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1. SPEAKING



Mother's Day is a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March or May. It complements Father's Day, a similar celebration honoring fathers.
The celebration of Mother's Day began in the United States in the early 20th century; it is not related to the many celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have occurred throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration. Despite this, in some countries Mother's Day has become synonymous with these older traditions.
In Spain it is celebrated the first Sunday in May.




Saint Valentine's Day, also known as Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.
St. Valentine's Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote her a letter "from your Valentine" as a farewell. Today, Saint Valentine's Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine's Day, albeit on July 6th and July 30th, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni). In Brazil, the Dia de São Valentim is recognized on June 12.

The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.




Easter (Old English Ēostre) is a Christian festival and holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary as described in the New Testament. Easter is the culmination of the Passion of Christ, preceded by Lent, a forty-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance. The last week of Lent is called Holy Week, and it contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday), commemorating the Last Supper and its preceding foot washing, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Easter is followed by a fifty-day period called Eastertide, or the Easter Season, ending with Pentecost Sunday.

Easter is a moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox. Ecclesiastically, the equinox is reckoned to be on 21 March (even though the equinox occurs, astronomically speaking, on 20 March in most years), and the "Full Moon" is not necessarily the astronomically correct date. The date of Easter therefore varies between 22 March and 25 April. (Although, Eastern Christianity bases its calculations on the Julian calendar, whose 21 March corresponds, during the 21st century, to 3 April in the Gregorian calendar, in which the celebration of Easter therefore varies between 4 April and 8 May.)
Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are etymologically related or homonymous. Easter customs vary across the Christian world, but attending sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greeting, clipping the church and decorating Easter eggs, a symbol of the empty tomb, are common motifs. Additional customs include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades, which are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians.





Carnival is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.

Carnival is traditionally held in areas with a large Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox makeup. Protestant areas usually do not have Carnival celebrations or have modified traditions, such as the Danish Carnival or other Shrove Tuesday events. Conversely, the Philippines, a predominantly Roman Catholic country, does not have Carnival celebrations as they are more culturally influenced by neighboring Asian nations, which do not have Carnival celebrations.

England
In England, the season immediately before Lent was called Shrovetide. It was a time for confessing sins (shriving) with fewer festivities than the Continental Carnivals. Today, Shrove Tuesday is celebrated as Pancake Day, but little else of the Lent-related Shrovetide survived the 16th-century English Reformation. Possibly the only Shrovetide Carnival in the United Kingdom is celebrated in Cowes and East Cowes on the Isle of Wight; it is the first Carnival on the island's long and busy calendar. The largest Carnival in England is Notting Hill Carnival which does not derive from Lent and is celebrated in late August. It is derived from Caribbean tradition and is a cultural transplant.

Spain
Arguably the most famous locales in Spain are Santa Cruz, Las Palmas, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Tarragona, Águilas, Solsona, Cádiz, Badajoz, Bielsa (an ancestral Carnival celebration), Plan, San Juan de Plan, Laza, Verín, Viana and Xinzo de Limia.

United States
Carnival celebrations, usually referred to as Mardi Gras, were first celebrated in the Gulf Coast area of the United States, but now occur in many other states. Customs originated in the onetime French colonial capitals of Mobile (now in Alabama), New Orleans (Louisiana) and Biloxi (Mississippi), all of which have been celebrated for many years with street parades and masked balls. Other major U.S. cities with celebrations include Miami, Florida; Tampa, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; Pensacola, Florida; San Diego; Galveston, Texas and Orlando, Florida.
Carnival is celebrated in New York City in the Borough of Brooklyn. As in the UK, the timing of Carnival has been separated from the Christian calendar and is celebrated on Labor Day Monday, in September. It is called the Labor Day Carnival, West Indian Day Parade or West Indian Day Carnival, and was founded by immigrants from Trinidad, one of the West Indian islands that has one of the largest Carnivals of the Caribbean region. In the mid twentieth century, West Indians moved the timing of the New York area Carnival from the beginning of Lent to the Labor Day weekend. The West Indian Day Carnival is one of the largest parades and street festivals in New York with usually over one million people participating or attending. The parade, which consists of steel bands, floats, elaborate Carnival costumes and sound trucks proceeds down Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood.

Notting Hill


Mardi Gras



New Year is the time at which a new calendar year begins and the calendar's year count is incremented. In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner. The New Year of the Gregorian calendar, today in worldwide use, falls on 1 January (New Year's Day), as was the case with the Roman calendar. There are numerous calendars that remain in regional use that calculate the New Year differently.

The order of months in the Roman calendar was January to December since King Numa Pompilius in about 700 BC, according to Plutarch and Macrobius. It was only relatively recently that 1 January again became the first day of the year in Western culture. Until 1751 in England and Wales (and all British dominions) the new year started on 25 March – Lady Day, one of the four quarter days (the change to 1 January took place in 1600 in Scotland). Since then, 1 January has been the first day of the year. During the Middle Ages several other days were variously taken as the beginning of the calendar year (1 March, 25 March, Easter, 1 September, 25 December). In many countries, such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain and the UK, 1 January is a national holiday.

