It's almost finished, but today is boxing day in several English speaking countries.
Boxing day is a tradition where people give away things. It's a time to show generosity. Of course, it's a very commercial day, but also it's a sort of 'after-Christmas'.
I wouldn't be surprised if other non-British related countries adopt this feast, not only for the sake of being kind to others but because retailers would be very pleased if we do it.
Have a great night!
John Barleycorn is an old character from English tradition. He symbolizes the crops, the beer and whiskey made out of barley.
There is a popular song which tells the story of John Barleycorn. This song is full of cultural references to what would be the cycle of planting, growing, harvesting and even death.
Although there are many versions to it, death is a constant in them and it is seen also as a messianic element, as it is necessary that John Barleycorn die so others could live, be it the crop or the fed with the crop:
The following are the three last verses from the Robert Burns version of the song:
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
of noble enterprise;
for if you do but taste his blood,
'twill make your courage rise.
'Twill make a man forget his woe;
'twill heighten all his joy;
'twill make the widow's heart to sing,
tho the tear were in her eye.
Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
each man a glass in hand;
and may his great posterity
ne'er fail in old Scotland!
You can hear a version of it here:
Ho ho ho!
HABBYY Christmas Y'all!
Lingvo Live Team
Hope you behaved this year…
St Nicholas is the character most children wish to see or hope to have a visit from him. However, as parents say, one should behave to get Christmas presents. If you don’t, you could not only be left with no presents, but can be punished by some really creepy creatures.
For example, if you were in Iceland, you could have a visit from the dreaded Jólakötturinn. It is a black cat who is said to eat the children who did not finish their duties on time. There were also the Jólasveinar, a gang of thirteen trolls which scared children who did not behave. Luckily for the children with bad attitude, this trolls became a sort of Santa’s helpers.
But that’s not all, the worst of the Icelandic Christmas nightmares is Grýla. She’s an ogress just like Hansel & Gretel’s witch. Grýla kidnaps, cooks and eats children. She’s the owner of Jólakötturinn and former boss of the Jólasveinar. She’s the one you all should be afraid of.
In Austria there is an anti-Santa being called Krampus. He’s a devilish creature who beats children. In Germany, they have Frau Perchta, a witch that takes out the internal organs and replaces them with junk. Also German are Belsnickel, Knecht Ruprecht and Ru Klaas, who used to hit children and recall them to behave so they can receive gifts for Christmas.
There are more anti-Santa characters in other traditions. But I suggest you better behave so you don’t have to meet any of them.
Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!
We know the big red-dressed fellow known to us as Santa Claus is carried in a wagon or sleigh pulled by several reindeers. But do you know how many reindeers form his court?
They were eight at first:
Dasher, Dancer, Pranzer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder (later spelled Donner) and Blixem (later spelled Blitzen).
But more recently, though no exactly just a few years ago, another one came:
One more thing, do you know their ages?
The first eight are 193 years old, while Rudolph is only 77.
The eight original reindeers were first accounted and named in 1823, in a poem called 'A visit from St. Nicholas'. Rudolph appeared first in the book 'Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer', which was published in 1939.
You can read more about Santa's reindeers here:
This is the season of presents. There is a lot of options you can choose from to make a present. But how do you choose or buy your presents?
You can, for example, buy something you want the other person to have; something you think will be great.
You can also think about what the other person needs or try to remember if there is something he or she have been looking for but could not find, accept it as a mission and find it for them. This would be double present, a guaranteed success!
There is other ways to find presents. I like when the presents just come by themselves. That’s a blessed occasion when life flows like a cool breeze and you go just walking and then of a sudden you see something perfect to give as the perfect present, like a book, a CD, an ornament, a pillow with their favorite character, any thing.
Anyway, I think the most important thing is to give something that will make both the receiver and the giver happy. Presents are incarnations of what does one person mean to the other. I’ll never forget how Jack Skellington describes a present:
This is a thing called a present. The whole thing starts with a box…
Good luck with your choices!
The star of Bethelem
Men have always looked up at the sky. Astronomy and also astrology have been part of the humankind knowledge since long years ago. Ancient cultures have studied and learned from the stars.
Many of the greatest landmarks of the ancient were oriented to a star or constellation. There were also observatories built to watch the sky. We still tend to relate important events to particular star conjunctions or other sky phenomena.
However, modern scientists don’t have yet a concluding answer to the question ‘which of all the known stars is the real star of Bethelem?’ They think it could have been not a star but the conjunction of more than one celestial body, such as a comet, a supernova or a very bright (and yet unknown) star.
What do you think? What would you like the Star of Bethelem to be?
Have you ever heard the term ‘refurbished’. This is a word used to describe items that are for sale but have been sold and returned before.
The word refurbished derives from ‘furbish’ (restore something to a –usually– like new condition) plus the prefix ‘re-‘. It’s related to the French ‘fourbir’. It’s commonly applied to electronic goods when they are offered again after they’ve been returned by a customer.
Refurbished items are not necessarily items that malfunctioned. Sometimes the customer just changed his (or her) mind, came back and got another, similar, device that matches better their need or expectations.
It’s a good deal to buy refurbished items because they usually have big discounts. I’ve bought some of my most beloved devices in refurbished condition and they are still running strong.
Like they say, you don't always have to break the bank to get something you want or need.
Hoy es el cumpleaños de Paco de Lucía. Francisco Sánchez Gómez fue un conocido guitarrista de flamenco, una música tradicional de España.
Además de su impresionante técnica e inspiración como ejecutante, Paco de Lucía es reconocido como uno de los responsables de la renovación de la música flamenca durante los últimos 50 años. Sus colaboraciones con músicos de Jazz como Al Di Meola y John McLaughlin, así como con músicos populares como Carlos Santana hicieron que mucha gente lo siguiera a él y conociera el flamenco.
El flamenco es una música que surgió en el sur de España, durante el siglo XVIII. Se trata de una mezcla de influencias árabes, gitanas, castellanas y judías. Además de ser un estilo musical, también es un estilo de baile y de vestir. En noviembre de 2010, el flamenco fue declarado Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de la Humanidad
En lo personal, disfruto mucho el disco Friday Night In San Francisco, con Al Di Meola y John McLaughlin, grabado el 5 de diciembre de 1980.
Paco de Lucía fue uno de los músicos españoles más auténticos y más internacionales. Al tiempo que llevó el flamenco a los públicos fuera de España, realizó una brillante carrera como ejecutante y como innovador y divulgador de la tradición flamenca.
Sin duda, la música es un lenguaje por sí misma. Es una de las formas más atractivas para dar a conocer otras culturas, su lengua y sus sonidos.
Men always have made personifications of nature elements. One of them is Jack Frost. He is the Winter.
Jack Frost’s mentions began about the late 18th century as the maker of fern-like patterns on windows, cold weather and frost. He’s described sometimes as a good spirit but as a bad spirit, too. He’s sometimes represented or mixed with other characters such as Grandfather Frost or with Old Man Winter.
However, he has been represented as an elf character who likes to behave mischievous but with a kind heart. He's also playful like a child.
There are poems, mostly from 18th and 19th century where Jack Frost is mentioned. He’s one of the most popular characterizations of Winter. I like the 2012 Rise of the Guardians movie version. Here, Jack is the main character and he wants to know more about himself (much like many of us) and he does it through a beautiful memory.
Do you know a tale about Jack Frost?