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domingo, 27 de julio de 2014

THE FIRST UNION FLAG

On 28th July, 1707, during the reign of Queen Anne, the Union Flag was by royal proclamation made the National flag of Great Britain. The National Flags of Scotland and England were united to form the flag.




When the red cross of England was put onto the flag of Scotland, a white border was added around the red cross for reasons of heraldry. (The rules of heraldry demanded that two colours must never touch each other.)

The Union Flag today
Today's Union Flag not only represents Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) but also Northern Ireland.
On 1 January 1801, Ireland was united with Great Britain and it became necessary to have a new National Flag in which Ireland was represented. The cross St Patrick was combined with the Union Flag of Great Britain, to create the Union Flag that has been flown ever since.




United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland were all joined together and called the United Kingdom of Great 
Britain and Ireland.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The name was later changed to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland when the greater part of Ireland left the United Kingdom in 1921.



The flags of the Patron Saints of England, Scotland and Ireland are represented on the Union Flag.

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viernes, 25 de julio de 2014

ST CHRISTOPHER - 25TH JULY


The 25 July is St Christopher's day. He is the patron saint of travelling and travellers, mariners, ferrymen and also athletes.
There are several legends about him including this popular one:

One dark and stormy night, a child came to Christopher and asked to be carried across the river. Christopher put the child on his shoulders and waded into the wild river. He found the child unusually heavy and had to struggle desperately to reach the other side. When he reached the othe other side the child told him that he was the Christ for image: pendantand that he had carried the weight of the whole world on his shoulder.





The literal meaning of the name 'Christopher is Christ-bearer.





Some people where St Christophers pendants, or give them to friends and relatives, when they are going on a long journey.

The 25th July is also dedicated to St. James the Great, the patron saint of Spain.

lunes, 21 de julio de 2014

FIRST MAN ON THE MOON

On 21 July 1969, American Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. Eagle landing craft. As he put his left foot down first Armstrong declared: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." He described the surface as being like powdered charcoal and the landing craft left a crater about a foot deep.

Take off
On 16 July 1969, the Saturn V rocket launched Apollo 11 into the sky from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The Crew
Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, Michael Collins

The Lunar Module
To land on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin used a lunar module nicknamed Eagle. When they landed Neil sent the following message back to Earth

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."

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viernes, 18 de julio de 2014

NELSON MANDELA

Nelson Mandela was born on 18 July 1918. He served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Mandela was not afraid to challenge things that were wrong and he suffered for his beliefs.

Unfair system

Mandela grew up in South Africa under system of segregation called Apartheid. Non-white people couldn't use libraries, beaches, parks and toilets that were reserved for white people. Black people and people of mixed race could not go to school with white people or play on sport teams with them. All the rules of the country were made by white Africans.

Sent to prison for his beliefs

Nelson Mandela dedicated his life to the struggle for racial equality in South Africa. He spent 27 years in prison for opposing the South African system of segregation.

South Africa today

Today, thanks to the self-sacrifice of Nelson Mandela, apartheid has been outlawed. Everyone in South Africa now has an equal opportunity at home and at work to live comfortable, productive lives. Nelson Mandela is one of the world's true freedom fighters, and his life and personal triumphs will be remembered for many years.

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martes, 15 de julio de 2014

ST. SWITHIN'S DAY - 15 JULY

St. Swithin's Day is 15 July, a day on which people watch the weather for tradition says that whatever the weather is like on St. Swithin's Day, it will continue so for the next forty days.

There is a weather-rhyme is well known throughout the British Isles since Elizabethan times.

'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'

dost = does

thou = you
nae mair = no more.


Who was St. Swithin?

St. Swithin (or more properly, Swithun) was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester. He was born in the kingdom of Wessex and educated in its capital, Winchester. He was famous for charitable gifts and building churches.

Why do people watch the weather on St. Swithin's day?

A legend says that as the Bishop lay on his deathbed, he asked to be buried out of doors, where he would be trodden on and rained on. For nine years, his wishes were followed, but then, the monks of Winchester attempted to remove his remains to a splendid shrine inside the cathedral on 15 July 971. According to legend there was a heavy rain storm either during the ceremony or on its anniversary.

This led to the old wives' tale (folklore) that if it rains on St Swithin's Day (July 15th), it will rain for the next 40 days in succession, and a fine 15th July will be followed by 40 days of fine weather.
However, according to the Met Office, this old wives' tale is nothing other than a myth. It has been put to the test on 55 occasions*, when it has been wet on St Swithin's Day and 40 days of rain did not follow

* source: the book entitled 'Red Sky At Night'

What symbols are associated with St. Swithins?
The emblems of St. Swithin refer to the legend of the forty days' rain (raindrops) and the apples from the trees he planted.

