What is the theme of the Teachers Day celebration?

Teaching is one of the noblest professions And a teacher is the biggest cheerleader of a shutent But teaching is also a thankless job. This Teachers Day lets read up on a few ways to make your teachers feel appreciated and values.

Celebrate Teachers Day

This may seem like the most obvious of all the things you ou do to make a teacher feel appreciated Indeed, how else to appreciate teachers than celebrating them? Teachers Day falls on September 5 So go ahead and make them feel special on this day You can write a note, make a cant make a speech, or even hold a small activity where you can share how your teacher has made an impact on your life. A heartfelt thank you will be sufficient for the teachers. Throwing such a surprise celebratory event is sure to make your teacher feel highly appreciated and valued. PHOTO R. RAGU/THE HINDU

Form study groups

Ever thought of helping out your peers? A teacher cannot always give attention to all the children in the class equally. Remember that theorem the maths teacher taught that you could quickly grasp but which turned out to be a tough nut to crack for most of the students? How about helping out the students and teaching them instead of waiting for the teacher to explain it again in the next class? You can easily form a study group and either use a free penod or vase the break to teach the students. If you are academically good, you can also form a study group to help the students who fair poorly in their academics. This will be beneficial for the students as well as the teacher and is one way to help your teacher. By teaching a concept you will also get thorough with it. This is because you have to fully understand something to be able to explain it to someone else. PHOTO: RAD GN

Say Thank You

We often undermine the power of a simple Thank You A heartfelt thank you is sometimes enough to warm the cockles of the heart of another person. So go ahead and say thank you to the teacher. You can share how much you appreciate them by either writing a letter, using a hand-drawn picture or just walking up to them and saying thank you Any small gesture will be appreciated by them. PHOTO: A.M. FARUQUI

Talk proudly about them Every individual needs praise. This helps them know that whatever they are doing is appreciated. While teachers may not necessarily need reassurance and validation, having chosen one of the thankless yet wholly satisfying professions themselves, it will definitely make a difference if you can make them feel appreciated. Talk about your teachers to your parents, friends, and even their parents. Praise their efforts and complement them wherever you can.


Everyone can use a little bit of help. And this includes teachers as well. Be ready to volunteer whenever some extra activity comes up in class. For instance, if there is an activity happening in the class where you can pitch in with your services, make sure you offer to volunteer. It may be as simple as rearranging the desks or washing the beakers in the lab or as taxing as helping with the organising of class programmes. In short, be helpful in class and the extra effort will definitely be appreciated by the teacher.

Be attentive in class

Nothing will make a teacher feel appreciated than a student who is highly attentive and responsive in class. Be a good student and always ask questions if you don't understand something.

Participating in class means that you are taking extra effort to focus on the topic being taught. Further, you will also have fewer chances of getting distracted or missing out on any topic on account of sitting farther from the chalkboard. Being attentive in class ensures that you understand concepts well and a teacher will surely feel appreciated seeing a class packed with students eager to learn.

Become a good, successful individual

 One of the most heart warming things for a teacher is to see their stulent coming out with flying colours not only during exams but in life as well. That's the biggest and loudest thank you any student can ever offer to a teacher. So go ahead, be attentive in class, do your best at academics. be good at extracurriculars, and become a goodl human being. Make sure you are consistent, and put in the time and effort to bring: your best self out at eams, extra-curricular, and even otherwise PHOTO ANI PHOTO/SANJAY SHARMA

Be up to date with homework and classwork

Students who finish their homework and assignments on time and who are always ready by bringing specific textbooks or workbooks to class is the dream of any teacher. If you finish all your homework on time, as stipulated by the teacher, not only does it benefit you by being academically up to date with what is being taught in the class but it ensures that you are prepared for the class and eventually, the exams. Further, it also helps the teacher as precious time gets wasted when children come unprepared for the classes. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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Why was the 18th of July chosen as Mandela Day?

18 July, also known as Nelson Mandela Day, the U.N. and the Nelson Mandela Foundation encourage people around the world to devote 67 minutes of their time one minute for every year of Mandela's public service towards helping others; a small gesture of solidarity with humanity and a step towards a global movement for good. As the great man himself says, "We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference."

