Wednesday 24 November 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. Children do not go to school and most business close for four days. People in Canada also celebrate Thanksgiving, but on the second Monday of October. Most American and Canadian families have a Thanksgiving Day dinner with their family. They haveand autumn vegetables, and then pumpkin.

This tradition started hundreds of years ago.

In September 1620, a group of English people called the Pilgrim Fathers sailed from England across the Atlantic Ocean, in a  called 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 across the Atlantic Ocean for sixty-six dangerous days. When they arrived, they called their new home New England, but they were not the first people to live there. The Indians were the 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, how to grow and cook new kinds  of, how to hunt and fish…


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 friendly Indians, and in the autumn of 1621 they celebrated their first harvest. The pilgrims wanted to give thanks, not only of the harvest, but for their new home, new life and new friends, so they celebrated it with a dinner. This was the first Thanksgiving dinner.


CLEMEN, Gina D.B. "British and American Festivities", Black Cat Publishing, 2004.
MAGUIRE, Jackie. "Seasons and Celebrations", Oxford University Press, 1997. 

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Useful links for Spanish students of English

Good evening everyone!!

How is the week going? Are you ready for your exams? Remember you have to study hard in order to enjoy Christmas!! If you devote some time everyday to studying, things will be easier, you'll see! Do not hesitate to ask me for help, inside or outside the classroom, but do it now! do not wait until the day before the exam! In case you are interested in improving your language skills, I've added some interesting links to this blog in order to help you studying English. In these websites, you will find grammar, activities, pronunciation, games, quizzes, etc. so I encourage you to surf them and keep on learning. If you know of any other website that you find interesting, share it with us!!

Best wishes and see you at school!

Sunday 21 November 2010

Linkin Park

Find more videos like this on

Linkin Park is an American rock band formed in California, USA in 1996.

Its style is a mixture of alternative rock, nu metal, rap rock and alternative metal. Current members of Linkin Park are Chester Bennington (vocals), Rob Bourdon (drums and percussion), Brad Delson (guitar), “Phoenix” Farrell (bass guitar), “Mr.” Hahn (turntables and samples) and Mike Shinoda (vocals and keyboard).

The band has won 25 awards with the 4 albums they have released so far: Hybrid Theory in 2000, Meteora in 2003, Minutes to Midnight in 2007 and A Thousand Suns in 2010.

Some students asked me the other day what was the meaning of Linkin Park so after searching the net, I’m pleased to finally give you the answer to your question: apparently, Chester thought up the name after he drove past Lincoln Park (Santa Monica) but, when they found out that the url was already taken, they changed it to Linkin Park.

I cannot say I’m keen on this band at all but for those of you who are fans here is a video of one of their most famous hits, “In the End” (Best Rock Video and Best Direction MTV awards). Enjoy it!

Tuesday 9 November 2010

O Magosto

Autumn is the season of chestnuts and mushrooms. In Galicia and particularly in Ourense we have our own Indian Summer: “Os Magostos” which are celebrated during the first fortnight of November. The big day is the 11th although it can be held any other day.
People hold a wonderful leisure and gastronomic festival to pay homage to the fruits that have just been picked: chestnuts, grapes and mushrooms.
It is a meeting in which people roast and eat chestnuts and pork meat accompanied by some refreshments. 
People usually gather early in the morning and get ready to spend the whole day in the forests around villages. The celebration is held around a campfire where food is roasted. It usually ends with songs and dances.
If you happen to be in Ourense this time of the year and you are invited to one, you better wear warm and worn-out clothes and be ready to be blackened with the fire embers.
If you stay until sunset, you can enjoy the view of dozens of campfires around the mountain but most of all, you can have loads of fun!!

Wednesday 27 October 2010

Celebrating Halloween

Halloween is celebrated in the USA, and has become popular in Europe, too. Many children and adults go to Halloween parties, wearing scary costumes and masks. American children take their costumes and masks to school. Some typical Halloween costumes are witches, ghosts, skeletons, monsters, vampires and aliens. Many parents make the costumes, but some prefer to buy them. In the afternoon the children put on their costumes and have a Halloween party at school. Pumpkins, ghosts, witches and bats decorate the school hall and the classrooms.