Apples and St. Swithuns

"St Swithin is christening the apples" Brand, Popular Antiquities, 1813, i, 342

There is an old saying when it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it is the Saint christening the apples.
Apple growers ask St. Swithin for his blessing each year because they believe:
•Rain on St. Swithin's day 'blesses and christens the apples'.
•No apple should picked or eaten before July 15th.
•Apples still growing at St Swithin's day will ripen fully.





lunes, 14 de julio de 2014

POBRE DE MÍ, THE END-CEREMONY OF SANFERMÍN

At midnight on the 14th July the fiesta formally closes with the ceremony called the "Pobre de Mí."
This takes place in front of the Town Hall, where the fiesta was opened 8½ days earlier. There are other events also taking place in the city, (such as the Peñas gathering in the main square - the Plaza del Castillo, for their own celebration).

However, in front of the Town Hall a large crowd gathers to sing "Pobre de Mí, Pobre de Mí, que se han acabado las fiestas, de San Fermín." (Poor me, poor me, for the fiesta of San Fermín has come to a close).
This is a very sad occasion because it is the end of the fiesta, (though many are relieved because they cannot take any more), but they still look forward to next year and even sing "Ya falta menos" (there is not long to go).

In fact, the Pobre de mí is the end of a long day of farewells; the farewell of the Giants takes place in the morning. There is also the farewell of the Peñas in the Plaza de Toros in the evening.



BASTILLE DAY 14TH JULY


What is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day is the French national holiday which is celebrated on 14 July each year. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
At one time in France, kings and queens ruled. Many people were very angry with the decisions made by the kings and queens.

What was Bastille?

The Bastille was a prison in France that the kings and queens often used to lock up the people that did not agree with their decisions.

Why was the Bastille prison attacked by the French people?

To many people, the prison was a symbol of all the bad things done by the kings and queens, so the storming of the prison was a symbol of liberty (freedom) and the fight against oppression for all French citizens
The French Revolution and the End of the Monarchy

The storming of the Bastille was the beginning of the French Revolution. Like the American Revolution, the French Revolution brought great changes. Kings and queens no longer rule France. The people rule themselves and make their own decisions.
On 21 September 1792 France became a republic.
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domingo, 6 de julio de 2014

SAN FERMÍN 2014_ OPENING CEREMONY (CHUPINAZO)







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SAN FERMÍN_PROMOTIONAL VIDEO


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SAN FERMIN 6th - 14th JULY

Sanfermin
The festival of Sanfermín (or Sanfermines) in the city of Pamplona (Navarre, Spain), is a deeply rooted celebration held annually from 12:00, 6 July, when the opening of the fiesta is marked by setting off the pyrotechnic txupinazo, to midnight 14 July, with the singing of the Pobre de Mí.

Sanfermin is internationally known for the event of the running of the bulls, where the bulls are let loose through some of the streets of the old part of the city. The runnings of the bulls take place from the 7th of July to the 14th of July inclusive at 8.00 am in the morning. At midday on the 6th of July the fiestas open with the txupinazo rocket. That day there is no running of the bulls but there sure is a lot of partying. It was thanks to the writing of American writer Ernest Hemingway that San Fermin developed the notoriety of today. The publication of his novel "The Sun Also Rises" in 1926 told the world about the Pamplona bull running festival which attracted people from all over the world to this annual festival.
The fiestas are celebrated in honor of Saint Fermin, patron of Navarra, and both the religious elements and the wild partying elements live out the fiestas in good harmony.

The Txupinazo VIDEO 2014
The explosion of the fireworks rocket at midday on the 6th of July is the signal for the start of nine days of non-stop partying. This moment is marked by a rocket - the "Txupinazo" - which is set off to announce the start of the Fiesta.




Riau Riau
On the 6th of July, at 4.30 in the afternoon, Sanfermin tradition dictates that everyone should gather for the riau-riau. Nowadays, the motivation is rather different to the original reason.
The municipal band, "La Pamplonesa" played a set piece of music "el Valls de Astráin" and the people danced, sang, drank and blocked the route for as long as possible.

Procession
The 7th of July, at 10.00 am on the day, the procession of Saint Fermin leaves from the church of San Lorenzo. The route is jam-packed with crowds who want to see the image of the saint and the entourage that accompany the figure of the saint.