Nelson Mandela International Day shines a light every year on the legacy of a man whose monumental achievements changed the 20th century and shaped the 21st. His values and determination — a deep commitment to human rights, freedom, and justice — are reflected on, and are a source of inspiration for others. Mandela advocated for the rightful dignity and equality of every living person, and encouraged engagement and solidarity across all borders. His relentless pursuit for equality was paralleled with his status as the founding father of peace in South Africa. 

Nelson Mandela remains a symbol of power by resisting oppression. In times of turbulence, Mandela’s legacy teaches everyone to choose dignity over humiliation, speak up during injustice, and forgive rather than hate. He once said, “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” In 2014, the Nelson Mandela Prize was established by the UN General Assembly — an award recognizing the achievements of those who went far and beyond to serve humanity. 

Credit : National Today

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What is the history of International Women’s Day?

March 8 is celebrated as International Women's Day. Did you know that the origin of this historic day is one of the most powerful stories on women's tenacity?  

We live in the 21st Century. But get ready for some time-travel since we will be going to the previous century and even beyond. Today, when elections are held, women queuing up at polling booths is a common sight. But this wasn't the norm always. Till the 19th Century, the world over, women were not allowed to vote. (In fact, in several parts of the world. for centuries, women were barred even from studying or taking up certain kinds of professions.) Before that, a handful of regions allowed women to vote, under very specific conditions. Even among those few regions, some of them snatched back that right from women over the years. Gradually though, after the 1850s, things began to change, and women's suffrage was becoming a reality.

What is women's suffrage?

 Suffrage is the right to vote in elections, and so, women's suffrage refers to women having that right. In a landmark move in 1893, New Zealand became the first self-governing country globally where women had the right to vote in parliamentary elections. And that came about only after years of effort from women. By the beginning of the 20th Century, Australia followed suit. Even during World War I, the likes of Britain and the U.S. still did not have women's suffrage. Women decided it won't do, and being who they are, aware, strong, and resilient - they refused to cow down to the intimidation they faced for demanding voting rights.

Standing together

During the beginning of the 20th - Century, women decide they've had enough of not just the lack of voting rights but also of the general unfair treatment meted out to them. In 1908, thousands of women in the U.S. march "through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights". The following year, the National Woman's Day in the U.S. is celebrated on February 28 (and on the last Sunday of February for the next few years). Clearly, the suppression of women is confined to not just one region, and so the fight for equality slowly finds resonance in places far and wide, sparking women's marches over the next few years. In 1910, during the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, German feminist Clara Zetkin proposes each year that all the countries earmark the same day - a Women's Day - for women to press for their demands. The conference, with over 100 women from 17 countries and various walks of life, offers its unanimous approval for the suggestion, and the International Women's Day is born. Over the next few decades, among other rights, women win the right to vote and contest in elections in most parts of the world.

Why March 8?

During the course of World War I (from 1914 to 1918), thousands of women in Russia gather to underscore the need for global compassion and peace, and to condemn the mindless deaths of millions of soldiers in the ongoing war. On February 23 (the last Sunday of the month), 1917, Russian women start a massive strike over the death of soldiers, and in four days, bring the Czar (Russian ruler) down while winning the right to vote. The date was February 23 on the Julian calendar used by Russia. On the Gregorian calendar, more commonly followed everywhere else, that historic day was March 8!


While the International Women's Day certainly turned the spotlight on several issues women face globally, the fight against inequality and suppression continues to this day. Though many of the advertisements and events during the run up to the day will have you believe that it is all about just celebrating women for a day, in reality the day is a recurring reminder of women's collective strength, courage, achievements, and power. It is also an implicit reminder that there will be no need for this fight or struggle if we create an equitable society.


Created every morning (and sometimes evening too) by women for many centuries now, this threshold ritual takes shape to wish for the household's wealth and prosperity. But it is more than just that. Traditionally, the kolams have been created with dry rice powder or wet rice flour. Intricate patterns emerge, as if magically, through a sequence of lines and dots with rice powder flowing down gently between the fingers. For a dash of colour, wet red soil is used as border. Rice powder is used since it feeds the many insects and birds that cross the threshold. There are other styles of wall and floor art-such as rangoli, aripana, mandana, etc- created by women in different regions. But there are hardly any like the kolams that disappear every day only to be born again the next morning. Though the kolam patterns and the powders used are changing today, neither its creativity nor complexity is. Which explains its versatility, since you can find them on everything from bags to cushion covers!


