems of English-speaking countries

 

 

Scotland

The thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland but there are lots of different types of thistles. Nobody knows which one is the exact emblem!

Description of the Thistle:

The thistle has spiky leaves to protect itself from animals who want to eat it! It also has a purple flower that is spiky as well!

The story of the Thistle:

When Norse vikings secretly attacked Scotland one stepped upon a thistle and let out a cry of pain! ‘Arghhhhh!’ he said. He was so loud that the Scottish heard his cry and were ready to fight! The Norse vikings were defeated by the Scottish – the Scottish people won the battle! Winner, winner!


 

 

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           Ireland

The shamrock is the floral emblem of the Republic of Ireland. It is also a emblem of Catholism in Ireland.

Description of the Shamrock:

The shamrock is a small, three-leafed plant. A shamrock with FOUR leaves is good luck!

The history of the Shamrock

In fact, the shamrock is a modern emblem. It became popular in the 19th century when Nationalist movements used it as their symbol of nationalism. Today, the shamrock is often used as a symbol by Irish companies (for example Aer Lingus) and sports teams. It is also put in the bouquets of flowers of brides on their wedding day to give good luck!


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Wales

The national emblem of Wales is the leek and the daffodil! This vegetable and this flower represent this small country, let us find out why!

The history of the leek

During the time of Shakespeare and even before – the leek was worn around the neck of Welshmen. Today, it is on the badges of every Welsh soldier of the Welsh Regiment.

The Daffodil

It was introduced in the 19th century as a remplacement of the leek. The only Welsh Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was a strong advocate for this new symbol for his country. The daffodil also symbolises nature`s optimism!


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England

 

The rose is the symbol of love but it is also the symbol of England!

The history of the Rose

It became the symbol of England after the War of the Roses between the Royal House of Lancaster and the Royal House of York thanks to King Henry VII. The rose is red and white representing the House of Lancaster and the House of York. Sometimes it is called the Union Rose.

School in the USA

Elementary schools in France are similar to schools in the USA but also differ in many ways. I will explain a few aspects of elementary school life in the USA.

The French School System vs. the American School System:

Cours préparatoire (CP) – 1st grade

Cours élémentaire 1 (CE1) – 2nd grade

Cours élémentaire 2 (CE2) – 3rd grade

Cours moyen 1 (CM1) – 4th grade

Cours moyen 2 (CM2) – 5th grade

School Days and Vacation:

Students are in school from 8am to 3pm, 5 days a week (M – F)

. They have 4 days of holidays in November for Thanksgiving, 1.5 weeks for Christmas and New Years, and 1 week for Easter / Spring break. Students have a 3 month vacation for summer break.

School Subjects:

Students learn math, science, history, and a language. Students also have P.E. class (physical education ), music class, and an art class.

School Materials:

Students bring a backpack to school to transfer their school materials to and from school. Because students bring their own lunches, students bring lunch boxes. The most used materials in the classroom include: three ring binders, pencils, erasers, pencil cases, folders, notebooks, glue sticks, and rulers.

 

Transportation:

The way students are transported to and from school depends on the size of the city. However, many students take a big yellow bus to school.  A big yellow school bus picks up students at their homes or at a designated bus stop within the city. Students ride to and from school together on this bus. Carpooling is also another popular way to get to and from school where students will ride with one another.

After School Activities:

Students often participate in after school activities once the school day has ended. Many schools offer after school programs

that allow students to play sports, learn musical instruments, or create art projects.