Merry Christmas Traditions: The Colours of Christmas – Part 2

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Why do we use certain colours during Christmas?

Red. Like the colour green, the colour red was also used in the past for the apples of the paradise tree. Additionally, it is the colour of Holly berries which is said to represent Jesus’s blood when he died on the cross. It has become Santa’s uniform as well.

Gold. It is the colour of the Sun and light which is very important in the dark winter. Gold was also one of the presents given to baby Jesus by one of the three wise men and traditionally the colour used to show the star that the wise men followed to see baby Jesus.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Paradise tree – talks about the tree in which Adam and Eve (the first people in the bible) ate the forbidden apple
  2. Holly – any tree or shrub that has red berries and shiny evergreen leaves
  3. Three wise men – according to the bible, these were the group of foreigners who visited Jesus and gave various gifts. They have an important part in the Christian tradition

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you often see these colours in your country during Christmas season?  If not, please tell us what colours you often see then.
  2. Do these colours have different meaning in your country? If so please explain.
  3. What are the other colours used in your country to decorate Christmas?

    Why do we use certain colours during Christmas? Red. Like the colour green, the colour red was also […]


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Merry Christmas Traditions: The Colours of Christmas – Part 1

DEC. 29 - Merry Christmas Traditions The Colours of Christmas – Part 1 - 2

 

 

Why do we use certain colours during Christmas?

Red, green and gold are the colours we often see in Christmas decorations. But why do we use them and what do they represent?

Green. Plants such as Holly, Mistletoe and Ivy have been used for thousands of years to decorate brighten up our winter. They are being used to remind people that winter is not forever and that spring would come.

In ancient times, Egyptians used to bring palm branches into their house during mid-winter festivals and Romans would exchange evergreen branches during January as a sign of good luck.

On Christmas Eve, during the Middle Ages in many parts of Europe, plays about the paradise were performed. They told the stories of the Bible to people who couldn’t read. The “Paradise Tree” in the Garden of Eden was normally represented by a pine tree with red apples tied to it.

Nowadays, the most common use of green at Christmas is the Christmas tree.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Represent – express indirectly by an image, form, or model; be a symbol
  2. Brighten – make lighter or brighter
  3. Paradise – talks about the place in the Bible were the first people (Adam and Eve) were living.

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you often see these colours in your country during Christmas season?  If not, please tell us what colours you often see then.
  2. Do these colours have different meaning in your country? If so please explain.
  3. What are the other colours used in your country to decorate Christmas?

    Why do we use certain colours during Christmas? Red, green and gold are the colours we often see […]


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Beginner

Merry Christmas Traditions: Christmas Carols

Dec 28-Merry- Christmas- Traditions- Christmas -Carols

 

 

Why do we sing carols on Christmas?

Thousands of years ago, the carols were first sung in Europe. However, they are not Christmas carols. They were Pagan songs celebrating the Winter Solstice as people danced. In fact, the original meaning of the word carol is to dance to something.

Early Christians decided to take some customs and traditions being done in Pagan celebrations and put them for Christmas traditions. A Roman Bishop said that they should use the Pagan carol and put Christian songs to be sung on Christmas service. This event took place in AD 129.

As time goes by Christians songs sung in carol became popular however they can only be sung by professional carol singers called “Waits.” They are called “Waits” because they only sang on Christmas Eve. Nowadays, Christmas carols have become public that children and adults sing carols to other people to spread the story of Christmas.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Pagan – any various religions other than Christianity, Judaism and Islam
  2. Winter Solstice – the longest daytime during winter season; one of the pagan holidays being celebrated by the early Roman people
  3. Customs – accepted or habitual practice
  4. Spread – cause to become widely known

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Can you list down some of the Christmas Carols that you know?
  2. What are the common Christmas carols do you hear in your country?
  3. Do you see people singing Carols in public areas in your country?

    Why do we sing carols on Christmas? Thousands of years ago, the carols were first sung in Europe. […]


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Merry Christmas Traditions: Christmas Bells

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Why do people use bells on Christmas?

Bells, more specifically Church bells have long been associated with Christmas. Anglican and Catholic Churches start their church day at sunset. They use bells to signal the start of the church service.

In UK, churches traditionally rung the largest bell in the Church four times in the hour before midnight and then all the bells are rung at midnight for the celebration.

In the Catholic Church, however, Mass is allowed to be held at midnight only in Christmas Eve (December 24). The reason why is because the early Christians believed that Jesus was born at midnight.