With the expansion of Western culture to many other places in the world during recent centuries, the Gregorian calendar has been adopted by many other countries as the official calendar, and the 1 January date of New Year has become global, even in countries with their own New Year celebrations on other days (such as Israel, China and India).


Talking About New Year's Diet




May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday; it is also a traditional spring holiday in many cultures. May Day coincides with International Workers' Day, and in many countries that celebrate the latter, it may be referred to as "May Day".

Traditional British May Day rites and celebrations include Morris dancing, crowning a May Queen and celebrations involving a maypole. Much of this tradition derives from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during "Þrimilci-mōnaþ" (the Old English name for the month of May meaning Month of Three Milkings) along with many Celtic traditions.








Eid al-Fitr (Arabic: عيد الفطر‎ Īd al-Fiṭr, IPA: [ʕi:d al fitˤr], "festival of breaking of the fast"), also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, the Sugar Feast, Bayram (Bajram), the Sweet Festival and the Lesser Eid, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). The religious Eid is a single day and Muslims are not permitted to fast on that day. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan. The day of Eid, therefore, falls on the first day of the month of Shawwal. This is a day when Muslims around the world show a common goal of unity. The date for the start of any lunar Hijri month varies based on the observation of new moon by local religious authorities, so the exact day of celebration varies by locality. However in most countries, it is generally celebrated on the same day as Saudi Arabia.

Eid al-Fitr has a particular Salat (Islamic prayer) consisting of two Rakats (units) and generally offered in an open field or large hall. It may be performed only in congregation (Jama’at) and, has an additional extra six Takbirs (raising of the hands to the ears while saying "Allāhu Akbar", literally "God is greatest"), three of them in the beginning of the first raka'ah and three of them just before Ruku' in the second raka'ah in the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam. Other Sunni schools usually have twelve Takbirs, seven in the first, and five at the beginning of the second raka'ah. This Eid al-Fitr salat is, depending on which juristic opinion is followed, Fard (obligatory), Mustahabb (strongly recommended, just short of obligatory) or mandoob (preferable).
Muslims believe that they are commanded by God, as mentioned in the Quran, to continue their fast until the last day of Ramadan and pay the Zakat and fitra before offering the Eid prayers.





Christmas (Old English: Crīstesmæsse, meaning "Christ's Mass") is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and a widely observed holiday, celebrated generally on December 25 by millions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide, which ends after the twelfth night. Christmas is a civil holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians, and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
While the birth year of Jesus is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC, the exact month and day of his birth are unknown. His birth is mentioned in two of the four canonical gospels. By the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted in the East. The date of Christmas may have initially been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived, or with one or more ancient polytheistic festivals that occurred near southern solstice (i.e., the Roman winter solstice); a further solar connection has been suggested because of a biblical verse identifying Jesus as the "Sun of righteousness".

The original date of the celebration in Eastern Christianity was January 6, in connection with Epiphany, and that is still the date of the celebration for the Armenian Apostolic Church and in Armenia, where it is a public holiday. As of 2013, there is a difference of 13 days between the modern Gregorian calendar and the older Julian calendar. Those who continue to use the Julian calendar or its equivalents thus celebrate December 25 and January 6, which on the Gregorian calendar translate as January 7 and January 19. For this reason, Ethiopia, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, the Republic of Macedonia, and the Republic of Moldova celebrate Christmas on what in the Gregorian calendar is January 7. Eastern Orthodox Churches in Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Antioch, Alexandria, Albania, Finland, and the Orthodox Church in America celebrate Christmas on December 25 in the revised Julian calendar, corresponding to December 25 also in the Gregorian calendar.

The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving, Christmas music and caroling, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore. Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.






(Written info taken from Wikipedia)