There are, of course, party games. One is called “bobbing for apples”. To play this game you put water and apples in a big bowl. The apples stay on top of the water. You must take an apple out of the water with your teeth, but you can’t use your hands. It’s not easy! Many people get very wet!

Another popular Halloween tradition is “trick or treating”. This began in the 19th century, and was an Irish tradition. Irish immigrants brought “trick or treating” to the United States. Today children and teenagers go “trick or treating” in the evening. They visit their neighbours’ houses in their costumes. When the door opens they say “Trick or treat?” People usually give them sweets of money. But when people don’t give them a treat, the children play a trick. They sometimes write on windows with soap or even through an egg at the front door of the house.

It is a popular tradition in the USA to buy a big pumpkin and make a jack-o’-lantern. People put their jack-o’-lanterns in front of the windows of their homes or in their gardens. This tradition originated in Great Britain and Ireland, when people wanted to frighten evil spirits. If you want to have your own jack-o'-lantern follow the indications given in the picture above. Remember that the more frightening the face in your lantern, the better. 

Enjoy Halloween!!!

 Text and picture from the book "English and American Festivities", Black Cat Publishing, 2004

Monday 25 October 2010

What do you know about Halloween?

October 31st is Halloween. It is a fun event in the United States, Great Britain and, now, in many other countries too.

The origins of Halloween

Halloween has Celtic origins. The Celtic calendar was in two parts: summer and winter. Summer was from May to the end of October, and winter was from November to the end of April. The ancient Celtic festivity Samhain celebrated the end of the year: the start of winter. It began on the evening of October 31st and continued until the next day.
Druids were Celtic priests. On October 31st they performed religious rituals and talked about future events. The Celts believed that ghosts, witches, and evil spirits returned on the night of October 31st. They believed that evil spirits entered the body of a person or animal. They wore frightening costumes and made big fires to send them away.
The colours of Halloween -orange and black- are of Celtic origin too. Orange was the colour of the harvest, and black was the colour of winter and long nights. The Druids believed that black cats had special powers and could feel if spirits were near, so black cats have become symbols of Halloween.
The Romans invaded Great Britain in AD 43. After this invasion Samhain became a harvest festival, and on October 31st the Romans honoured their goddess of fruit trees, Pomona.
During the centuries, the Roman Catholic Church put Christian festivities in the place of pre-Christian festivities. In the eighth century the Church decided to call 1st November All Saints’ Day. Another name for this day was All Hallows’[1] Day. The evening of 31st October was All Hallows’ Eve[2]. This became Halloween.

D.B. CLEMAN, Gina. British and American Festivities. Black Cat Publishing, 2004.
Now, let's see if you have understood the previous text. You can answer the following questions:
- When do we celebrate Halloween?
- What are the origins of Halloween?
- When was Samhain?
- Who were the Druids?
- What are the colours of Halloween?

[1] Hallows: saints
[2] Eve: the day before a festivity

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Did you know that....? English around the world

According to The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, English is used, at different levels, over 75 territories around the world. These territories range from the United Kingdom and the United States of America, where English is the dominant language, Ireland and Canada where it is the official language, to Kenya and Tanzania, where English has lost the formal status it once had, though it still plays an important role in the community. In many cases, it coexists with other local languages. But in all cases, the population is living in an environment in which the English language is part of the nation’s recent or present identity. The grand total of English language users, rounded up, is 2,214 million, which is well over a third of the world’s population. In this total we include people who have English as their first language (L1)[1] but also those who use it as a second language (L2)[2].
Apart from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.A, where it is the primary language, English is used in many countries in Asia (including Singapore, India and Malawi) and Africa (such as South Africa and, to a lesser extent, Liberia o Sierra Leone). 

CRYSTAL, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. Cambridge University Press, 2010. 

[1] The language first acquired by a child (also called mother tongue or native language)
[2] A language which is not a person’s mother tonge, but which is used in order to meet a communicative need.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Welcome aboard!!

First steps are always difficult but if you are as enthusiastic as I am, everything is easier. This Blog is a new project launched by and from our school, Colegio Santo Angel, in order to foster the interest and study of English as a foreign language. Everyone is invited to join and participate so I hope to see you around very often!! I'd like to welcome you and I really hope we all have a whale of a time!!!