“Vancouver is like a port” Nicolo

Nicolo is an Italian student that came one month to learn English in Canada. Here you can get an idea about this experience in EC Vancouver. Vancouver is like a port in which you can find people, cultures, religions, experiences from all over the world. This is the reason that I chose Vancouver. Thanks to EC Vancouver, I’m enjoying this experience more than I could have imagined. EC teachers and staff are always available to help you and, with their suggestions, I’m improving my English.

Different ways cultures celebrate Halloween

The fact that Halloween is celebrated on October 31 is known by almost everybody all over the globe, but do you know how different this celebration is depending on the country? Here you can read a little about these unknown differences: Some Austrians leave bread, water and a light on the table before going to sleep on Halloween night. Belgians believe it is unlucky for a black cat to enter in your house or travel on a ship. The tradition for Belgians and most European people is to light a candle in memory of the dead loved ones. Canadians celebrate Halloween carving pumpkins and playing trick or treating. Chinese celebrate “Teng Chieh”, they place food and water in front of photographs of dead relatives while lighting some lanterns to illuminate the way of the spirits as they come to the living world. In Czechoslovakia, chairs are placed in front of the fire place, one chair for each living and dead member of the family. Mexican known this holiday as “El dia de los muertos” and it is a happy day for them. It is a time to remember family and friends who have died. They create an altar in their homes and decorate it with flowers, drinks, photographs and a colourful painted skull that symbolizes that Mexican are not afraid of death. Actually, this celebration is to literally laugh at death. Germans put away their knives, they do not want to get harmed by the spirits returned from the dead world. Spanish always light a candle to honor their dead relatives and decorate their graves with flowers. It is family time, not a big celebration as it is in Canada. === Have a look at our IELTS courses in Vancouver and experience yourself a real Canadian Halloween.

Some curiosities about Halloween

October 31 is well known all over the world as the day of the dead. Halloween is an ancient Celtic myth brought to Canada by European immigrants several years ago.  But it really was a festival to celebrate the end of the harvest. Here you can find some curiosities about Halloween that will help you to better understand this celebration. Why apples are always present in Halloween?  Because the Celtics used to honour the Roman goddess called Pomona, the goodness of trees and fruit. Her symbol was an apple, and since this festival initially was to celebrate the end of the harvest, the apple remained as a symbol of Halloween. Why Canadians do pumpkin carving? This tradition started in Ireland, where a men called Jack was well known to play tricks with the evil. It is said that when he died God did not allow him to enter in heaven, nor did the devil allow him into hell. He was punished to live in eternal night, so he made a torch out of a hollowed out turnip to illuminate his way. This is why Jack is now called “the lantern guy” and why Canadians use pumpkins for Halloween since 1800 -Pumpkins were much easier to carve than turnips-. Why are spiders present in Halloween? You may think that spiders are creepy but not in Halloween! As per the myth says, spotting a spider on October 31 means that a loved one is watching over you so be careful and do not step on it! ==== Come to learn English in Canada and join us for our annual pumpkin carving contest!

The origins of Halloween

Halloween is the only night of the year that spirits can come from the underworld to the world of living, at least this is what the oldest Celtics believed! This myth has its origins in pre-Christian times in Ireland, it was an ancient Celtic festival where farmers celebrated the end of the harvest and the start of the long winter. This event was celebrated on October 31, the day they believed dead and living worlds were very close. People started to dress up as ghosts to go unnoticed, they hoped that this would confuse the spirits. However, ghost left some messages to all these people. It is said that unmarried girls received a clue of the professions of their future husbands. This was brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants, and nowadays is a popular celebration in several countries, each year more and more countries add this characteristic holiday to their calendar. === Bring your costume to Vancouver to celebrate a frightened Halloween! Learn English in Canada in one of the best cities!

Why Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has been an annual holiday in Canada for almost 150 years, and it is always celebrated the second Monday of October. It is known as “Turkey day” since that is the main course for dinner that day. Would you believe that Canada was the first country to celebrate this holiday? The origins of this holiday dates back to 1578, when an explorer called Martin Frobisher celebrated Thanksgiving for first time during an expedition through the Antarctic. A little bit later, once the Seven Days war was over – 1763-, the celebration started to be popular in Canada, especially in Nova Scotia. But it wasn’t until 1879 that it became a statutory holiday in Canada. As it always takes place on Mondays, Canadians take advantage of the long weekend to share some time with their family and, of course, prepare the traditional baked turkey. But this is not all, football is also a tradition during these dates, so much so that there is a special Thanksgiving Day Classic every year held by the Canadian Football League. However, unlike American, Canadians Thanksgiving is not a shopping holiday. In fact, most of the stores are closed during this weekend and just a few ones have adopted the American sales tradition known as “Black Friday” where everybody goes out to get the best deal once a year. === Thinking about learning English in Canada? Check out our Business English courses in Vancouver.