This is a floor and wall art tradition nurtured by generations of women in west and central India. But nowhere does the splendour of this art form come alive as gloriously as in the villages of the Meena tribe in Rajasthan. Mandana art is created during special events and festivals, especially Deepavali. Through simple shapes and dots, wall and floors are covered in animal and plant motifs and decorative designs. The preparation of the surface is as elaborate as the patterns themselves since they are cured using clay and cow dung. The designs themselves are coaxed out of bright white chalk and red clay that stand out dramatically against brown walls. Unlike kolams, mandana creations last longer. But they are just as imaginative, complex and compelling. Mandana art also forges a deep connection among the women in the community since they all work together work on their creations, especially the larger ones.

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What is the Beating the Retreat ceremony all about?

Martial music tunes and patriotic renditions marked this year's Beating the Retreat ceremony recently held in Delhi. But what is the Beating the Retreat ceremony all about? When is it performed? What is its significance?

When is it performed?

The Beating the Retreat ceremony is performed on January 29 every year at Vijay Chowk in New Delhi, against the backdrop of the majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India. It marks the culmination of the week-long Republic Day celebrations which this year began on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. You all are probably aware that Republic Day is celebrated on January 26 every year to commemorate the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950, when a grand parade is held in the national capital New Delhi.

Coming back to the ceremony, it gets its name from a centuries-old tradition of troops withdrawing from the battlefield at buglers sounding the retreat at sunset. As soon as the retreat was sounded, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms and withdrew from the battlefield. The military tradition began in 17th Century England, when King James II ordered his troops to beat drums, lower flags, and organise a parade to announce the end of a day of combat. The Beating the Retreat ceremony in India traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army indigenously developed the unique ceremony of display by the armed forces and their bands comprising drums, pipes, and trumpets. The Beating Retreat ceremony is still being performed by the armed forces in the U.K., the US, Canada and India among others.

The President of India, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, is the chief guest at the ceremony and he is escorted by the President's Bodyguard, a mounted regiment of the Indian Army. Bands of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Central Armed Police Forces together perform various drill movements and form beautiful patterns. As soon as the bugle sounds the retreat, all flags are lowered, the marching bands move away, and the whole Vijay Chowk square lights up in a spectacular display.

What was new this year?

This year, the ceremony included for the first time in India's history a laser show and drone formations. The ceremony was conducted on a grand scale to celebrate the country's 75th year of Independence in 2022. As the sky turned dark, the laser show projected on the walls of the North and South Blocks at Raisina Hill traced the history of the country's freedom struggle, and its journey post independence, accompanied by I narration. The drone show, comprising 1,000 made-in-India drones, was captivating from the word go and the formations on the sky included the globe, the map of India, Mahatma Gandhi's image and the "75 Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav" alongside the tricolour with synchronised music playing in the background. The 10-minute drone show was put together by a startup Botlab Dynamics with the support of IIT Delhi.

As many as 26 tunes, including "Amar Chattan", "Hind Ki Sena", and "Sare Jahan se Achcha" were played at the ceremony. However, the song "Abide With Me" which had been part of the ceremony since 1950, was dropped this year. According to reports, the Government felt playing more Indian tunes would be appropriate with the country celebrating 75th year of its Independence this year. The hymn was replaced with Kavi Pradeep's "Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon", which was written to commemorate the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country during the India-China war of 1962.

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Which are the fun games that can be played on Christmas Eve?

Guess the Christmas spoilers

This interesting and fun game can be played on Christmas eve with your friends online. A little prepping is required b start the game.

Prep work

First contact your friends and note down the names and the number of people participating in the game. Once you have the details, decide on their roles. If there are 10 people playing, you c assign four people as naughty kids and six others as ever. Decide on the number of rounds and assign different roles for each person for each round.

Game rules

Once everyone logs in, send them their roles before each round in private chat. The whole group of friends playing will be called the Merry Christmas group. Then, start the round. The Merry Christmas group discusses on the group chat for five minutes to identify the naughty kids. As names come up during the discussion, players can defend themselves and accuse others irrespective of whether they are an elf or a naughty kid to keep the game suspenseful. At the end of five minutes, the group has to unanimously name the naughty kids. If a naughty kid is identified, he or she is eliminated from the round. The Merry Christmas group then proceeds to identify the other naughty kids. You can play as many rounds as you like until all the naughty and modify the game according to the number of players.

Unscramble and draw

This fast-paced game tests your vocabulary as well as drawing skills. A little prep is required to start playing this game.

