Monday, 17 December 2007

Christmas in England

Traditionally in England we celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December.
During the weeks before Christmas, we send cards, watch nativity plays, go to carol services and buy plenty of food and drink for the festive season.We also go shopping to buy those all important Christmas presents!

We decorate our homes with Christmas trees and lights, as well as other decorations of Father Christmas, snowmen and all other things that are symbols of Christmas. Some people, usually religious people, have nativity scenes.

Some people also decorate their houses and gardens with lights, and sometimes in areas or streets where people live there are friendly competitions between neighbours to out do each other with the best lights and decorations!

On the 24 th of December, Christmas Eve, young children leave a mince pie and sherry or brandy for Father Christmas and a carrot for Rudolph. Christmas Eve is often very exciting for many children as as they know that Father Christmas is going to visit them that night. If, they have been good!
Presents are usually opened at home early in the morning on the 25th, and then later in the day, people go to a family members house for Christmas dinner, and in some cases, more presents.

Traditional Christmas dinner includes: roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sausages wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes, boiled vegetables and of course, sprouts! errr!!

Christmas dinner is eaten around mid-day or early afternoon.

During Christmas dinner we usually pull crackers and wear paper crowns. The paper crowns are found inside the Christmas crackers.

Then, after dinner, we have Christmas pudding with brandy sauce!
A tradition of Christmas is to watch the Queen's Speech.It is broadcast on TV and radio stations at 3pm.
It has been broadcast every year since 1932, with the exception of 1969 when The Queen issued a written message.

In my family, we visit my mums family for Christmas dinner, and then later on in the day, we visit my dads family and have a small tea.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007


Hey all,

It's been a minute I know, but with Thankgiving around the corner (and a furious rainstorm hindering my doings of anything else...) I thought I would take the opportunity to write abit about this American Holiday and tell you about some of the traditions we practice on Thanksgiving.

First, Thanksgiving a brief history...

The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock in December of 1620 found the New World much different than they had expected. Amid the hard New England winter, 46 of the 121 persons who made the voyage perished. But the fall of 1621 brought a bountiful harvest, giving those who remained a change to survive the coming winter. The surviving Pilgrims, along with 91 Native American guests, celebrated the first Thanksgiving with wild game and vegetables. Throughout Colonial history, similar celebrations occurred whenever settlers felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude toward God. In fact, George Washington even declared a national day of Thanksgiving in 1789. But Thanksgiving did not become a regular holiday until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed into law a bill proclaiming the last Thursday of each November to be Thanksgiving Day. In 1941, Congress amended the law to make the fourth Thursday of each November Thanksgiving.

Now, in a modern sense, much of the history surrounding Thanksgiving has been forgotten (with some details being slightly scued with the passing of time) and so, today, Thanksgiving is more of an excuse to get together with your family, watch some FOOTBALL and eat way to much food. (And for this reason, it is my most favorite of holidays:D)

Football you ask? Like futbol here? Strangely no... football in the USA is a word that describes a game that actually has little to do with feet meeting balls. Instead, we call Futbol the game of Soccer and Football for us (Americans), is Futbol Americano... a rather complicated game to which I'll spare you my lengthy explanations. Instead, here's a link:)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Shall we Dance?

What do you think of this video?

Is it funny? I think so

What about the music? Do you like it? Have you heard the songs before?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Halloween Madness!

Watch the animated Halloween history tour!

Did you know?: Our ancestors celebrated New Year on November 1st

Halloween is derived from an ancient Celtic festival, Samhain.
The Celts celebrated their New Year's Eve on October 31st. It was celebrated every year with a festival called Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in'), that marked the end of the "season of the sun" (Summer) and the beginning of "the season of darkness and cold" ( Winter). The beginning of the Celtic New Year on November 1st.

Evil spirits

The Celts believed that evil spirits came with the long hours of winter darkness. They believed that on that night the barriers between our world and the spirit world were at their weakest and therefore spirits were most likely to be seen on earth.

The Celts built bonfires to frighten the spirits away, and feasted and danced around the fires. The Halloween fires brought comfort to the souls in purgatory* and people prayed for them as they held burning straw up high.