Some Catholic countries such as France, Spain and Italy, the midnight service is very important and everyone tries to go to a service as much as possible.

In Victorian times, people go carol singing with small hand bells. Sometimes there would be no singing and they would only play the hand bells. Even nowadays, the bells are still popular.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Associate – make a connection
  2. Anglican – pertaining to the National Church of England which has different practices and beliefs compared to the Catholic Churches
  3. Signal – communicate by signals or signs
  4. Carol – joyful religious songs celebrating the birth of Jesus

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do people in your country go to church to celebrate Christmas?
  2. Does your country use bells during Christmas? Why?
  3. What kind of items does your country use during Christmas?

    Why do people use bells on Christmas? Bells, more specifically Church bells have long been associated with Christmas. […]


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Merry Christmas Traditions: Candy Canes

DEC. 26 - Merry Christmas Traditions- Candy Canes

 

 

Why are candy canes popular on Christmas?

250 years ago, Germany first started the eating of straight white sugar sticks which we later call as Candy Canes.

In 1670, according to the story, a choirmaster was worried that the children attending the mass service might get bored and start some noise. So he decided to give them something to eat to keep them busy. However, some people believed that the earliest record of Candy Canes were 200 years later.

Sometime in the 19th century, the red stripes were added and they were flavoured with wintergreen and peppermint. Additionally, around 1920, Bob McCormack, from Georgia USA, started making canes for friends and families. They became extremely popular and he started his own business called Bob’s Candies. A Catholic priest helped Bob by inventing the Keller Machine that made straight candies turn into curved candies automatically.

Farley and Sathers bought Bob’s Candies in 2005 and are still making candy canes worldwide.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Choirmaster – a musical director of a choir
  2. Wintergreen – spicy red berrylike fruit;
  3. Peppermint – candy flavoured with peppermint oil

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Are candy canes popular in your country? How so?
  2. What are the other designs of candy canes found in your country?
  3. Do you consider them as cheap or expensive? Can you only buy them on Christmas season?

    Why are candy canes popular on Christmas? 250 years ago, Germany first started the eating of straight white […]


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Merry Christmas Traditions: Boxing Day

DEC. 23 - Merry Christmas Traditions Boxing Day

 

 

What is Boxing Day? Why do Britons celebrate it?

Boxing Day is the Day after Christmas which takes place on December 26. However, it is only celebrated in a few countries such as UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

It started in UK about 800 years ago. Alms box were often kept in churches and were traditionally opened so that the contents could be distributed to poor people. Some churches in UK still do this kind of activity on Boxing Day.

Some historians thought that it was the Romans who first brought this type of collection box to the UK. Romans used them to collect money for the betting games that they played during their winter celebrations. In fact, some sports were being played in UK during Boxing Day such as horse racing and football matches.

In Holland, they also use collection boxes which were made of pottery and were shaped like pigs. Some historians also thought that this was where we got the term “Piggy Bank.”

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

Alms – money or goods given to the poor

Contents – everything that is held or included in something

Distribute – to give or provide in small portions

Pottery – ceramic ware made from clay and baked in a klin

 

Perspective Exchange:

Does your government or religious organization have an activity where they give something to the poor? Please describe it.

What is your opinion about this kind of activity?

Would you participate in giving something to those who need it? Why or why not?

    What is Boxing Day? Why do Britons celebrate it? Boxing Day is the Day after Christmas which takes […]


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Merry Christmas Traditions: Christmas or Xmas?

 

 

How do you greet people in Christmas?

Some people refer to Christmas as Xmas. Other people think it is wrong to call Christmas as Xmas as it removes the word Christ in Christmas. However, there is actually a logical explanation why people use the word Xmas.

In the Greek language, the letter X is the Greek letter for Chi (which is pronounced as “kye”) and it is the first letter of the Greek word for Christos. The first two letters of Christos in the Greek alphabet were used by the early church to create a symbol for Jesus. The Greek symbol for Jesus is ☧.

Others used the symbol of fish. It was first used when the Romans were trying to kill the early Christian followers. Jesus wanted his people to become “Fishers of Men” that is why people used this symbol.

Basically, Xmas can also mean Christmas but it should not be pronounced as “ex-mas.” We should pronounce it as Christmas.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Refer – make reference to; look up; mention
  2. Logical – based on known statements, events or condition; reflecting the capability for correct and valid reasoning
  3. Follower – a person who travels behind someone they think of as a leader

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you think it is okay to use the word Xmas instead of Christmas? Why?
  2. How do you spell Christmas in your country? How do people pronounce the word Christmas in your country?
  3. Is it important to follow the correct pronunciation of a word instead of using another pronunciation that is more comfortable in your native language? Why or why not?

