Friday, December 31, 2004

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Season´s reading: After Samhain, comes Yule

To begin, let us look at the actual reason this holiday exists: for Yule and Christmas are not so very different, underneath it all; both celebrate the arrival of the sun/son; or, if you like, the light of the world...Ronald Hutton, in his excellent book The Stations of the Sun, has this to say about the story of the Nativity: It "makes sense on a mythological level--an archetypal representation of the birth of a hero at the junction of many worlds, (who is) engendered partly of humans and partly of the divine, born in a location that is neither indoors nor in the open air, belonging partly to humans and partly to animals, and adored by those on the margins of society."
At yule, some traditions perform the play of the Oak King and the Holly King, just as it is done at Midsummer, to mark the change of the seasons as one of them reigns over the other. It is also generally accepted that the date of Christmas is an arbitrary one; that it was chosen to coincide with the pagan solstice celebration, as a way of "converting" the "heathens" (or country folk, heath-dwellers) to the Christian way of life.The first written record of the reason for this holiday's occurrence on December 25th was in 354 AD, in Rome, when one scholar wrote: "It was customary for pagans to celebrate the birth of the sun...when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day."However, the tradition of celebrating the solstice on this day is not much older, at least according to extant records: it was officially decreed in the year 274 by the emperor Aurelian. A century later, the archbishop of Constantinople observed that fixing the date of the "Nativity of the Sun of Righteousness" was necessary because "while the heathens were busied with their profane rites, the Christians might perform their holy ones without disturbance." Saint Augustine encouraged Christians to honor "He who made the sun, not the sun itself."
The word "Yule" is believed to derive from a colloquial Scandinavian term meaning "wheel." There is also some speculation it is derived from the Old English word for "jolly." But its exact etymology is still debated. The concept of the wheel seems to make more sense , since this date marks the definitive point in the Wheel of the Year, and for many cultures and calendars it is the start of the new year.
We know that the observance of the winter solstice was very significant in ancient times. Since this date represented the moment when the days would again become longer, when light would return to the land, the rural folk who faced lean times in winter had reason to be thankful. The use of candles as decorations and ritual objects, dating from ancient times, indicates the importance of honoring the deities of light. The sun's return meant spring was on its way,and with it, the birth of new animals to the flock, and the softening of the soil tilled by our ancestors who lived as animal herders and farmers. Their celebration of this date as a holy day, when they worshipped and honored the sun as a deity, was an affirmation of their survival of the cold months of winter. They subsisted on the dried meats of the animals they slaughtered at Samhain, and what little produce they could preserve from the final harvest.

1. Explain the meaning of the words in orange.
2. What is Yule?
3.Why is it similar to Christmas?
4.Where does the word Yule come from?
5.Why were people so thankful at Yule, in ancient times?

You can PRINT this and stick it on your notebook

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Try these links!





Create a quiz (in any language)for your friends! Easy&Fun


Create an educational web and compete (PREMIO)

Bored? Try these Quizzes and Tests Miscellaneous Miscellaneous: try the IQ test or What breed of dog are you? Love test. Not easy What kind of thinker are you?

Transformation challenge

Try these transformations (go to edit and use color). Some are easy, some are not.
Change the sentences so that they keep the same meaning. Put between two and five words in each space (contractions count as two words).
Eg. It’s two years since I last drank beer. I haven’t drunk beer for two years.
1) The last time I saw him was three years ago.
I haven't seen him for three years.
2) They have been married for 25 years.
They got married 25 years ago.
3) We tried very hard but we couldn’t open the door.
However hard we tried (our efforts) we couldn’t open the door.
4) Why don’t we take the 10.15 to London?
How about taking the 10.15 train to London?
5) Although, she was wealthy she lived in poverty.
Despite her wealth (...) she lived in poverty.
6) The carpenter is building a new bookcase for us.
We are getting a new bookcase built.
7) I haven’t typed the report yet.
The report hasn't been typed yet.
8) It’s understood that the thieves are still in the city.
The thieves are suppossed to be in the city.
9) There had to be someone who knew the answer.
Someone must have known the answer.
10) She was able to finish her work on time.
She succeeded in finishing her work on time.

I'm sorry but I couldn't change the color. See you soon!
Well done, 6/10...but...WHO did it? Please leave a name or a nick! Teacher

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Shake with fear

“Shake with fear”
When I saw it, I felt very confused. I wanted to shout, I was very nervous... It was a really uncomfortable experience. And, It was all so real... I could pronounce no word. Oh, my god, I thought, I could do nothing, I couldn’t run, I was locked up in a cell. He was very calm, he stayed outside, watching me, all time... Suddenly, he lit a bonfire, and he threatened me to burn me, if I behaved badly. Two hours later, I was sleeping, and he woke up me effusively. I couldn’t believe what had happened. All of a sudden, I was in a strange site. It was very hot. And I thought I was free. But, the evil man already stayed there. He touch me with his big arms and he wanted throw me into the bonfire. Therefore, then, I woke up in my bed. And, fortunately, it had been only a nightmare.