Wednesday, 25 November 2009

St Andrew's Day

St Andrew's Day is the feast day of Saint Andrew and is celebrated on 30 November.

Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is Scotland's official national day. Although most commonly associated with Scotland, Saint Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, Romania and Russia.

In Germany, the feast day is celebrated as Andreasnacht ("St. Andrew's Night"), in Austria with the custom of Andreasgebet ("St. Andrew's Prayer"), and in Poland as Andrzejki ("Andrews").

This year, we are in for a treat. The Homecoming Scotland Finale Celebrations is the biggest ever programme of events co-ordinated to mark St Andrew’s Day. The spectacular programme has more than 40 events taking place across the country. With Scotland’s music providing the soundtrack, this is one party you simply can’t miss.

From the Highlands to Haddington, Dundee to Dumfries and many locations in between, there’s plenty of opportunity to join the celebrations and do something for St Andrew’s Day this Homecoming year. The festivities are delivered by event organisers and local authorities across the country who have developed exciting new events to mark the end of what has been a truly celebratory year for Scotland.

Events include, amongst other, torchlight processions, firework displays and a series of unique musical gatherings blending some of the finest musicians born in, and influenced by Scotland and its rich musical heritage, including Deacon Blue, Lloyd Cole, Eddie Reader, Midge Ure and Teenage Fanclub.

Come and join the celebrations!

By the way, do you know the origin of the Scottish flag? According to legend, in 832 A.D. King Ă“engus II (or King Angus) led the Picts and Scots in battle against the Angles, King Angus and his men were surrounded and he prayed for deliverance. During the night Saint Andrew, who was martyred on a saltire cross, appeared to Angus and assured him of victory. On the following morning a white saltire against the background of a blue sky appeared to both sides. The Picts and Scots were heartened by this, but the Angles lost confidence and were defeated. This saltire design has been the Scottish flag ever since.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Expolingua Berlin 2009

For over two decades, Expolingua Berlin has been offering exhibitors an ideal platform to present a diverse spectrum of products and services related to language learning and teaching, as well as cultures from around the globe. Each year, approximately 200 exhibitors from over 30 countries and more than 15,000 visitors attend this multinational event.

At Expolingua Berlin, visitors can get in touch with different cultures and more than 60 languages. Experts provide first-hand information and advice on foreign language learning and teaching.

Visitors come to Expolingua Berlin to get expert advice on the wide-ranging options for learning and teaching foreign languages, as well as to participate in targeted networking with professionals in the language training industry. Language teachers, HR and training specialists, language travel agents, publishers, schools and cultural institutes come to Expolingua Berlin to make new contacts and refresh existing relationships.

Parallel to the exhibition, Expolingua Berlin’s seminar programme offers visitors a rich and varied series of lectures, workshops and mini-language courses. Visitors can choose from 100 presentations covering topics such as studying and working abroad, language tests and international educational programmes.

A varied cultural programme rounds off the exhibition each year, including film screenings.

So, this year inlingua Edinburgh is going to be there! IN OUR KILTS!! what a better way to represent Scotland! We promise photos. Just check our Facebook profile.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bonfire Night and the Gunpowder Plot

After Queen Elizabeth I died in 1603, English Catholics who had been persecuted under her rule had hoped that her successor, James I, would be more tolerant of their religion. James I had, after all, had a Catholic mother. Unfortunately, James did not turn out to be more tolerant than Elizabeth and a number of young men, 13 to be exact, decided that violent action was the answer.

A small group took shape, under the leadership of Robert Catesby. Catesby felt that violent action was warranted. Indeed, the thing to do was to blow up the Houses of Parliament. In doing so, they would kill the King, maybe even the Prince of Wales, and the Members of Parliament who were making life difficult for the Catholics. Today these conspirators would be known as extremists, or terrorists.

To carry out their plan, the conspirators got hold of 36 barrels of gunpowder and stored them in a cellar, just under the House of Lords.

But as the group worked on the plot, it became clear that innocent people would be hurt or killed in the attack, including some people who even fought for more rights for Catholics. Some of the plotters started having second thoughts. One of the group members even sent an anonymous letter warning his friend, Lord Monteagle, to stay away from the Parliament on November 5th.

The warning letter reached the King, and the King's forces made plans to stop the conspirators.

Guy Fawkes, who was in the cellar of the parliament with the 36 barrels of gunpowder when the authorities stormed it in the early hours of November 5th, was caught, tortured and executed.

It's unclear if the conspirators would ever have been able to pull off their plan to blow up the Parliament even if they had not been betrayed. Some have suggested that the gunpowder itself was so old as to be useless. Since Guy Fawkes and the other conspirators got caught before trying to ignite the powder, we'll never know for certain.

On the very night that the Gunpowder Plot was foiled, on November 5th, 1605, bonfires were set alight to celebrate the safety of the King. Since then, November 5th has become known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated every year with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on a bonfire.

Some of the English have been known to wonder, in a tongue in cheek kind of way, whether they are celebrating Fawkes' execution or honoring his attempt to do away with the government.

Geeky facts: Guy Fawkes is still alive in modern storytelling. If you don't believe us, just check the name of Dumbledore's phoenix bird in the Harry Potter saga. Yes, you are right, 'Fawkes' it is. Not difficult to make the connection, is it? And, amongst many others, the story is also present in the comic-book 'V for Vendetta', a masterpiece of the so called ninth art.