Many cities around the world have well known Carnival celebrations. These cities include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Barranquilla, Colombia; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Quebec City, Canada; and Mazatlan, Mexico. One of the most famous Carnival celebrations takes place in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the United States.
As in the other cities, the New Orleans Carnival season starts on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in English) the day before Ash Wednesday. During the Carnival season there are numerous parades and balls. However, most celebrations take place over the two week period just before Mardi Gras.
In New Orleans the parades and costume balls are organized by Carnival krewes. During parades krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds of onlookers. The most common throws are strings of colourful plastic beads, doubloons (coins with the krewe logo), plastic cups, and small toys.
Mardi Gras Colours
The official colours for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.
These colors were chosen in 1872 by the King of Carnival, Rex.
He chose these colors to stand for the following:
- purple represents justice
- green stands for faith
- gold stands for power
As part of the celebration of Mardi Gras, it is traditional to bake an oval cinnamon cake. This cake- the King Cake- is to honour the three kings who took gifts for the baby Jesus. The shape of a King Cake symbolizes the unity of faiths. Each cake is decorated in the traditional Mardi Gras colours. A small plastic baby, symbolizing the baby Jesus, is baked into each cake. It is believed that the person who finds the baby in their slice will have good luck. In addition, that person is responsible for providing the King Cake for the next year.
Costumes and Masks
On the days before Mardi Gras costumes and masks are usually only worn by Krewe members. However, on Mardi Gras many non-Krewe members also wear costumes and masks.
Groundhog Day 2019
Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow Saturday morning meaning an early spring is on the way despite dangerously cold temperatures in the United States this week.
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States.
It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.
If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.
If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.
THE LAND DOWN UNDER
Getting to know the culture of English-speaking countries has already become the tradition in our school. In the past years we focused on Great Britain, the United States and Ireland.
Now it is time for the Land Down Under! If you have doubts where it is, let’s make it clear – AUSTRALIA.
The inhabitants of this country, which is at the same time the smallest continent in the world, celebrate Australia Day on 26 January.
We are going to feel Australians on February 1st to celebrate this unique culture.
But in the coming months there is a lot to learn and get familiar with!
Everybody willing to know that there are more peculiar things in Australia than just kangaroos is welcome to follow this section.
There are 6 states in Australia and 2 territories.
Australian states, territories and their capitals:
Australian Capital Territory – Canberra
Victoria – Melbourne
New South Wales – Sydney
South Australia – Adelaide
Western Australia – Perth
Queensland – Brisbane
Northern Territory – Darwin
Tasmania – Hobart
OFFICIAL SYMBOLS OF AUSTRALIA
flag: a blue background with the Union Jack, the Southern Cross and the Commonwealth Star
anthem: Advance Australia Fair
coat of arms: it features a kangaroo and emu that are holding a shield with the badges of six Australian states; above the shield there is a seven pointed star
national colours: green and gold
floral emblem: golden wattle – a 4 to 8 metre-tall tree with yellow flowers
national gemstone: opal
FIRST EUROPEANS IN AUSTRALIA
1606 – the first known landing by Europeans, namely the Dutch who call it New Holland
1770 – Captain Cook claimed southern coast for Great Britain and called it New Southern Wales
1788 – the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay bringing first convicts from Great Britain
All in all over 162,000 convicts were transported to Australia from Great Britain.
1851 – gold was discovered in Australia
THE MOST ICONIC AUSTRALIAN ANIMALS
The kangaroo is unique to Australia. It is a mammal and a macropod, a family of marsupials that includes wallabies and pademelons. There are 55 kangaroo species spread across Australia.
The male Red Kangaroo grows to be the largest in the entire world. They can range from five to six feet tall. They are mostly found inland and are outback legends.
The Grey Kangaroos are found in the thick rainforest and open farmlands along the Eastern Coast.
The females carry their little joeys in their pouches.
mammal – ssak
macropod – kangurowaty
marsupial – torbacz
joey – młody, mały (kangur)
pouch – torba
The name wallaby comes from Sydney’s Eora Aboriginal tribe. It refers to about 30 species of macropods which are smaller than a kangaroo. The most common species are the agile wallaby and red-necked wallaby, which look very similar to kangaroos and are frequently seen in the southern states.
Adult male wallabies are referred to as ‘bucks’, ‘boomers’ or ‘jacks’.
An adult female wallaby is known as a ‘doe’, flyer’ or ‘jill’.
A group of wallabies is called a ‘court’, ‘mob’ or ‘troup’.
The koala is a unique Australian marsupial. It is sometimes referred to as a koala bear because of its similarity in appearance to a teddy bear. Koalas are only active for around two hours a day and get all their fluids from eating eucalyptus leaves which are not very nutritious. So they sleep a lot in order to conserve energy.
The kola is one of the few mammals that have fingerprints. They are very similar to human ones.
Australian wildlife parks harbour many koala species because their habitat is being destroyed by commercial forestry. People can take pictures with them to raise money for their conservation.