(*Purgatory is a place where souls are temporarily punished for venial sins. After they have been punished enough, they are permitted to move on to heaven.)

The fires of Halloween burned the strongest in Scotland and Ireland, where Celtic influence was most pronounced, although they lingered on in some of the northern counties of England until the early years of the last century.

Goodwill conquers evil

The last night of October was transformed by the Church into the vigil of All Saints' or Halloween. Christians believe that goodwill always conquers evil, and that Jesus, the light of the World, defeats all the fear of darkness.

Bonfire celebrations moved to 5 November

In England the day of fires became November 5th (Bonfire Night), the anniversary of the Gunpowder plot of 1605, but its closeness to Halloween is more than a coincidence. Halloween and Bonfire Night have a common origin they both originated from pagan times, when the evil spirits of darkness had to be driven away with noise and fire.

Halloween Customs

In Lancashire, 'Lating' or 'Lighting the witches' was an important Halloween custom. People would carry candles from eleven to midnight. If the candles burned steadily the carriers were safe for the season, but if the witches blew them out, the omen was bad indeed.
In parts of the north of England Halloween was known as Nut-crack Night. Nuts were put on the fire and, according to their behaviour in the flames, forecast faithfulness in sweethearts and the success or failure of marriages.

Jack-o-lanterns - Pumpkin Lanterns These are hollowed out pumpkins with a face cut into one side. People once carved out beets, potatoes and turnips to use as lanterns on Halloween. Nowadays we carve out pumpkins.

According to an Irish legend, jack-o-lanterns were named for a man named Jack, who could not enter heaven because he was a miser. He could not enter hell either, because he had played jokes on the devil. So instead, he had to walk the earth with his lantern until Judgment Day.
Fire Fire was very important to the Celts as it was to all early people. In the old days people lit bonfires, to scare away evil spirits. They believed that light had power over darkness. In some places they used to jump over the fire to bring good luck.

Today, we light candles in pumpkin lanterns and then put them outside our homes to frighten away witches and ghosts.

Apple Bobbing (Duck-apple)-The Roman festival for remembering the dead was also in October. During this time, the Romans remembered their goddess, Pomona. She was the goddess of the trees and fruits, and when the Romans came to Britain, they began to hold these two festivals on the same day as Samhain. Apple games probably became associated with Halloween because of this.

We play the game bobbing for apples, in which apples are placed in a tub or a large basin of water. The contestants, sometimes blindfolded, must take one bite from one of the apples without using their hands. It is not permitted to edge the apple to the side of the bowl to get hold of it.

Dressing up - The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits.

To keep ghosts away from their houses on Halloween, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Trick or Treat Halloween was a time for making mischief - many parts of England still recognise Halloween as Mischief Night - when children would knock on doors demanding a treat (Trick or Treat) and people would disguise themselves as witches, ghosts, kelpies and spunkies, in order to obtain food and money from nervous householders.

Fascinating Facts about Halloween

Halloween is always celebrated on 31 October.

Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations in the world, dating back over 2000 years to the time of the Celts who lived in Britain

Halloween is also know by other names: All Hallows EveSamhainAll HallowtideThe Feast of the DeadThe Day of the Dead

Halloween in Welsh is 'Nos Calan Gaeaf'.

Halloween is correctly spelt as Hallowe’en.

When Christianity came to England and the rest of Europe, 1 November became All Saints Day - a day dedicated to all those saints who didn't have a special day of their own. They performed a mass called 'All hallows mass' and the night before became known as All Hallows E'en and eventually Hallowe’en or Halloween.

When the Romans conquered England, they merged Samhain with their own festivals, a harvest festival called Poloma, and a celebration for the dead called Feralia.

In Mexico, they celebrate El Dia de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead starting the evening of October 31.

It is thought that the colours orange and black became Halloween colours because orange is associated with harvests (Halloween marks the end of harvest) and black is associated with death.

Black cats were originally believed to protect witches' powers from negative forces.

A pumpkin is really a squash, and comes from the same family as the cucumber.

About 99% of pumpkins sold are used as Jack O' Lanterns at Halloween.