Prep work

Create chits of the letters of the English alphabet. Remember to feature each letter multiple times. Next, get your hands on some notepads and pencils and a timer. You could use your cell phone timer as well. And you are set.

Game rules

This game can be played by two or more players. The rules are simple. One player from team one picks up six chits. Once he picks up the chits, the time starts. Set the timer to two minutes. After picking the chits, he needs to decide on a word that he will draw and show to his teammate. This word should have been created from a few or all of the letters in the chits. His teammate now tries to guess that word. If she successfully guesses the word within two minutes, team one wins, earns a point and gets to play again. If not, the turn shifts to team two. If team one guesses the word, the opponent team can check the chits picked by player one and see if the word uses some or all of the letters he picked.

You can make this game more interesting by increasing or decreasing the number of chits picked as well as changing the time limit. You could also make it Christmas themed and give teams extra points if they form draw and guess a Christmas-related word.

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Which are some special traditions for New Year?

When spaghetti meets money

Italian Americans have a tradition of seasoning their spaghetti with the most unusual condiment. The oldest woman in the family stirs the tomato gravy and spaghetti along with a healthy dose of dollar bills contributed by different members of the family! Those who have earned well or received a nice raise are expected to sprinkle high denomination bills generously so that the luck spreads to others when the spaghetti gets served with the money! Three guesses for the toast... "You have to eat money to make money!"

God loves spicy salsa

In rural Mexico, farmers carry out an old Aztec tradition to please their god of harvest, XocotlHuetzi. The ancient Aztecs strongly believed that the god of harvest was fond of spice. What better way to show love and respect to the god of harvest than to dig a hole in the fields and fill it up with some nice, spicy salsa? If the crops failed even after that, the farmers deduce that it's because the salsa was too spicy or probably not spicy enough.

Sweet revenge

Do you wish to teach someone who's been particularly rude or obnoxious a lesson? Eastern Europeans have just the right thing to do. Take the oldest, sweatiest sneaker or shoe, fill it up with honey and leave it at their doorstep! The symbolism of replacing the stinky nature with some sweetness is assumed to be enough to fill the person with remorse. The person is supposed to use that honey to bake a cake and leave it by the windowsill as a sign of forgiveness!

Give your wish some wings

In Japan, there is a beautiful tradition wherein children write down their wishes on lanterns and let them float up into the night sky. Desires are also carved on yams or radishes and planted in the ground to teach an important lesson about not forgetting one's roots and the importance of humility.

It's confetti time

In Argentina, when you have loads of old documents and paper at home, New Year's Day is the time to make creative use of them. People get busy shredding the paper into thin strips to use as confetti for throwing from their windows.

Onion meteorology

In Romania, there is an interesting tradition on New Year, also called St Vasile's Day. Farmers like to predict how the year's climate conditions would be with the help of onions! You heard that right. Twelve onions are chosen, peeled and salted. Then the experts observe the level of salty liquid left behind and the skins of onions to make predictions for the year ahead.

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What are the unique things about the Christmas?

Straw goat on Christmas Eve – a burning question

In 1966, a straw goat was erected in the town square and it happened to get burned down at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve. Ever year after that, the straw goat was built and vandals tried to burn it. The vandals succeeded 25 times between 1966 and 2011! This has become such an interesting part of the Christmas celebrations that people actually bet on whether or not the goat would get burnt that year!

Cobwebs and Christmas

In Ukraine, a fancy Christmas tree is not one decorated with bright ornaments but with cobwebs and spiders! Though they're only artificial spiders, one wonders about the eccentric taste. The story goes that a very long time ago, a poor woman had nothing to decorate her tree with; the next morning, she found the tree covered with cobwebs and when sunlight touched them, they turned into gold and silver threads!

Stocking tradition different version

We all know about kids leaving stockings for Santa to fill with gifts, but in the Philippines, kids leave new or well-polished shoes by the windowsill or door around the time of Feast of the Three Kings for treats. Occasionally, some grass and water are also left as an offering for the camels.

Santa's postal pincode

Gone are the days when it wasn't clear where exactly Santa lived. The North Pole? No, just a little farther down. Santa now has an official postal code - HOHOHO. And that's in Canada. The 'elves' at Canada Post have been kind enough to respond to millions of mails sent to Santa that somehow bypassed the parents. They not only write back in different languages but even in Braille!

