lunes, 20 de diciembre de 2010


A. Roman pagans first introduced the holiday of Saturnalia, a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25. At the festival’s conclusion, December 25th, Roman authorities believed they were destroying the forces of darkness by brutally murdering an innocent man or woman.

B. The ancient Greek writer poet and historian Lucian describes the festival’s observance in his time. He mentions consuming human-shaped biscuits (still produced in some English and most German bakeries during the Christmas season).

C. In the 4th century CE, Christianity imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Christian leaders succeeded in converting to Christianity large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Christians.

D. The Christian leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.

And now... Xmas recipes!!

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lunes, 13 de diciembre de 2010

Tikka Masala

” Chicken Tikka Massala is now a true British national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences. Chicken Tikka is an Indian dish. The Massala sauce was added to satisfy the desire of British people to have their meat served in gravy. ”
- Extract from a speech by British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook

Check a recipe here

miércoles, 24 de noviembre de 2010

Macbeth, the theatre play, by William Shakespeare

Macbeth is a play about a Scottish noble who returns from battle with his friend Banquo when they are met by three witches. He asks them about his fate (future) and they tell him that Banquo´s children will be kings.

Soon after this Macbeth finds out that the king Duncan will make him Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth sees the witches predictions coming true and tells his wife about the predictions.

Duncan announces that he is going to Macbeth's castle. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth that he has to kill Duncan. He does. Duncan's sons flee (go away fom) the country believing they will be killed next and Macbeth becomes king.

Macbeth remembers the witches prediction to Banquo. He wishes to retain power so he kills Banquo . Macbeth starts to feel guilty and sees Banquo's ghost.

Soon the witches appear again telling Macbeth to beware of Macduff, no man born of a woman will harm Macbeth. Macbeth kills Macduff's family, but Macduff is in England trying to convince Malcolm, Duncan's son to return and take the throne.

Malcolm returns to Scotland. Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and ends up killing herself. Eventually Macbeth and Macduff fight and Macduff reveals that he was "Untimely ripped from his mother's womb" no born. He kills Macbeth and Malcolm becomes king.

miércoles, 17 de noviembre de 2010

Interesting facts about India

India never invaded any country in her last 100000 years of history.

When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization)

The name 'India' is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu.

The World's First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The shikhara of the temple is made from a single 80-tonne piece of granite. This magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola.

India is the largest democracy in the world, the 6th largest Country in the world, and one of the most ancient civilizations.

The largest employer in India is the Indian Railways, employing over a million people.

The world's first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.

Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The Father of Medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.

India was one of the richest countries till the time of British rule in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus, attracted by India's wealth, had come looking for a sea route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word 'NAVGATIH'. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word 'Nou'.

The value of "pi" was first calculated by the Indian Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians.

The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan mountains. It was built by the Indian Army in August 1982.

India exports software to 90 countries.

The four religions born in India - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the world's population.

Jews and Christians have lived continuously in India since 200 B.C. and 52 A.D. respectively.

The largest religious building in the world is Angkor Wat, a Hindu Temple in Cambodia built at the end of the 11th century.

Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was called "the Ancient City" when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.

India provides safety for more than 300,000 refugees originally from Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who escaped to flee religious and political persecution.

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, runs his government in exile from Dharmashala in northern India.

Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.

Yoga has its origins in India and has existed for over 5,000 years.

Learn about India's schools in

domingo, 24 de octubre de 2010

Halloween Stories

An old celt story says that, on the 31st of November, the spirits of all those who had died along the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess . It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to mix with the living.

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on that night, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

The Romans adopted the Celtic practices as their own. But in the first century AD, it was assimilated into other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple, which might explain the origin of our modern tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween.

In Greek mythology, goddesses of the underworld were often used to invoke the Samhain. Popular Greek Goddess costumes portray Hecate and Medusa. Today, Hecate is often referred to as the goddess of witches.

The practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine.

Click here for more stories

viernes, 22 de octubre de 2010

Halloween Vocabulary

Halloween Vocabulary

Match the Halloween related words with their definitions.