The biggest pumpkin in the world tipped the scales at a whopping 1,446 pounds. This gigantic gourd was weighed in October 2004 at a pumpkin festival in Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada.

The record for the fastest pumpkin carver in the world is Jerry Ayers of Baltimore, Ohio. He carved a pumpkin in just 37 seconds!

The very first jack o' lantern was made out of hollowed out turnips.

Ringing a bell scares evil spirits away.

If you see a spider on this night, it could be the spirit of a dead loved one who is watching you.

To meet a witch, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards on Halloween night.

Top Tips for Halloween

If your pumpkin lantern shrivels up, you can restore it by soaking it overnight in water to re hydrate it.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

where i live

Hi guys.
Emmie here, i just thought that i would tell you a little bit about where i live.

As you all know, I am from Yorkshire in the north of England.
I live in a small town called Wath upon Dearne, which is near to Rotherham in South Yorkshire, with my parents and my brother.
In my town there’s not much to do, there are three primary schools, three junior schools, two secondary schools, a library, a swimming pool, two churches, a large supermarket, some small shops, some pubs and lots of houses. There is also a lake that many people like to walk around.
About 25 minutes from my town, there is a city called Sheffield, which has a big shopping centre called Meadowhall. I usually go here to the pictures, and also to buy clothes.

Although you may not have heard of South Yorkshire, you may know some famous people who are from South Yorkshire?
Do you know the Arctic Monkeys?
David Seaman, former England goal keeper and Arsenal player?
Sean Bean, Actor? Who appeared in Lord of the Rings?

Or maybe you know Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United or Rotherham United football clubs?

You can learn about the history of Wath and see some up to date photos by clicking here

You can also read more about Rotherham.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Bonfire night

In england on the 5th of November, we celebrate bonfire night

The history of bonfire night

In 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of twelve other men decided that they were fed up of living under the protestant rule of the country. They were unable to practice their religion and had to do so in secret, they were also made to attend Protestant church services on Sundays and holy days. During these days many Roman Catholics felt that they were unfairly treated.

Guy Fawkes and a group of men lead by Robert Catesby decided that the best way to overcome the current ruler of the country, King James I, would be to blow up the houses of parliament, where the laws that governed England were made.

The men decided that they were going to places barrels of gun powder in the cellar and blow up the houses of parliament when the King and members of parliament were inside.

Guy Fawkes was the unlucky member of the group that had to keep watch in the cellar. He also had the job of lighting the fuse.

However, on November 5th 1605, soldiers found Guy Fawkes hiding in the cellar and arrested him. He was taken to the tower of London to be tortured and executed.

On the same night that the gunpowder plot was discovered, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, the night has become known as bonfire night.

Now on bonfire night people light bonfires, burn a model of guy fawkes and set off fireworks to celebrate that the gunpowder plot did not suceed.

We also have traditional bonfire night foods. These are parkin cake, bonfire toffee and toffee apples.

To play the gunpowder plot game, click here

We also have a bonfire night rhyme:

' remember, remember ,

the fifth of November,

gunpowder, treason and plot.

We see no reason, why gunpowder treason,

should ever be forgot'

Monday, 22 October 2007


Hello everyone, welcome to the Montana section of this blog. I'm going to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about the state and city that I come from.

Some facts about Montana are:

Montana is the 4th largest state in the United States of America (U.S.A.), following (in order of largest) Alaska, California and Texas.

Montana is also called "The Big Sky State" or the "Treasure State".

Montana is well known for 2 of it's national parks, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park is the worlds oldest National Park.

Montana has beautiful landscapes, with plenty of Mountains, Lakes and Rivers throughout the state.

Now about Bozeman.

I'm from the town outside the city of Bozeman, called Livington. I attended Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.

Bozeman is known primarily for it's skiing in the winter time and mountain activities in the summer. During the winter, the 3 ski resorts in the area give you plenty of opportunity to enjoy the freshly fallen snow. They are named Big Sky, Moonlight Basin and Bridger ski resorts. During the summer, with the snow melted, the mountains are host to various activities. Some things you can do in the mountains are hike, rock climb and mountain biking.
Here are some links for more information about Bozeman and Montana.