A Christmas cake like no other

The Philippines has so many unique and interesting customs different from those practised in the West. For instance, we are so used to seeing plum cakes and the regular kind we bake or buy, right? In Ilocano, the cake is cylindrical, two feet long and two inches in diameter! That's because it is baked inside a long bamboo pole after stuffing it with fragrant rice, sugar and coconut milk.

Attending Mass in style

In Carcas, the capital of Venezuela, people don't walk or drive to church for the midnight Mass they skate instead! And to accommodate this eccentric but fun custom, the city closes all traffic until 8 in the morning. Bells are rung and firecrackers burst to wake people up in time for the Mass.

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Why Icelanders Spend Every Christmas Eve Reading Books and Drinking Cocoa

Icelanders gift books to each other on Christmas Eve as part of a tradition called Jolabokaflod or "The Christmas Book Flood". They spend the rest of the night reading them and drinking hot chocolate. The majority of books in Iceland are sold between September and December in preparation for Christmas giving. Jolabokaflod started during World War II when Icelanders gave books as gifts while other commodities were in short supply, turning them into a country of bookaholics to this day. Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country; 50 per cent of Icelanders read more than eight books a year and 93 per cent read at least one.

"The culture of giving books as presents is very deeply rooted in how families perceive Christmas as a holiday," Kristjan B. Jonasson, president of the Iceland Publishers Association, told NPR. "Normally, we give the presents on the night of the 24th and people spend the night reading. In many ways, it's the backbone of the publishing sector here in Iceland."

Ever since 1944, the Icelandic book trade has sent out a book bulletin to each household in the middle of November when the Reykjavik Book Fair happens. People use this catalogue to order books to give to their friends and family on Christmas Eve, the main gift-giving day in Iceland. After all the presents are open, everyone grabs a cup of hot chocolate and cozies up to spend the rest of the evening reading their books.

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What people in different countries do to catch attention of their loved ones?

Good old chocolates tell it all...

In Japan, women get busy stocking up on chocolates, because it's on Valentine's Day that she goes around gifting chocolates to her boss, co-workers, male friends but especially someone she is romantically interested in. The man has exactly a month to come, up with the perfect return gift to be given to the woman on March 14, also called White Day!

Guess who I am?

And then there are men who like to complicate things a little bit to add spice to the whole thing! In a quirky tradition, men send anonymous love notes to the women they love and paste a pressed flower for extra effect. Of course it doesn't make sense at all if the women can't guess who it is from, so they leave a clue - dots on the notes, corresponding to the number of letters in their names. We assume women are left fervently counting and writing down their guesses. If they do guess their secret admirer correctly, they get an Easter egg as a prize on Easter!

Handsome dreams

Bay leaves aren't just flavour enhancers; they're useful dream generators, too! In England, a woman would sleep with five bay leaves in each corner of the pillow and the centre in the hope that it would reveal her true love! It remains a suspense what would happen when she does approach her dream man and tell him he's been chosen for her!

A bus for singles...

In Finland and Estonia, Valentine's Day is more of a 'Friend's Day' where people expressed their love and appreciation to true friends, not lovers. However, all isn't lost. There's still an option to board a 'love bus' that gives single men and women the chance to find matches there.

Noodles speak!

Talk about whiners, single men and women symbolically silently complain how bitter it is to be single by eating a bowl of black noodles. There's no harm in stuffing up on some extra carbs while you're worrying about your 'single' status, making this a sensible tradition.

Spooning some love

Welsh men think differently why go for cards and hearts when you can express your love with a spoon? For years, Welsh men have hand-crafted spoons to present to the ladies they wish to marry. The spoons had symbolic elements for instance, keys represented a man's heart while wheels represented hard work and the number of beads signified all the offspring he'd like to have!

A romantic pilgrimage

Many Poles make a romantic pilgrimage to the city of Chelmno, a small town along the Ner River to admire the relics of St Valentine. It is believed that a visit to this town would guarantee a happy marriage and of course, a happy shopping experience considering all the things sold here around this time of year!

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Which are the unbelievable festivals across the world?

Let the monkeys rejoice!

If you visit Lopburi in Thailand on November 25, chances are that a monkey might smirk at you if you offer just a banana or peanuts! They have their own buffet course during the Monkey Buffet Festival, with several kilos of choice fruits and vegetables to feast upon. Imagine the sight - 3000 monkeys helping themselves to food near the temples in Lopburi, Bangkok. Visitors admire the sight with one hand on their pockets and another holding their bags safe after all it is monkey territory! The idea behind this festival is that the monkeys bring in good luck and also tourists.

