Happy San Juan everyone!
To celebrate, we are looking at some of the traditions of this great festival. What is your favourite part of San Juan?
Midsummer has always been an important night in northern cultures. It’s the beginning of the softer months when people are looking forward to enjoying themselves after the difficulties of the winter. When Christianity spread, midsummer became the night of Saint John or Sant Juan in Spain. Many of the themes of pre-christian celebrations were adopted into the present day celebrations.
In many countries, people light bonfires, often at the edge of land and water such as on the shore of a lake or on a beach. When the bonfire dies down later in the night, people jump over the embers. Some do it for luck, some couples as romantic gesture and some to protect themselves from devils. In the modern world, the celebration with fire has evolved into firework displays.
Cleansing yourself in water is also traditional. Many people swim in the lakes or sea. In Galicia people soak flowers or herbs in water overnight. In the morning they wash themselves in the water. In many cultures women throw flower garlands into rivers or lakes.
Seeing the future
In some cultures young people would try to divine the person who they would marry. Girls would put flowers under their pillow to help them dream of their future husband. Similarly, by looking into a pond or lake at night a person could see the face of their future partner.
What is your favourite midsummer ritual?
One of our students Alex recently went to the U.K for a one week English course. Here he has written a great report on his experience. He is also very honest about what he liked and did not like.
His teacher Lisa is very happy with how much Alex’s English has improved after his visit to the U.K.
Going to an English speaking country is a great way to improve your English this summer. It gives you the opportunity to practise all the things that you have learnt over the year and to hear how native speakers talk. However going abroad can be expensive. With the cost of flights, accommodation and the price of a cheap English course, expect to pay at least 700-800 euros.
Luckily there are some high-quality English Summer Intensives available in Barcelona. If you would like more information about Get English’s Summer Intensive courses, call M: 658 644 666.
A week in England
This past March I went to England for an exchange through my school. I stayed in Oxted, a really small village, for one week. I was there because the family that I stayed with lives there. It was a little bit expensive but it was really useful for me because I learnt a lot. I didn’t really care if the family was boring or not or if I did a lot of things with them because the most important thing for me was to practice my English and my pronunciation. I think the best thing was that I improved my speaking a lot, because I had to communicate with English people. They spoke very fast and if I didn’t pronounce words well they might not understand me.
Also, we could practice speaking with random people when we went on trips with our Spanish school group. We went to visit London, which was very beautiful. There we saw the most famous and historical places like the British Museum and Big Ben. We also visited the rustic part of England and Brighton too. In Brighton we visited Brighton Pier. I think that the greatest thing was making new friends from another country.
Our new friends and their lives were a bit different from ours. In the houses they had carpet on the floor and another type of outlet. They all lived in houses because they didn’t have any kind of apartment buildings. Their timetables were very different from ours. For example, they went to sleep earlier than we do, and they had other meal times. I think that the most impressive thing to me was that they drove on the right. England is also in the EU but they have another kind of money. In England there is very bad weather in comparison with the Mediterranean. In the end it was a really nice experience and if the school offers another trip like that I will go.