Halloween is celebrated every year on the 31st October, but do you know the origin of this celebration?
Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of « Samhain », when people used to light bonfires and wear costumes to scare away ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as « All Hallows’ Eve » and this later became known as « Halloween ».
Over the years, Halloween has evolved into a fun and family event with activities for children such as trick-or-treating, when children dress as monsters, ghosts and witches and knock on neighbours’ doors to ask for sweets and candy.
The story of Halloween can be used to illustrate the notion of myths and heroes (the different myths and legends surrounding the Halloween celebration) but also the notion of Spaces and Exchanges: Halloween started in America when immigrants came from Ireland (potato famine) and Scotland, bringing their customs and traditions to the United States. They were proud of their Celtic origins and they called Halloween « Oidche Shamhna » (Night of Samhain) and kept the traditional observances. The Jack-o-lantern is the festival light for Halloween and is the ancient symbol of a damned soul. Originally the Irish would carve out turnips as but when they emigrated to America they could not find many turnips. They found however an abundance of pumpkins and they have been an essential part of Halloween celebrations ever since. « Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century.
Here are a few links to help you learn about this day:
- The history of Halloween explained – link to a video with transcript and vocabulary explanations
- The real story behind Halloween – link to a video on the History channel
- Monster Quest – Are ghosts real? This is a 46-minute video about an investigation into the most haunted houses in America (don’t watch it alone!!)
- Read about the history of Halloween here and some Halloween superstitions here
- A reading comprehension about the history of Halloween with questions to check your understanding
- Myths and legends about Halloween
In this episode of 6 Minute English, Rob and Jennifer talk about why people move around the world to find work. These people are known as « global migrants ».
Some 214 million people are international migrants, living in a different country from the one in which they were born. There are plenty with high-level skills who end up working for at least part of their careers outside their home country.
Some take work they are overqualified for, because it still pays better than what is available at home. This has led to a brain drain from some developing countries.
Watch the BBC 6-minute English report to learn more about global migration
Read more about the topic here
An exchange is the act of giving or receiving something in substitution for something else. In today’s modern-day world these exchanges can take several forms: economic – work exchanges, exchange of goods, trading across borders, cultural – exchange of ideas, information, education, movement of people – immigration, student exchanges, gap years… Our modern-day world is changing quickly and seems to be a smaller place due to improvements in technology and communication. Information exchange has become easier thanks to the internet and international trade has enabled us to expand our markets for goods and services that might not have been available to us. These different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have transformed and characterised our modern-day world – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. We can illustrate this notion with the following examples :
Exchange or movement of money:
- international trade is now much easier thanks to modern communication systems and faster transport. Foreign products are easily available in our supermarkets and on internet. Certain brands are known all over the world. We live in a huge global economy – this is otherwise known as globalisation. - Watch the video to find out more . What are the advantages and disadvantages of globalisation? - Watch this ad on youtube:
http://youtu.be/t6gwfMBkWQU - What do you see? What are the disadvantages of globalisation? – Link to the BBC website : what is globalisation? and a BBC video about globalisation – Don’t forget to mention the downsides of globalisation: for example child labour, exploitation of people and resources
Exchange of information and communication
- One of the major developments in the most recent years is the internet and the different social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Skype…they are changing the way we live and communicate today. These networks make it easier for us to stay in touch with friends and family abroad, they open up borders and enable us to communicate with people abroad. However there are also disadvantages to this fast development of internet: there is a lot of false information available, people can become addicted and spend less time with friends and family, there are other dangers such as bullying , pornography, identity theft….. – School and education - there is more and more social diversity and more knowledge than in the past. Thanks to internet information travels faster than before (but this can sometimes be negative especially when the information is false). We can compare the different educational systems across the world.
Movement of people
- Immigration: how and why it began? Why did people emigrate to the USA, what is the American Dream ….. The impact of Mexican-US migration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5sF1I_lBbQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KvG8BwhSUs – Cultural interactions: the movement of people across borders - Gap year, student exchange programs…. What is a gap year? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajTtOKuEnZg – What impact has the movement of people had on the different countries? Who benefits from these exchanges? What are the new emerging powers? For more information here is another « prezi » to help you find some ideas to illustrate the notion of spaces and exchanges http://prezi.com/l-0odniubs6n/spaces-exchanges/