Bull Running
All the information, photos and videos on the most emblematic event in Sanfermin



The corrida
The corrida or bullfight during San Fermin is very different to bullfights in any other big bullring in Spain or anywhere else. For the simple reason that it is something more than just a bullfight.



Pobre de mí
At midnight on the 14 th July the fiesta formally closes with the ceremony called the "Pobre de Mí."

SANFERMIN GIANTS AND BIGHEADS

HISTORY
According to a rather obscure tradition, during the procession of San Fermín in 1276, three Giants, called, Peru Suziales, Mari Suziales, his wife, and one called Jusef Lukurari (" The Usurer") - a personification of the popular repulsion against the Jews at that time, - were paraded dancing through the streets.

But the first authentic references to The Giants in San Fermin date from the beginning of the XVII century; in 1607 one Joanes de Azcona is named as being responsible for bringing out the assemblage of Giants along with a minstrel who was responsible for providing the accompanying music. In 1620 it is recorded that a carpenter, Joan de Torrobas, was paid 88 "reales" to mend four Giants.

It was the custom around that time to parade Giants in the evenings, after the bullfights, which were adorned with crackers and fireworks,(not unlike the present-day mechanical contrivance of the "Torch Bull" borne by a human) and which were frolicked around the square, before eventually ending up on the bonfire.

This practice of having Giants in the celebrations continued through the greater part of the XVIII century, until in 1780, The King, Carlos III, banned " the use of dancing Giants for leading any religious processions inside or outside all churches within this Kingdom" (by Royal Decree of tenth of July, 1780) which put a stop to the use of any Giants during the San Fermin celebrations. The Giants which had belonged to the Town Hall disappeared without any further trace while the Giants which belonged to the Cathedral were stored away and forgotten about, until 1813 when they were discovered by a carpenter who revived the old tradition by bringing them out once again into the streets. The response was so enthusiastic that The Town Hall gradually built up their own collection of Giants, along with accompanying figures such as the Zaldikos, Kilikis, and Cabezudos.

The Giants that are presently in use date from 1860 and were made by one Tadeo Amorena, a local painter from Pamplona. He presented a scheme to the Town Hall in March of that year to built four new Giants which would represent the "four corners of the world" and which would be more durable and yet lighter than the old ones. A local poet- one Ignacio Baleztena- couldn't help but write some caustic lines on the fact that :
"It seems poor Tadeo had never heard tell of The Oceanic Continent".

The present cabezudos in use were built in 1890 by one Félix Flores. Some of kilikis and zaldikos are from the last century while the rest date from this century.


viernes, 4 de julio de 2014

INDEPENDENCE DAY - 4th JULY


4th of July Pictures, Graphics, Images, CommentsIndependence Day in the United States is also known as the Fourth of July. It is a national holiday that commemorates the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. This was the day the USA was born and became independent from Great Britain. The terms “Independence Day” and the “Fourth of July” are a well-known part of the USA’s cultural language. People celebrate with national pride. There are fireworks, parades, sporting events and lots more. It is one of the biggest days on America’s holiday calendar. Politicians make speeches celebrating America’s history and traditions. In particular, attention turns to Thomas Jefferson’s speech that declared the United States of America as an independent nation.


Independence Day is a red, white and blue affair. The whole of the country displays American flags and banners. There are many festivals that enact famous events from America’s history. It is also a day when the nation gets outdoors. Picnics and barbecues with family and friends are the most popular ways to celebrate. In the evening, there are thousands of fireworks displays across the country. One of the most popular is the Macy’s department store show on New York’s East River. This is televised nationwide by the NBC TV channel. Also in New York, you can witness the Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island. Indeed, American food is of course a big part of the day and millions of hot dogs, burgers and pizzas are eaten.


4th OF JULY - INDEPENDENCE DAY- GAMES



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lunes, 23 de junio de 2014

SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST DAY AND EVE

The evening of 23 JuneSt John's Eve, is the eve of celebration before the Feast Day of St John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:36, 56–57) states that John was born about six months before Jesus, therefore the feast of John the Baptist was fixed on 24 June six months before Christmas. This feast day is one of the very few saints' days to mark the supposed anniversary of the birth, rather than the death, of the saint commemorated.
The Feast of St John coincides with the June solstice also referred to as Midsummer. The Christian holy day is fixed at 24 June but in some countries, festivities are celebrated the night before on St John's Eve.




