Tuesday, 23 April 2013

English Language Day

United Nations


English, along with French, is one of the two working languages of the United Nations Secretariat, and one of the Organization's six official and working languages. Because it is so widely spoken, English is often referred to as a "world language", or the lingua franca of the modern era. English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on 23 April, the date traditionally observed as the birthday of William Shakespeare. The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization's six official languages. The purpose of the UN's language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization. Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization's six official languages. Language Days at the UN aim to entertain as well as inform, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community.

Source: United Nations Web Page

Clara Ruiz Estela

Monday, 15 April 2013

Titanic's 101 Anniversary

On April 10th, 1912, the Titanic, the biggest and most luxurious ship ever built in history, sailed for New York, from the port of Southampton, in what was meant to be its maiden voyage. A few days later, on the early hours of April 15th, the ship went down into the Atlantic Ocean due to an iceberg collision. More than 1500 people perished in the water after its sinking, and only a few fortunates (aprox 700 people) survived thanks to the few lifeboats that the transatlantic carried.

Some of these survivors were interviewed on television in the 1970s, as it is shown in the following clip:

In 1985, over 70 years after the tragedy, the remains of the wrecked ship were found in the depths of the ocean by a French-American expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel of IFREMER and Dr Robert Ballard of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The RMS Titanic company gained full rights for the protection and preservation of the remains of the Titanic in 1994.

On its 100th anniversary, last year, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced that he intended to build an exact replica of the ship, named "Titanic II", that would sail, at the latest, on 2016.

[Source: Wikipedia.org]

Monday, 1 April 2013

April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day (April 1) is a "holiday" celebrated in many english-speaking countries in the world, and it's widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes on each other.

Many possible origins have been discussed throughout the years, some of them are as follow:
  • In Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392), the "Nun's Priest's Tale" is set "Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two". It is believed to be a copying error, the right transcription being, "Syn March was gon". Thus, the passage originally meant 32 days after April, i.e. May 2. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean "March 32", i.e. April 1.
  • In 1508, French poet Eloy d'Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally "April fish"), a possible reference to the holiday.
  • In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on April 1. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as "Fooles holy day", the first British reference.
  • On April 1, 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed".

However, the most plausible one took place during the ruling of Charles IX of France (1550 - 1574).

During the Middle Ages, all through France and many other European towns, the New Year was celebrated on March 25. In some places of France, the festivity lasted for one week, thus ending on the 1st of April. In 1564, it was decreed that New Year's Day should be moved to January 1st, following the calendar of Pope Gregory XIII, however most of the french colonies in the United States kept on celebrating the festivity from March 25 to April 1.

By the 18th century, people following the Gregorian calendar made fun of those who celebrated the New Year during the first week of Spring, and considered them to be "fools". Afterwards, to avoid being ridiculized and treated as fools, people decided to turn the day into a "mocking day", and thus was born the tradition of making jokes on the first day of April.

[Source: Wikipedia.org]