The emus are endemic to Australia and are its largest bird. However, they are not one of the most popular animals of Australia. Surprising then that they appear on the Australian Coat of Arms alongside the kangaroo.
The wombat is another creature you’ll find here – a stout, burrowing animal that can weigh up to 36 kilograms. They are powerful diggers who live in dug-out underground labyrinths. Wombats are marsupials, but unlike most marsupials their pouch is backwards. Since 2005 there has been an unofficial holiday called Wombat Day observed on 22 October.
The echidna, otherwise known as the spiny anteater. It is really one of the oddest animals of Australia. One of only 2 egg laying mammals that exist in the whole world, it looks a lot like a porcupine but is more closely related to a platypus.
The Tasmanian Devil is the world’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial. Like most marsupials, baby Tasmania Devils live in their mother’s pouch. They became extinct on the mainland of Australia around six hundred years ago and are only found in Tasmania. They have some of the most powerful bone-crushing jaws on earth!
There are 55 species of parrots in Australia. Cockatoos (on the left) are fairly common in Australia, they’re intelligent birds that can be very loud! A galah (on the right) is an Australian cockatoo with a reputation for not being too bright, and it is also an Australian slang word for a stupid person!
THE CITIES OF AUSTRALIA
As Australia’s capital city (and the home of Parliament House), Canberra plays host to a community of residents who’ve relocated from larger cities such as Melbourne and Sydney to work in politics, government and related industries such as media.
Canberra is a three hour drive from Sydney and a 6 1/2 hour drive from Melbourne.
The site of the capital was chosen as a compromise between these two rival cities in 1908. American architects, Walter Burley Griffin and his wife, Marion Mahony Griffin, won an international competition for the city’s design.
Lake Burley Griffin
It is the centerpiece of Canberra. Named for the city’s architect. Six islands lie at its center, the largest of which is Aspen Island, home to the National Carillon, a gift from the British government with 55 bronze bells.
Australian War Memorial
Inaugurated in the middle of WWII, the massive Byzantine-style monument commemorating Australia’s war fatalities is Canberra’s most important attraction. More than just a war memorial, the site combines an excellent museum, archives, art gallery, and library.
It is one of the main roads in Canberra which goes from War Memorial to parliament buildings.
New Parliament House
It is a marvel of modern architecture. The boomerang-shaped structure nestles comfortably into Capital Hill and was designed to replace the Provisional Parliament House at the base of the hill, now known as Old Parliament House.
Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures, food, music, art and people of all shapes, sizes and colors. It has been listed as one of the top “world’s most livable cities”. The heart of Melbourne houses iconic landmarks such as the parliament, several financial institutions, MNCs, and beautiful Victorian style buildings. It is located on the banks of Yarra River.
Fed Square is in the heart of Melbourne at the corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets. Fed Square is built on a level above busy railway lines.
It is a Melbourne skyscraper on the southern bank of the Yarra River. Eureka towers 297.3 meters from the ground and was named after the Eureka Stockade rebellion which took place during the gold rush in Victoria (1854).
Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne’s market was established in 1878; the market is open 5 days a week and closed Mondays and Wednesdays. The Vic Market or Queen Vic takes up two full city blocks and has grown from a simple fresh produce market to a city landmark where you can buy virtually everything!
Royal Botanic Gardens
It was established in 1846 and oversaw its transformation from a swamp land to a world-class landscaped garden.
Just 6km from the city centre, St Kilda is Melbourne’s seaside playground and is much-loved by residents and visitors. St Kilda is renowned for its expansive view of Port Phillip, safe sandy beach, palm-lined boardwalk. It was named by Superintendent La Trobe after a watching boat named ‘Lady of St Kilda’ anchored off the beach in 1841.
Brighton is one of Melbourne’s most exclusive suburbs, located south of the city and fronting Port Phillip with its stretches of beautiful sandy beaches. The most famous spot on Brighton’s coastline is the Dendy Street Beach. The colourful bathing boxes which line this stretch of coast are a well-known Melbourne icon.
It is nestled between the hills and the ocean. It is the capital city of the state of South Australia and the fifth-most populous city of Australia. It was named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort fo King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely-settled British province in Australia.
It is Adelaide’s elegant boulevard and home to the city’s most important cultural institutions. The State Parliament, the South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide are located there.
Adelaide is well-known for old Victorian-style architecture.
It is one of Adelaide’s many popular ocean beaches where we can get by a local tram.
The New Adelaide Oval
It has long been regarded as the prettiest cricket stadium in the world. There you can admire objects and photographs from the private archives of Sir Donald Bradman, the world’s greatest batsman.
The Barossa Valley
It is one of the world’s best wine regions. It is just a 50 minute drive north east of Adelaide. One of the main towns in the area is Tanunda where we can visit Château Tanunda established in 1890 and Australia’s largest and oldest wine Château.