    How do you greet people in Christmas? Some people refer to Christmas as Xmas. Other people think it […]


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Merry Christmas Traditions: Christmas and December 25

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What is Christmas and why do we celebrate it on December 25?

Christmas is a festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is being observed generally on every December 25. The word Christmas is a compound word, “Christ’s Mass”.

No one really knows the real birthday of Jesus. The exact date was never given in the Bible which is why early Christians and historians had many arguments about it. On December 25 of 336AD, Christmas was first celebrated and recorded. It was during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine. Afterwards, Pope Julius I officially declared December 25 as the birth of Jesus.

Some historians believed that the reason why the church chose December 25 was because a Pagan festival called “Winter Solstice” was already being celebrated on that day. They believed that the Roman Pagans will accept Christianity if they celebrate festivals on the same day.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement::

  1. Commemorate – mark by some ceremony or observation; to remember
  2. Jesus – a teacher and a prophet; his life and sermons form the basis for Christianity
  3. Bible – the Christian’s holy book
  4. AD – Anno Domini; used before dates after the supposed year Jesus was born
  5. Roman Emperor Constantine – the first Roman Emperor to be baptized as Christian
  6. Pagan – any various religions other than Christianity, Judaism or Islamism

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you know anything about Christmas? Please tell us.
  2. Do people in your country celebrate Christmas? How?
  3. Is Christmas an important festival in your country? Why or why not?

    What is Christmas and why do we celebrate it on December 25? Christmas is a festival commemorating the […]


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Tracking Your Children: A Good Idea or a Bad one?

 

 

Is it a good idea to track your children’s digital activity or not?

MamaBear, Life360, My Mobile Watchdog, and Canary are just some of the many parental tracking apps and services existing for monitoring teen activity on smartphones. They allow parents to monitor their children’s location, social media activity, text messages and call logs.

However, doing this can harm a parent and teen relationships. According to Barbara Greenberg, a family clinical psychologist, this gives a message that parents don’t trust their children. She added that part of growing up means making mistakes and learning from them. If the parents are always watching and always fixing the problems of their children, their children will grow up with little confidence and increased anxiety.

On the other hand, monitoring apps are helpful in preventing bullying and may even stop suicide. It can also help parents protect their children from meeting with suspicious people.

Moreover, parents who wish to use these apps should think carefully before trying to monitor their children’s digital activity.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

 

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Monitoring – the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of it)
  2. Logs – a written record of something that is sent and/or received
  3. Harm – cause or do damage to
  4. Anxiety – an unpleasant emotion that is experienced in anticipation of some misfortune
  5. Prevent – to stop

 

Perspective Exchange:

  1. What do you think about parents tracking their children’s digital activity?
  2. If you have children, would you track their social media as well?
  3. What are the other advantages and disadvantages you can think of about using tracking apps?

    Is it a good idea to track your children’s digital activity or not? MamaBear, Life360, My Mobile Watchdog, […]


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Intermediate

Self-service McDonald’s

 

 

Would you like to design your burger?

McDonald’s is planning to give customers the option of using a tablet to customize and order their burgers soon. This new function is named as “Create Your Taste.” It will allow customers to choose from different selection of buns, toppings and sauces.

McDonald’s spoke person said that the program would be a huge hit to tech savvy and picky customers. Nowadays, millennials prefer to deal with computer, iPad and iPhone than to actually have an interaction with another human being.

This will be launched immediately in 30 locations in the U.S. over the next year.

Contributed by: TEACHER NATSU

Vocabulary Enhancement:

  1. Customize – make according to requirements
  2. Buns – a small rounded bread
  3. Toppings – a flavourful addition on top of a dish
  4. Tech savvy – having skilful use of technology, especially computers
  5. Picky – difficult to please; a very detailed person
  6. Millennial – a person born between the early 1980s to the early 2000s

Perspective Exchange:

  1. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad one? Why or why not?
  2. Would you try this new system of McDonald’s if it becomes available in your country? Why or why not?
  3. Are there any fast food restaurants in your country that has a similar system?

    Would you like to design your burger? McDonald’s is planning to give customers the option of using a […]


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Level:

Intermediate