Toasting Robert Burns

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 21 January 2022 > Celebrate

Not many countries have an annual celebration of their national poet. In fact not all countries have a national poet. But Scotland does and millions of people around the world celebrate him on Burns Night every 25 January. The adoption of Robert Burns (1759-1796) as national poet was a natural, organic process born or real … Continue reading “Toasting Robert Burns”

Do You Know About… Christmas Crackers?

Posted by Speakeasy News > Monday 20 December 2021 > Celebrate

Christmas crackers are such an integral part of British Christmas dinner celebrations but do you know how they were invented? Hint: there’s a French connection. Enjoy our animated slideshow with your students from A2.

Why Black Friday?

Posted by Speakeasy News > Tuesday 23 November 2021 > Celebrate

As Black Friday approaches, we wonder why a specifically American date in the commercial calendar has taken over first the internet and now high-street shops around the world. Black Friday is the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November. It’s a long weekend and approximately a month before Christmas. … Continue reading “Why Black Friday?”

A Native American View of Thanksgiving

Posted by Speakeasy News > Sunday 21 November 2021 > Celebrate

Today, there is growing awareness that the “Thanksgiving story” told to young schoolchildren in the U.S.A., which provides much of the traditional imagery of the holiday, is just that: a story. Many Native Americans denounce the hypocrisy of portraying this origin story of the nation as a peaceful and cooperative meeting of peoples, when in … Continue reading “A Native American View of Thanksgiving”

Josephine Baker Enters the Panthéon

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 18 November 2021 > Celebrate

On 30 November, Josephine Baker will become the sixth woman, and the first black woman, to enter France’s Panthéon, where the country honours its greatest heroes. The Franco-American dancer and singer was an active member of the Resistance in WWII and civil-rights activist in the U.S. Freda Josephine McDonald was born into poverty in St … Continue reading “Josephine Baker Enters the Panthéon”

Guy Fawkes: Man in a Mask

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 28 October 2021 > Celebrate

November 5, or Guy Fawkes Night, is when British people remember the failed “Gunpowder Plot” to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. Every November, British people light bonfires and set off fireworks to remember the day when the Houses of Parliament, and King James I, were almost blown up by terrorists. In a … Continue reading “Guy Fawkes: Man in a Mask”

Poppy Day

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 28 October 2021 > Celebrate

Any image of people in the UK, Canada and Australia in November is likely to include some who are wearing a red paper poppy in their lapel. The Poppy Appeal for war veterans in the run-up to Remembrance Day began in the aftermath of World War I. Today, as the British and Commonwealth armies commemorate … Continue reading “Poppy Day”

Trick or Treat to Do Good

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 27 October 2021 > Celebrate

Halloween is an important fundraiser for UNICEF U.S.A. Trick or Treat for UNICEF was started in 1947 and 31 October was declared UNICEF Day by President Lyndon B. Johnson 20 years later. It allows kids “put some meaning in their Halloweening” by collecting money for the United Nations Childrens’ Fund.  The campaign was started by … Continue reading “Trick or Treat to Do Good”

Sir Walter Scott at 250

Posted by Speakeasy News > Monday 18 October 2021 > Celebrate

The father of the historical novel, author of Ivanhoe and the romanticised image of Scottish history portrayed in the Waverley novels, and a collector and preserver of ballads from the oral tradition, Sir Walter Scott was one major figures of Victorian Britain. This year, Scotland celebrates the 250th anniversary of his birth. Scott was born … Continue reading “Sir Walter Scott at 250”