Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Food and Tradditions Around the World

Today is the last day of the year and most families from around the world get together to celebrate it with parties, foods and drinks. I decided to read about some New Year's traditions and found out, many interesting things: We love food and in many cultures that's the center of the celebration.

Every culture has traditional foods believed to bring good fortune in the New Year. No matter when New Year's Day occurs (at Rosh Hashanah in September, Chinese New Year in January, Persian New Year at the spring equinox), special food items are served that represent health, prosperity, sweetness and luck for the year ahead.

These are some lucky food and food traditions:

In many Asian countries, long noodles are eaten on New Year's Day in order to bring a long life.

Black eyed peas
A common good luck food in the southern United States, black-eyed peas are thought to bring prosperity, especially when served with collard greens.

In Germany, Ireland, and parts of the United States, cabbage is associated with luck and fortune since it is green and resembles money.

Thought to resemble coins, lentils are eaten throughout Italy for good fortune in the New Year.

Long associated with abundance and fertility, pomegranates are eaten in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries for luck in the New Year.

In North America, Asia, and Europe, people eat fish to celebrate the new year. In some countries, people associate fish with moving forward into the new year since fish swim forward. Other people think fish symbolize abundance since they swim in schools.

Pork is served at New Year’s celebrations all over the world. Some cultures believe pigs symbolize prosperity and abundance because of their plump bodies and high fat content, while others say pigs symbolize progress because they push themselves forward as they root around in the dirt for food.

In Japan, the traditional food for New Year's Day includes mochi (round balls of rice) and mirror cakes (the balls flattened to the shape of a mirror) which are placed on altars as offerings to the gods (along with an orange for longevity) and given to relatives and friends as tokens of divine blessings for the year.

Dates and figs
The Romans used to give friends a glass jar full of dates and dried figs in honey, along with a bay leaf branch so the coming year would be sweet and full of good fortune. Neapolitans still wrap dried figs in laurel leaves and exchange them as a kind of insurance of abundance for the coming year. They also make confections of caramelized dough and tiny almond pieces which are eaten over a period of days.

In Mexico and many South American countries, instead of doing a champagne toast, New Year's Eve revelers eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one for each month in the coming year. In Venezuela we combine both a champagne toast and grape eating.

Citrus is a positive symbol for the Chinese New Year, observed on the first day of the first lunar month (in 2009, it falls on January 26). Tangerines represent good luck, and oranges represent wealth.

In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year's Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age.

Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.

In Scotland, where New Year's is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called "first footing," in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The "first footer" often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.

What Not to Eat or unlucky food


According to many cultures, eating anything with wings is not a good. It could fly away, taking all your luck. Chicken is especially bad because the bird scratches backwards (unlike the forward-thinking pig), possibly leading to setbacks.

Backwards-swimming lobsters are also a bad omen for the same reason.

Eggs, tofu, or white cheese
The color white is a symbol of death in the Chinese culture, so avoid eggs, tofu, or white cheese.

And above all, don’t clean your plate too thoroughly — many cultures believe that leaving a little leftover food on your plate will usher in a year of plenty.

Well, that's it. Hope you have and excellet New Year's Dinner and a very Lucky Happy New Year 2009.

These are some of the articles I read to write this post

Living in Season: New Year's Feasts
"Good Luck" New Year's Feast Ideas from Around the World
Lucky Foods for the New Year

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

URBE Xmas Party 2008

Well, here we have another nice tool to share photos in a creative way.. Hope you have fun doing this little project.

Click to play URBE xmas party 2008
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Apture: Add Multimedia to Your blog with One Click.

"Apture provides the first rich communication platform allowing publishers and bloggers to easily turn flat pages of text into multimedia experiences."

This new tool deserves a WooooWWWW! It allows you to link videos, documents, photos, maps, etc to your page.

It's veryEasy to use. Just watch the video and follow the instrustions... of course, you will need a blog, a webpage and you know what it's great about it..... It works with Ning! So we can use this great tools with our EFL university ning CoP...

Watch the video and start experimenting and adventuring.. you won't regret it...

After you played with it...... Let me know what you thought about it.

Holiday wishes from teachers of the world

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Youth for Human Rights

Carlos Linares shared this wonderful video with us to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Human Rights Declaration. He asked:

What's your favorite Human Rights?

if you don't know much about Human Rights, read the previous post. There you will find them... have fun and let us know your answer to Carlos' question.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 60th Anniversary

The adoption of the Universal Declaration is a significant international commemoration marked each year on 10 December and is known as Human Rights Day or International Human Rights Day. The commemoration is observed by individuals, community and religious groups, human rights organisations, parliaments, governments and the United Nations. Decadal commemorations are often accompanied by campaigns to promote awareness of the Declaration and human rights. 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration and is being accompanied by year long activities around the theme "Dignity and justice for all of us".

Human rights set out in the Declaration
The following reproduces the articles of the Declaration which set out the specific human rights that are recognized in the Declaration.

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3
Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.

Article 4
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 6
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
Article 7
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11
Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13
Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 14
Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15
Everyone has the right to a nationality. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16
Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17
Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21
Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23
Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26
Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.

Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27
Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29
Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Take the Feedback Survey!

Well, we are finishing our September- December 2008 Trimester!!!! This was a great trimester full of wonderful stories and adventures... Well, that will be another post.

Now, rhe feedback survey... Only for students from this September-December2008 trimester:

The ones that take the survey will get an extra punto..

Feed back ( students Sep-Dec 08 only) Feed back Class Sep-Dec 2008

...... si este no funciona...trata con este otro enlace after you take the survey... send an email to your teacher at , write your name and seccion...

Photo by sliceoflife