Kwanzaa

Although we are still on holiday, I wanted to share an American festivity with you. This festivity has a short history behind: it was created in 1966 to celebrate African-American heritage and culture. Kwanza celebrates seven principles of African heritage and thus lasts for seven days (from 26th December to 1st January). Each day one principle is celebrated and the principles are the following:

  • Umoja (Unity):
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
  • Nia (Purpose)
  • Kuumba (Creativity)
  • Imani (Faith)

How do people celebrate Kwanzaa? They decorate their houses with objects of African art and fresh fruit. Families light a candle holder with seven candles. Men and women also wear colourful clothes and on the last day of Kwanzaa they also exchange presents and have a feast.

If you want to know more about Kwanzaa and its principles, surf the Internet and share any interesting links you find with us in the comments!

Merry X-mas & Happy Kwanzaa!

Jaime

Make your own Christmas cracker

Christmas is closer and closer. We visit relatives and friends and there is little money left to buy expensive presents or gifts, especially when we remember Christmas is not an excuse for going shopping or spending money… Christmas is a season in which we spend time with the people who we love and who love us too and I cannot think of a better way to demonstrate how much we love them than by spending time with them.

If this is not enough for you, don’t panic either! You can always make a Christmas cracker. What is a Christmas cracker? It is a decorated tube made of cardboard filled with sweets, small toys and a childish Christmas joke.

Do you want to try yourself?

Here there is video showing how to make yours easily. Or if you prefer a written summary of the steps to follow, you can visit this website.

Merry X-mas to all of our readers!

Jaime

Amundsen and the South Pole feat

100 years ago, 14th December 1911, Norwegian Amundsen reached the South Pole in a race again Captain Scott. He became famous while Scott died in the attempt. The South Pole was the last frontier to cross and it was extremely attractive to all kinds of explorers. Norway has celebrated the feat sending its Prime Minister to the geographical South Pole.Why is he so famous? I think that he is famous because he performed an incredible feat and he showed courage, determination and endurance. He had tried to reach the North Pole first but when two Americans claimed that they had been the first to arrive at the North Pole, he decided to turn his attention towards the South and organised an expedition in a ship, the Fram.

Amundsen and his team arrived in Antarctica (Bay of Whales) on 14th January 1911. They spent the harsh Antarctic winter and then, they tried to get to the South Pole. After an unsuccessful attempt, Amundsen and four other men (Olav Olavson Bjaaland, Hilmer Hanssen, Sverre H. Hassel, and Oscar Wisting) together with a sledge pulled by 13 dogs arrived there at 3 p.m.

Afterwards, Amundsen continued his explorations in the Arctic. He was very interested in flying and airship travel. He disappeared with no trace in 1928 while searching for the survivors of an airship crash in the Arctic.

Here you have access to some interesting pictures of the Amundsen expedition.

Here you have some info in Spanish just in case…

There is also a very interesting man whose story I will write soon of: Sir Ernest Shackleton. He also tried to conquer the South Pole but failed three times. Do you want to know why he is a hero and became famous too?

If you are curious, please stay tuned!

Christmas Songs

I found this humorous graphic from the webcomic XKCD, which contains a lot of truth.  Most of the songs that are regarded as Christmas classics in the United States came from the 1940s and 50s and are still played today.

I have prepared a Christmas presentation for some of my Primero classes, which includes Christmas favorites like “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  However, there is one song I would like to share by a songwriter named Dan Fogelberg, which was released in 1980.  This song deals with more decidedly adult themes, as it describes an encounter the singer had with a former girlfriend on Christmas Eve.  While it achieved popularity in the States and is frequently played, not everybody knows about it, and I always find it worth sharing.  So please listen to the song below and enjoy!

What do you know about energy?

I’m sure you all think that energy is an important resource for our lifestyle, that most of you are aware about not wasting it and some of you may even have some hints about renewable sources of energy. Paying the energy bills or refiling the car deposit is a painful reminder of how costly this resource can be and that saving as much as possible is something that must be considered seriously.

But… how much do you know about energy? If you want to check your knowledge on this issue, take the test you can find here. If you have less than ten right answers, you should find more information and read it thoroughly. There will be more to come in this blog. Stay tuned!