Author - Foyle

A Postcard to my Family

Derry's new peace bridge lights up the night sky as Derry prepares for it's opening next weekend. (1806SL01) Photo: Stephen Latimer

Dear family,

That’s a nice picture from Derry showing the Peace Bridge. I enjoy this city and the people here are very friendly. I met many Italian and Spanish students who are improving English language like me. In the morning I always go to the school with Giulia, It’s only five minutes from our house. In the afternoon we do activities with the other guys and at night we usually have fun. Our host family is fantastic. The house is comfortable and the food is good.

See you soon, kisses from Northen Ireland.

Noemi.

#FoyleInternational #SummerSchool2017 #ButcherGate #WelcomeToDerry

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A cool day in Belfast!

Hello! We are a group of students from different parts of Spain, staying here in Derry to learn about its culture and its language. We are going to be living here for three weeks and we’ll attend Foyle International School to improve our English and do various activities such as visiting the city, going to excursions, etc.

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Last Saturday we had an excursion to Belfast. It is the capital and largest city of Northern Ireland. It is also famous for its industry, arts and as UK economic centre; including its major port on the Belfast Lough shoreline. It’s a well known place because of the famous Titanic ship built here between 1911–1912.

We spent almost the whole day in this beautiful city. First, we went to the Ulster Museum in the morning and then we visited the city centre after lunch to go shopping and got to know a little bit about the people and the culture. It was a fantastic trip.

The Ulster Museum is a big building. It has got 5 floors. The first and the second floor have information about world history. The third one is about nature. And the fourth and fifth have paintings and sculptures.

On the first and the second floor there were dinosaur skeletons and animal models like wild boars and bears. On the third floor there were some amazing minerals that shine in the dark, and some fossils. And on the fourth and fifth floors there were some famous paintings and beautiful sculptures.

We liked the third floor because we love nature and we disliked the fourth and fifth floor because they were very boring!

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After going to the Ulster Museum we went to the city centre by bus. There we had a really enjoyable lunch near the City Hall. Afterwards, we went shopping to: a souvenir shop called Carroll’s which was really expensive. Later, we went to the Disney shop which was wonderful and magical!

One interesting fact that grabbed our attention was the number of shoe shops: there were a lot of them! What we liked the most was the incredible weather though in Ireland it isn’t common to have such high temperatures. That was the main reason why there was too many people and that was extremely annoying.

belfastvictoria scuare

It was a really cool day in Belfast. We loved it so much!

By,

Nerea, Carmen, Asier, Yao, Tian, Jimena and Goretti

#shipquaygate #belfast #trip #northernireland #ulstermuseum #shopping

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History of Day of the Dead ~ Día de los Muertos

day-of-the-deadDay of the Dead is an interesting holiday celebrated in central and southern Mexico during the chilly days of November 1 & 2. Even though this coincides with the Catholic holidays All Soul’s & All Saint’s Day, the indigenous people have combined this with their own ancient beliefs of honoring their deceased loved ones. It has many similar traditions to the Celtic festival of Samhain or Halloween as it is now known.

In Mexico people believe that the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on October 31, and the spirits of all deceased children (angelitos) are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. On November 2, the spirits of the adults come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them.

altar-1In most Indian villages, beautiful altars (ofrendas) are made in each home. They are decorated with candles, buckets of flowers (wild marigolds called cempasuchil & bright red cock’s combs) mounds of fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas and big Day-of-the-Dead breads called pan de muerto. The altar needs to have lots of food, bottles of soda, hot cocoa and water for the weary spirits. Toys and candies are left for the angelitos, and on Nov. 2, cigarettes and shots of mezcal are offered to the adult spirits. Little folk art skeletons and sugar skulls, purchased at open-air markets, provide the final touches.

dia-de-los-muertosDay of the Dead is a very expensive holiday for these self-sufficient, rural based, indigenous families. Many spend over two month’s income to honor their dead relatives. They believe that happy spirits will provide protection, good luck and wisdom to their families. Ofrenda-building keeps the family close.

On the afternoon of Nov. 2, the festivities are taken to the cemetery. People clean tombs, play cards, listen to the village band and reminisce about their loved ones. Tradition keeps the village close.

Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. Originally, the Day of the Dead as such was not celebrated in northern Mexico, where it was unknown until the 20th century because its indigenous people had different traditions. The people and the church rejected it as a day related to syncretizing pagan elements with Catholic Christianity. They held the traditional ‘All Saints’ Day’ in the same way as other Christians in the world. There was limited Mesoamerican influence in this region, and relatively few indigenous inhabitants from the regions of Southern Mexico, where the holiday was celebrated.

In the early 21st century in northern Mexico, Día de Muertos is observed because the Mexican government made it a national holiday based on educational policies from the 1960s; it has introduced this holiday as a unifying national tradition based on indigenous traditions.

 

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The Origins of Halloween

halloween

Peter Tokofsky, an assistant professor in the department of folklore and mythology at UCLA states, “The earliest trace (of Halloween) is the Celtic festival, Samhain, which was the Celtic New Year. It was the day of the dead, and they believed the souls of the deceased would be available”  Samhain (pronounced sah-win or sow-in) means “summer’s end” by the Celts.
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