Dive fearlessly for a good crop

What would you do to ensure a good crop if you happened to have a yam field? Pray? Do somersaults? Stand on your head? In Vanuatu, the men are much braver. They dive down from a wooden tower with only two vines tied to their ankles to save them from a nasty fall. Not surprisingly, accidents are common because vines are after all vines, and they tend to break. While the men "pray" for their crops, their families probably pray for their safety.

Crying is winning

Know a cry baby? Hey, the sumos in Japan might be interested in having them as partners. The Konaki Sumo Festival is unique among festivals for hailing cry babies. It involves two sumos holding a baby each facing each other, waiting for the first baby to cry! The first to set the waterworks on is the winner. And the priest, who is also the referee, helps as best as he could, screaming and encouraging the babies to cry out!

Fight it out

In Bali, during the Usaba Sambah Festival, the girls ride on Ferris wheels and boys fight. What's the big deal? Well, the unmarried girls seat themselves on the Ferris wheel that is turned on and on for hours while they watch the boys fight each other with thorny pandanus leaves. Ouch! That hurts, but hey the girls are watching, right? Each player is given a woven bamboo shield for protection, but they are usually thrown away because they're too uncool.

Roll cheese!

Men in England might not want to dive with vines around their ankles, but they are more than willing to race down a steep hill chasing after a small block of rolling cheese! What do they get? The person who outruns the cheese to the finish line wins the block of cheese as reward. Few others win a trip to the emergency room.

The glory of mud

If you wince at the sight of a small splotch of mud on your T-shirt, what would you say about the Boryeong Mud Festival? Everybody who likes to be one with Mother Earth flock to South Korea and indulge in splashing mud at each other and themselves. The other entertainment reasonably revolves around mud itself-mud massage, mud cosmetics and mud photo contest. If you're wondering how girls brave it all, the mud is supposed to be packed with minerals so that's like a free, healthy mud facial!

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What are important symbols of Christmas?

Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is both a religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing Christmas with rich traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church services, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive!

Many of the symbols associated with Christmas have a special meaning. C. JOSEPH looks at some of the symbols that evoke the magic of the Christmas Season.

Christmas tree

A Christmas tree is usually an evergreen conifer, such as a fir, spruce, pine, or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas. The tradition of the Christmas tree originated in Germany in the 16th century.

Christmas crib

The Christmas crib represents the scene on the night Jesus was born. It is referred to as the Nativity Scene or Manger Scene. The crib exhibits figures that represent the Infant Jesus, his mother, Mary, and her husband, Joseph. Various other figures like the shepherds, the three Wise Men, the donkey, sheep, cows, etc., are also part of the crib.


The Christmas star symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem, which according to the Biblical story guided the Three Kings or Wise Men to the baby Jesus. The star is also the heavenly sign of a prophecy fulfilled long ago and the shining hope for humanity.


Bells are rung during Christmas to proclaim the arrival of the Season and to announce the birth of Jesus. The ringing of bells can also be traced back to pagan winter celebrations when they were used to drive out evil spirits.


The wreath is a circular, never ending symbol of eternal love and rebirth. Holly leaves and branches also stand for immortality, and cedar for strength. Today, the wreath symbolizes generosity, giving, and the gathering of family.


Candles represent the spiritual light emerging from the darkness and lighting up the surroundings. It reminds of a return to the original condition of human beings, i.e., immortal, perfect and joyful. A light inside of man was lit with Jesus' birth.


The poinsettia is one of the most iconic plants that decorates households during the holidays. The shape of the poinsettia's flower is thought to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. Its bright red leaves brighten up any room during the Season.

Christmas carols

A Christmas carol is a song on the theme of Christmas, traditionally sung at Christmas itself or during the Christmas holiday season. The term Noel is sometimes used, especially for carols of French origin. Christmas carols may be regarded as a subset of the broader category of Christmas music.

Christmas colours

The traditional colours of Christmas are pine green (evergreen), snow white and heart red. Gold and silver are also very common, as are other metallic and royal colours.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus, also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle or simply Santa, is a legendary character originating in western culture who is said to bring gifts on Christmas Eve to well behaved children, and nothing for the naughty ones!

Credit : C. Joseph (The Teenager Today)

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In the United States, some people eat turducken instead of a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving. What is this dish?