1. mummy, 2. ghost, 3. spell, 4. mask, 5. costume, 6. vampire,

7. warlock, 8. carve, 9. goblin, 10. monster, 11. zombie (zombi),

12. pumpkin, 13. bat, 14. haunted, 15. scary, 16. potion, 17. witch.

a) inhabited or visited by ghosts.

b) a large, roundish, gourdlike orange.

c) a phrase used to bewitch or enchant; charm; incantation.

d) a legendary being that sucks out people´s blood.

e) night-flying mammals that have wings covered with membranes.

f) a mythical creature with features of two different animals.

g) to form or inscribe by cutting:

h) a covering for all or part of the face.

i) a mixture for drinking supposed to have magical effects.

j) a force that can enter a corpse and control its actions.

k) causing fear; frightening.

l) an ugly creature that does evil or mischief to humans.

m) the spirit of someone who has died.

n) a corpse preserved in the manner of the Old Egyptians.

o) a woman who practices occult magic; sorceress.

p) a man who practices witchcraft or magic arts; sorcerer.

q) a set of clothes suited to a particular season, or activity.

miércoles, 6 de octubre de 2010

Frequency Adverbs

Frequency adverbs tell HOW OFTEN something happens.

always 100% (Siempre)
nearly/almost always 90% (Casi siempre)
usually 80% (Normalmente)
very often/frequently 70% (Frecuentemente)
often 60% (a menudo)
sometimes 50% (a veces)
occasionally 40% (en ocasiones)
hardly ever 20% (casi nunca)
seldom/almost never 10% (rara vez)
never 0% (nunca)

Frequency adverbs can go in the following positions in a sentence:

Before the main verb:
Subject + adverb + verb + object, etc.
He never eats vegetables.I often buy foreign periodicals.They frequently visit us.I always read commercial news.They rarely watch sports channels.I sometimes watch English films.

After the verb "to be":
Subject + be + adverb + complement, etc.

He is always late for office.We are never invited to dinner parties.I am always worried about my finances.He is sometimes consulted by investors.You are seldom anxious about my health.

Between the auxiliary and the principal verb:
He has always done justice to all.I have often thought of starting a business.I have never forgotten those unfortunate events.I have sometimes managed to hoodwink others.We could hardly ever appreciate his conduct.We shall never seek such favors.They will always regret having done this.They will usually take such big risks.

Some frequency adverbs (e.g. usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes and occasionally) can also go in the beginning or end of a sentence.

Some other examples are: generally, seldom, rarely

lunes, 20 de septiembre de 2010

Campo Real

Campo Real is a town just 39 km away from Madrid located by the eastern boundary of its metropolitan area,a town of recognised gastronomic prestige. It lies in the basin of the River Tajuña, very close to Arganda del Rey. It has a population of over 3,500 inhabitants.

It is well known for its high quality food products (olives, olive oil, and mainly its sheep cheese). Its church of Nuestra Señora del Castillo of a Romanic-gothic transition style dates back to the 12th century. In 1981 it was declared a provincial historic-artistic monument.

It is known that the definitive name of the municipality was coined in the late 16th century, during the reign of Felipe II.

The church of Santa María del Castillo was originally a Templar convent which dates back to the 12th c., and in 1981 it was declared a provincial historic-artistic monument. Recently restored, climbing the steps which access the temple offers a remarkable view of the surrounding area given the rise on which it stands. The other noteworthy architectural buildings in the town are also religious: the shrines of the Santísimo Cristo de la Peña, from the 18th c., and located close to the Plaza Mayor; that of Las Angustias, from one century earlier, on the outskirts of the village; and that of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, also from the 16th c., which can be found at the entrance to the historic centre of the town.

In Campo Real you can visit the Museo de Alfarería (the Pottery Museum), a true storehouse of traditional rural instruments, which is ideal for reliving the more and more distant past of the area.

In Campo Real olives are the real protagonists and the town offers all the possible varieties of this product. However, it is the dressing which enhances the quality of the olives, and it is a dual process which sweetens them and dresses them via a very special and laborious use of garlic, thyme, fennel, oregano, bay leaf and onion. The olive, which was worthy of receiving the culinary distinction of the denomination of quality,awarded by the autonomous government of Madrid, is joined by sheep's cheese, virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. And we must not forget the wines of Campo Real.

The fiestas of the municipality are very lively and it is worth paying them a visit: those of San Isidro are on 15 May; those of the Santísima Virgen de los Remedios on 8 September; and those of the Santísima Cristo de la Peña, from 13 to 18 September, are the main ones.