What is Lunar New Year?
Lunar New Year is the new year of the Lunar Calendar. The lunar calendar follows the cycles of the moon and is commonly used in East, South, and Southeast Asia. Because the lunar calendar follows the moon, the new year will always fall on a different day every year. In the West, we usually use the Gregorian calendar where the new year always falls on January 1.(more…)
This past December I took a trip to Japan – again.
I’ve been to Japan three times. It’s a country where you can stay in the same place for weeks and still feel like you haven’t even begun to discover any of its secrets. There’s always something curious waiting to pique your imagination, and there’s always something for everyone. From little harbour towns to sprawling urban meccas, mountain hot springs to pristine beaches, and generations-old family businesses to over 200 Michelin-star restaurants, this island nation of 127 million people has it all.
During my latest trip, I went to Tokyo for the first time. People are used to tourists in Tokyo. English is everywhere – until it isn’t.(more…)
Canada is a multicultural country. We celebrate so many different holidays, from Diwali to Lunar New Year to Eid. We also celebrate Christmas, the biggest holiday of the year. Some people and businesses start to prepare months in advance. Thinking about the perfect gift for a loved one can be a stressful experience and some people take months to decide. Sometimes you’ll even see Christmas decorations in July!
But what do Canadians do to celebrate Christmas? We all have ideas of Christmas. We think of snow, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, a hot fireplace, turkey and roast beef, and Christmas lights. However, not every Canadian family has the same Christmas traditions. Some families might not celebrate at all, while others go all out in their traditions.
Here are some Christmas traditions that are familiar to many families across Canada.
When I was in university, I took some Chinese classes. One of the biggest challenges I had was learning how to pronounce the sounds correctly.
As a native English speaker, I struggled to reproduce a lot of Chinese sounds. Not only were the sounds difficult for me to make, but Chinese is also a tonal language. Chinese has four tones: high, rising, dipping, and falling. It also has a neutral tone. The sounds and tones were hard enough on their own. Together? HAH! Even now, I sometimes still have difficulty having correct pronunciation for both sounds and tones.
What really helped me improve my pronunciation was music. Once a week, at my university, there was a Chinese singing class. Each class we would learn and practice one or two songs. It was always fun, and I have many fond memories of laughing with my classmates at our pronunciation. However, as time went on, we found that the songs we learned were actually helping a lot with our pronunciation. To this day, I still remember many of the songs we learned. I also like to practice new songs!
Using singing and music is a wonderful way to learn a language. Here are some of the songs I’ve used before in my classes.
What do you say when you want to scare somebody?
In English, we say “boo”! We think that this is the sound that ghosts make.
Ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and witches are just a few of the monsters that we think of on Halloween.
Halloween is a spooky (scary) holiday with a long history.
Many of our Halloween traditions come from Ireland, Scotland, and England.
Take a look at some of the many Halloween customs that we have in Canada!
Wearing a costume is one of the most popular Halloween traditions.
On Halloween, you’ll see both children and adults dressed up in costumes ranging from cute to frightening.
Some people like to plan their costume months in advance!
Children will often wear a costume to school and for trick-or-treating, and some adults will wear a costume to work or to a party.
Sorry, this activity is for children (and some teenagers) only!
On Halloween night, children go to their neighbour’s houses and knock on their doors.
When the door opens up, the children will say, “Trick or treat!”
The neighbour will then give some Halloween candy or another treat to the children.
After, the children will say thank you and continue to the next house.
Now, trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood is becoming less common.
Some parents are worried about their children’s safety.
Sometimes the houses are too far apart.
Because of this, going trick-or-treating at a shopping mall is becoming popular.
Regardless of where children go, they usually end up with a big bag of Halloween candy at the end of the night!
BOBBING FOR APPLES
Bobbing for apples is a very old tradition.
Many apples are placed in a container – usually a barrel.
The container is filled with water.
Participants try to grab the apples with their mouths, and they are not allowed to use their hands.
A long time ago, girls used to put the apples under their pillows.
They thought that if they did this, they would dream of their future husband.
Nowadays, we only bob for apples for fun.
Many people like to make jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween.
A jack-o’-lantern is a pumpkin with a face carved (cut with a knife) into it with a knife.
Originally, people made jack-o’-lanterns to protect themselves from evil (bad) ghosts and spirits on Halloween.
The first jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips in Ireland and Scotland, but in North America, we use pumpkins.
Halloween was originally a religious holiday to commemorate (remember and celebrate) the dead.
The modern celebration of Halloween in North America is often not religious.
Instead, we use Halloween as a day to have fun feeling scared.
People like to watch horror movies, listen to creepy (uncomfortable and scary) music, and tell scary stories.
One of the most famous ghost stories is about Bloody Mary, a female ghost.
Legend says that if you say the name “Bloody Mary” three times while standing in front of a mirror in a dark room, Bloody Mary will appear.
Children like to do this activity in a group.
Usually, one person will think they see something in the mirror and scream, causing the rest of the group to freak out (panic and be scared).
I still remember playing this game at my friend’s house on Halloween!
Check out three exciting events for international students in Victoria! Contact us if you need help buying a ticket.
DATE: Wednesday, October 24
TIME: Doors open at 6 PM; event at 6:30 PM
LOCATION: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad Street
TICKETS: FREE for performers; $10 for everyone else
Real English Victoria is quiet this week.
I don’t mean totally; I mean relatively.
From July 31st to August 8th, 20 students from Musashino Joshi Gakuin, a high school near Tokyo, descended on Victoria to investigate the differences between education, environmental protection, and nutrition between Japan and Canada.
The spaces at REV were perfect for small collaborative groups where students practiced their English in discussions and project-related activities, while Canadian buddies and experienced teachers helped students use English in more powerful ways.
You asked, so we listened! We now have a Full-Time Intensive IELTS Program.
Prepare for all parts of the Academic and General IELTS exam in our intensive program. This program is from 1 to 6:30 PM, Monday to Friday. You will spend a full 5 hours everyday preparing for the IELTS exam. Get personalized help and get the score you want!
Ask us for more details.
Today is the day that we turn 2.
For most people, 2 is not a big number. “Why are you so excited about a second anniversary?” you might ask. “You’ve only been open for two years!”
But for us, it doesn’t feel like it’s been only two years. It’s been two years of learning new skills, bridging local and global communities, and constantly reaching for our best. We’ve laughed and made great friends and a wonderful family. When we’ve made mistakes, we’ve always gotten back up stronger than before. It’s been a lifetime of discovery, and we’re so honoured that you helped us get this far.
From all of us at REV, and from the best, warmest, and proudest part of our hearts, thank you so much. We’re looking forward to spending year 3 with you!
If you want to come and celebrate with us, we’ll be having a casual picnic at Beacon Hill Park on July 5, from 3:30 – 6 PM. Everybody is welcome! If you’d like, you can bring some snacks or drinks to share.
Hope to see you there!