Turducken is a dish consisting of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, further stuffed into a deboned turkey. Outside of the United States and Canada, it is known as a three bird roast. Gooducken is a traditional English variant, replacing turkey with goose.

When making a turducken, begin deboning the three birds, making sure to keep the raw poultry and their juices away from other foods. There is no need to wash the poultry before deboning. Washing will only contaminate multiple surfaces and other utensils in your kitchen.

If making a turducken with stuffing, make the stuffing first, but keep the wet and dry ingredients separate until you are ready to assemble. Begin deboning the three birds, making sure to keep the raw poultry and their juices away from other foods. After deboning, mix your wet and dry stuffing ingredients together and immediately start assembling the turducken by laying the turkey down first and coating with a layer of stuffing. The duck is next, followed by a layer of stuffing and then the chicken, which is also followed by more stuffing. Be sure to pack the stuffing loosely to promote efficient heat transfer during cooking.

Do not assemble the turducken in advance and put it in the refrigerator to cook later. The turducken must be cooked immediately to avoid the spread of bacteria throughout the stuffing. 

Credit : USDA

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On May Day, children in England welcome spring by dancing around what?

Throughout the years and decades, there have been different meanings, festivities, and representations of May Day. The meaning of seasonal change has been the most significant one amongst different countries.

May Day is one of the four ancient Celtic cross-quarter days, making it an astronomical holiday as it falls between the March equinox and June solstice. Originating from its Celtic name, “Belthane,” Beltane was a spring celebration that included dancing, singing, special bonfires, and house doors and animals would be decorated with yellow May flowers and ribbons. During this time, in various communities in Ireland, people would visit special wells and the Bethane dew was believed to bring beauty and youthfulness to those around it.

In the Middle Ages, English villages had homes with maypoles from rejoice and celebrations of May Day. Villagers would go into the woods to find maypoles set up from towns and cities. Because maypoles came in different sizes, villages would compete with each other to see who had the tallest one. People would dance around them because the pole symbolized male fertility as baskets and wreaths symbolized female fertility.

In the 19th century, a new meaning of May Day came about. May Day also became known as International Workers’ Day for labor rights and an eight hour work- day in the United States.

As time went on, different cultures created their own traditions in alignment with their beliefs. Europeans and Americans celebrate May Day with flower crowns, maypole dancing, and by making flower baskets to share with loved ones. In Hawaii, May Day is known as “Lei Day”, a celebration of the aloha spirit and the giving of the flower. What a better way to celebrate than with the people you love!

Credit : National Day

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Which holiday - celebrated from December 26 to January 1 - means "first fruits" in the African language called Swahili?

Kwanzaa is a celebration of African family, community, and culture. This African American holiday was created in 1966 by a professor named Maulana Karenga. The holiday is based on African harvest festivals. Its name comes from the African language Swahili and means “first fruits.” The holiday takes place each year from December 26 to January 1.

The symbols of the festival come from different African cultures. The symbols include a candleholder, seven candles, ears of corn, gifts, and a unity cup. The celebrants use the unity cup to salute their ancestors and to show unity in the family and community. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of seven principles, or ideas. The principles are unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Each night, one or more of seven candles arranged in a candleholder is lit. Then, one of the seven principles is discussed. Kwanzaa is also celebrated with a community feast on December 31.

Aside from the seven principles or traditions, Kwanzaa also has seven holiday symbols, namely crops (fruits, nuts, and vegetables), gifts, ears of corn, and straw mat. Moreover, there are seven candles colored black, green and red on a kinara (candleholder) and community cup.

The celebration on the last day of the year is usually grand, with a community feast or karamu, where African-American families are joining the celebration. Some of them wear traditional clothes. There could be traditional African drums, dances, songs, poetry reading, and storytelling. Typically, the feast consists of traditional African dishes.

Credit : Britannica

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According to legend, what happens if a groundhog sees its shadow on Groundhog Day?

It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks; if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather.

The weather lore was brought from German-speaking areas where the badger (German: Dachs) is the forecasting animal. This appears to be an enhanced version of the lore that clear weather on the Christian festival of Candlemas forebodes a prolonged winter.

The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering on a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most frequently attended ceremony. Grundsow Lodges in Pennsylvania Dutch Country in the southeastern part of the state observe the occasion as well. Other cities in the United States and Canada also have adopted the event.

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