The time of the year with the most traditions is approaching, a time marked by family gatherings, the festive atmosphere in the streets and a rich gastronomy. Can you guess what time of the year it could be?
Christmas is coming!
Twinkling lights in homes and in the streets warmly lighten the coldest and darkest season of the year. Christmas traditions vary all over the world, some of them very curious and others with a very old history, but all of them make this time of the year magical, cozy, aimed above all at children's enjoyment.
In the United Kingdom, for example, during Christmas dinner, "Christmas Crackers" are opened, decorated cardboard tubes containing small gifts, a joke and a paper hat. The family pulls on both ends so that they "explode", the person who gets the larger part of the tube gets to keep what is inside.
On a gastronomic level, apart from the traditional Christmas turkey, Christmas Pudding, a traditional dessert served at Christmas dinner, stands out. It is a rich mixture of dried fruits, nuts, spices and rum, often flambéed at the table before serving.
In Ireland, on Christmas Eve, families light a candle in the window as a symbol of welcome for the Holy Family.
On December 26th, known as St. Stephen's Day (or Boxing Day in the UK), Wren Day is celebrated, where children go door-to-door with a bird doll on a pole, singing and collecting donations.
Across the ocean, in Canada, the Inuit natives celebrate Sinck Tuck. This celebration involves feasting, dancing and exchanging gifts. It is related to the celebration of the winter solstice, and meals usually include caribou, raw fish, seal and other foods typical of the area.
Another curious tradition is that of the "Jólasveinar" or "Christmas Children" in Iceland. It is believed that these 13 characters, children of the ogre Grýla, arrive one by one during the nights before Christmas. They each have their own particular behavior and are said to leave presents or potatoes in the children's shoes depending on whether they have been good or naughty.
In Ukraine, it is common to decorate Christmas trees with cobwebs and spider webs. This tradition is based on a legend that tells that a poor family found their tree covered with cobwebs, but at dawn, the sun turned them into gold and silver threads.
During Christmas Eve, Norwegian witches and evil spirits come out to roam, so it is common to hide the brooms to prevent them from being stolen and used for evil purposes.
There are countries that enjoy high temperatures at Christmas, as in Australia, where it is common to see representations of Santa Claus surfing waves instead of sliding on the snow.
There are many curious Christmas traditions around the world, but one of the most peculiar is the one we celebrate in Catalonia, called "Caga Tió". The tradition involves hitting a log with sticks while singing a special song, and then lifting the blanket to reveal small gifts and treats that the "Tió" has "defecated".
These are just a few of the many Christmas traditions that exist around the world. Each culture has its own unique ways of celebrating this holiday, but what we all know is that it is very special, it is also a time when people tend to express feelings of love, generosity and solidarity.
More and more people are choosing to travel during the vacations, to places like London, Dublin, New York....
These big cities are a great tourist attraction, but not only because of their Christmas atmosphere, but also because they are very popular destinations for a study trip.
The United Kingdom is a perfect country to learn English while discovering its culture so similar, but at the same time so different from ours. Destinations such as London, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Canterbury...each city with its own particular charm. Studying a summer course, a school year or even a course for the whole family in summer is another excuse to take a trip, the summer season is the most popular time to travel, taking advantage of family and / or school vacations.
Ireland is another favorite destination for a term, an academic year or a short course in summer.
This coming summer we will offer three destinations for first time students, accompanied both during the flight and during the stay by an English Summer Group Leader. The destinations are Dublin, Bournemouth and Oxford, two-week courses in the month of July, where language learning is complemented by a unique experience of creating friendships, visiting fantastic places and learning that traveling is one of life's great pleasures.
But not only do they travel in groups, many students choose to travel on other dates, more independently, choosing dates, accommodation and destinations that suit their needs, such as Nice, Bristol, Los Angeles or Vancouver.
Even adults who want to take advantage of a personal vacation trip can take an "express" language course, choosing classes according to their level or work needs.
Travel is a gift for the soul, an opportunity to live unique experiences, discover aspects of the country you are visiting that you did not know and even discover unknown aspects of yourself. Sometimes, a short trip during the Christmas season awakens the desire to continue discovering the country and learning the language.
And why not give the gift of a summer course for Christmas?