Conversation Questions About Holidays:
  • When is the holiday celebrated?
  • Is it celebrated as a family or a group?
    • Does your family celebrate this holiday?
    • Has your family always celebrated this holiday? If not, when did you start celebrating it?
  • When does the celebration for this holiday generally start?
  • Is it a religious holiday?
    • Which religion celebrates it?
    • Is attending a temple or a church on that day part of the celebration?
    • Are there specific prayers or blessings that go with the holiday?
  • Are there special foods connected with the holiday?
    • Have you eaten any of these foods?
    • Do you or did you like the foods?
    • Can you make these foods? Are you good at making them?
  • Is gift giving a part of this holiday?
    • Are there specific types of gifts to be given?
    • Who are they given to?
  • What are some of the things that are done to show that this holiday is being observed?
  • Is it strictly an American holiday?
    • When did Congress approve this holiday? Or did they?
    • Is it only a state or city approved holiday?
    • Has is ever been disapproved by officials?
  • What does the holiday stand for? Why is this holiday celebrated?
  • Are the banks, post offices or schools closed for this holiday?
  • Is there is a person or god connected with the holiday?
    • Who are they and do you believe in them?
    • If you do not believe in these people or gods, does the celebration of these bother you in any way (e.g., ignored, dismissed, angry, etc.)?
  • Do you enjoy the holiday?
    • Why or why not?
  • Do you decorate the outside of your house for the holiday?
    • Do your neighbors decorate their house?
    • How is the house decorated?
    • Is the inside decorated? How?
  • Are there special songs associated with the holiday?
    • Do you know the songs?
    • Can you sing some of them?
  • Do schools, temples or churches have special programs for this holiday?
  • Are there parties?
    • Are these for adults, children or both?
  • Do you see your relatives during this holiday?
    • Who did you visit?
    • Do you visit them every year on this holiday?
  • How many different nationalities or ethnic groups do you see celebrating this holiday?
  • What do you usually do for this holiday?
    • What did you do last year?
    • What would you like to do next year?
  • Are cards sent or given for this holiday?
    • Did you send any cards last year?
    • How many cards did you send?
    • Who did you send cards to?
  • What traditional colors are associated with this holiday?
  • Do you do something different during this holiday?
  • Would you like to go on a cruise? Why or why not?
  • Will you go back to the same place again?
  • Have you ever entered a competition to win a holiday?
  • Compare the experience of being a tourist with being an international student.
  • Would you take a job where you had to travel at least once a month?
  • In your opinion, what are the five most essential items to pack on any holiday?
  • Is a 'working holiday' really a holiday?
  • Who do you know that really needs a holiday, and why? Where should they go and what should they do?
  • Compare caravan holidays with youth hostels.
  • Compare camping in a tent with staying in a five star hotel.
  • Compare traveling alone to traveling with a companion.
  • Compare package tours with do-it-yourself tours.
  • Do you think package holidays for pets is a good idea?
    • If so, what kind of tours and activities should they offer?
    • How much should they be?
    • Should dogs and cats be allowed to travel on the same tour?
  • What holidays have disappeared in your country?
  • What is your parent's favorite holiday?
  • What new holiday are needed in your country?
  • What holiday should be abolished?
  • What are some of your fondest memories of Thanksgiving?
  • What kind of traditional food do you eat for Thanksgiving?
  • Where is the best place to be for the holidays?
  • Do you think holidays are important? Why?
  • What kinds of thing do you like to do on the holidays?
  • Do you ever feel blue during the holidays? What do you do about it?
  • Do you think pets need holidays? What kinds of holidays would we have for pets?
  • What games do you play during your holidays?
  • How many holidays do you have in your country?
  • What special foods are associated with your favorite holiday?
  • What special clothing/customs are associated with your favorite holiday?
  • What is your favorite holiday memory? Tell us about it.
  • Who is your favorite holiday character (e.g. Santa Claus)? Why?
  • What are three holidays that you like to spend with your family?
  • What is your worst holiday memory? Tell us about it.
  • If you had a long holiday, what will you do with it?
  • Do you like to stay up late on holidays?
  • Who do you usually spend the holidays with?
  • If a holiday falls on a Sunday, should you get another day off?
  • What is best present you ever received?
  • What is your favorite holiday food?
  • What is your favorite holiday song?
  • Does it bother you that some holidays are religious and some are not?
  • Do you celebrate holidays differently now than you did when you were a child?
  • What is your favorite holiday festival in your country?
  • Do you light off fireworks on New Years Eve in your country?
  • If you could visit any other country during Christmas, where would you go?
  • What holiday is the most dangerous in your country?
  • What holiday is the most exciting in your country?
  • Why do we celebrate Easter?
  • Do you celebrate Easter in your country?
  • How do you celebrate Easter in your country?
  • Do you have any special family traditions?
  • Did the original meaning of Easter get lost?
  • What do you think of Father's Day? Mother's Day? Parent's Day?
  • What are 3 holidays that you like to spend with your family?
  • If you had a long holiday, what will you do with it?Do you like to stay up late on holidays?
  • What's your favorite holiday food?
  • What kinds of religious holidays have become secular in your country?
  • Is there any religious holiday that has a special meaning for you?
  • Is there any non-religious holiday that has a special meaning for you?




2. LISTENING


Vocabulary:
to be easy
a rip-off
to be on the safe side

to be up for something

to fancy something

to have someting in mind


Click on the image and do the activities:
esl-lab - hunting trip.jpg




3. GRAMMAR


Go to: Future Perfect



4. DEVELOPING CONVERSATIONS


Go to: Developing Conversations



6. READING


Go to: Reading



8. SPEAKING


Go to: Speaking



10. LISTENING


Go to: Listening



11. GRAMMAR


Go to: Question tags



12. VOCABULARY


Go to: Vocabulary


13. SPEAKING


Go to: Speaking



María Ángeles A.


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