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Why We Celebrate Bonfire Night and Halloween

Celebrate Bonfire Night and Halloween in the UK

A big fat warm hello from London and every one at Bloomsbury International and Happy Halloween!!

Apologies for no blog last week, or can I say being blogless ( um not sure about that one! What do you think?) I was on my hols (holiday). You may have remembered that I said that I was going to Scotland. Guess what? I never made it!! No surprise there really! I got as far as Lincoln and it was quite far enough! Plus the weather was awful and cold and I just couldn’t bear it!!

My friends often joke with me that the furthest north I have been is Camden and if I go any further I get a nose bleed!! How rude! Mind you it did make me realise how different other parts of the UK are in comparison!

It is also amazing the difference in English accents even in such a short distance. The people who I spoke to in Lincoln knew straightaway I was from London and I didn’t initially get the warmest of welcomes!! I forget that people outside of London can often be a bit wary of us!

Mind you, once I got chatting, they soon realised I was an alright bloke and dispelled some of the negative myths of us Londoners!! So be warned students, we have such a variety of accents and dialects, so it is important to listen to and be exposed to as many accents as you can. If you go for a trip to Manchester for example, and if you haven’t come across the accent, you’ll be in for quite a shock!

As you have probably realised by now if you are in the UK, not many of us sound like the Queen!! In fact it is probably unlikely that you’ll ever hear someone speak with an accent like hers!

A warm welcome this week to our French students from La Ligue. I hope that you have had a great week with us and you enjoyed your stay! As you know this week is Halloween and you will see a lot of scary looking people dressed up and lots of scary pumpkins!! A huge big thank you to Nadege for bringing in some Halloween treats for everyone! They went down a treat! How’s that for a play on words!

Halloween pumpkin filled with sweets

All Hallows Eve

So now a little history lesson: Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honouring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago. All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day, which was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic Church honoured saints on this designated day. Do you celebrate Halloween in your country? Tell us about it so that we can put it in our newsletter, I am sure Lucia would love to hear from you!

Guy Fawkes Night

Then on the 5th of November, is bonfire night, also known as Guy Fawkes Night. A rather angry man who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament (with a few others), with no success on the 5th of November 1605! Yes you read right, 1605 and we still haven’t forgotten. I bet he would never have thought that he would still be remembered in the 21st century and more than likely into the 22nd and beyond! At one point it was an official bank holiday decreed by King James 1 who was the target of Guy Fawkes, until 1859! So now you will see big bonfires at large organised events with an effigy of Guy Fawkes on the top, followed by a huge firework display.

You also might see children in the street with and effigy and ask ‘a penny for the Guy’. This dates back to the 18th century when poor children begged for money using effigies of Guy Fawkes. If you are in the UK, check out on the internet for one near you. It is also a great way to meet new people also and if you like fireworks you’ll have a great night out. A great way to practise your English!

guy fawkes in the uk

The trouble with bonfire night is that animals cannot stand the noise. Poor Tik and Tok will not be impressed I can assure you. Here are some updated pictures as promised and a very cute clip of Tok actually bothering to wash himself!

cats sitting on a white soft

Both in a rare moment siting together Tok looking a little more relaxed!

close up of two cats

Close ups

[wpvideo 0HsrZSI8]

Now you have probably got this far and thought there were a lot of things I didn’t understand. Step 1, see if you can get the meaning from context. Step 2, if you are brave look up what you don’t understand with an English English dictionary. Still stumped? (oohh I love that word!!) Step 3, translate but record the words so that they mean something to you, record them in context, more about recording vocabulary next week.

Okay whether you are in the UK or ate home have great weekend and I hope if you are in the UK you get to see a decent bonfire and enjoy Halloween in London. Don’t forget if you need any info on our English language courses or think of doing an exam preparation course, IELTS or FCE for example, drop us a line and we will do our best to help you.

If you want to join in this year’s Bonfire Night and Halloween festivities, visit Timeout London for more information.

Ta Ta for now.

Lots of love

Jonny

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