Wednesday, December 05, 2018 / Published in Community, Learning English

Brrrr…. Do you feel cold? I do! Victoria is currently having a cold snap. This means a sudden drop in temperature. The weather forecast says that it is going to be clear and cold until Friday. After that, we will return to our usual cloudy and rainy winter weather. https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/bc-85_metric_e.html

Have you noticed that the school is a little chilly? How about other public buildings? There is a reason for that. Many buildings in Victoria are heated using natural gas. In October, there was an explosion in a natural gas pipeline in BC. The pipeline is fixed now, but the company can’t provide as much gas as usual. As a result, they have asked businesses and homes in BC to turn down their thermostats (reduce the temperature inside) to save gas. You can read more about this story here: https://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/natural-gas-shortage-could-last-all-winter-households-urged-to-conserve-1.23497101

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018 / Published in Holidays

BOO!

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!

DRESSING UP

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.

TRICK-OR-TREATING

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.

PUMPKIN CARVING

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.

GHOST STORIES

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!