What do people do?
Saint John the Baptist Day is celebrated in many villages and towns. Many events take place on the evening of June 23. People celebrate Saint John the Baptist Day by:
  • Lighting bonfires, jumping over small fires (correfocs) and setting off fireworks.
  • Writing wishes or sins on a piece of paper and burning the paper.
  • Diving or bathing in dew, a stream, a river or the sea.
  • Staying awake all night near a small fire.
  • Watching the sun rise on the morning of June 24.
  • Collecting and cooking with the herbs thyme, rosemary and verbena.
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MIDSUMMER'S EVE IN SPAIN

The traditional midsummer party in Spain is the celebration in honour of San Juan (St. John the Baptist) and takes place in the evening of June 23. It is common in many areas of the country. Parties are organised usually at beaches, where bonfires are lit and a set of firework displays usually take place. On the Mediterranean coast, especially in Catalonia and València, special meals like Coca de Sant Joan are also served on this occasion. In Alicante, since 1928, the bonfires of Saint John were developed into elaborate constructions inspired by the Fallas of Valencia.

Midsummer tradition is also especially strong in northern areas of the country, such as Galicia, where one can easily identify the rituals that reveal the pagan beliefs widespread throughout Europe in Neolithic times. These beliefs pivot on three basic ideas: the importance of medicinal plants, especially in relation to health, youth and beauty; the protective character of fire to ward men off evil spirits and witches and, finally, the purifying, miraculous effects of water.

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sábado, 21 de junio de 2014

JUNE 21st IS E DAY, THE DAY OF THE SPANISH LANGUAGE



In over 70 centers worldwide, the Instituto Cervantes celebrates the Spanish language on June 21st, the fourth annual Día E or Día del Español (Spanish Day). Spoken by 500 million people, Spanish is the official language of over 20 nations. This celebration promotes an ongoing effort to raise awareness about the importance of Spanish and to establish a meeting point for all Spanish speakers. The main objective is to recognize Spanish as an international language of communication. We celebrate its diversity & capacity to cultivate society with an entire day of exciting activities that honor Spanish as a means of international communication. We invite everybody to join us in celebrating this special day. 
For more information go to: http://www.eldiae.es/



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MIDSUMMER'S EVE

Midsummer Eve is fast approaching. Midsummer may simply refer to the period of time centered upon the summer solstice, but more often refers to specific European celebrations that accompany the actual solstice, or that take place around the 24th of June and the preceding evening. The exact dates vary between cultures.
European midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are pre-Christian in origin.

When is Midsummer's Day?
Midsummer's Day, the middle of summer, falls on on 24 June, after the longest day (Summer Solstice). Before the change of calendars, Midsummer's day fell on 5 July.
Why are Midsummer's Day and the Summer Solstice not on the same day?
The longest day in the northern hemisphere is today either the 20th or 21st of June, whilst Midsummer's Day in Europe is traditionally on 24 June.This discrepancy is said to have been caused by the variants of the Julian Calendar and the Tropical Year further confused by the Gregorian Calendar.
What used to happen on Midsummer's Eve?
Midsummer's Eve is a time associated with witches, magic, fairies and dancing.On the eve of Midsummer's Day, many bonfires were lit all over the country. This was in praise of the sun, for the days were getting shorter and the sun appeared to be getting weaker, so people would light fires to try and strengthen the sun.
Midsummer's Eve today
Practice of this ancient ritual, which also includes a Summer Solstice Circle Dance, is now mainly confined to Cornwall, the West Country, and London's Hampstead Heath.
Midsummer's Superstitions
Roses are of special importance on Midsummer's Eve. It is said that any rose picked on Midsummer's Eve, or Midsummer's Day will keep fresh until Christmas.
At midnight on Midsummer's Eve, young girls should scatter rose petals before them and say:

Rose leaves, rose leaves,
Rose leaves I strew.
He that will love me
Come after me now.

Then the next day, Midsummer's Day, their true love will visit them.

jueves, 19 de junio de 2014

FELIPE VI TAKES OVER AS NEW KING OF SPAIN

Felipe VI of Spain has acceded to the throne, following the abdication of his father Juan Carlos.

After the ceremonial act at La Zarzuela palace, the royal residence, father and son embraced each other and the new monarch greeted his wife, Queen Letizia, and his daughters Leonor, the new Princess of Asturias, and Sofía.

There was no actual crowning per se – no Spanish monarch has used a crown since the days of the Catholic monarchs – but rather a solemn proclamation. At 10.47am, a serious-looking Felipe VI took his oath, Posadas proclaimed him king, and Congress cried out “Viva el rey! Viva España!” as the national anthem was played again.

Felipe took to the stand to deliver his first speech as Spain’s new king, describing his reign as “a renewed monarchy for new times.”




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