April Fun- English videos for Lockdown!

Para nuestr@s alumn@s de clases online, os presento un artículo cultural sobre esta tradición británica y también un ejercicio de “listening” para nuestros grupos de CAE tan motivados!

Part 1: Listening comprehension:

Watch this video ( twice- first for gist, then for specific information) and complete the exercises:

  1. Where is Il Tacino?
  2. Describe the climatic conditions of the last winter?
  3. Why are the last two weeks of March a difficult time for spaghetti farmers?
  4. What other factor contributes to this bumper year?
  5. How is spaghetti produced and prepared?
  6. What do the locals propose a toast to?
  7. Find the synonyms of these words and expressions in the video:
    1. Have blossomed
    2. warmest
    3. on records
    4. go ahead
    5. limits
    6. to a relative degree/extent
    7. a family-run business
    8. an unusually abundant year ( for crops)
    9. much effort
    10. produced at home/not manufactured in a factory

Part 2.Reading and Discussion:

April Fools’ Day, sometimes called All Fools’ Day, is considered the most light-hearted day of the year.  It is celebrated on the 1st of April in many European countries, in French under the name of “Poisson d’avril” and in Italian “Pesce d’aprile”.

What is the story behind April Fools’ day?

Why on 1st April, whilst in Spain the day for pranks is on 28th December?

Whilst some see this day as a celebration that stems from the adoption of a new calendar, others believe it is related to a simple change of seasons.

The Origins behind April Fools’ Day

A change of new year´s day following a reform of calendar.

Many ancient civilisations, including the Romans and Hindus, traditionally celebrated New Year’s Day on or around 1st April. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, many European countries celebrated 25th March, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.

In 1582, following the decision of Pope Gregory XIII, a new “Gregorian Calendar” replaced the old Julian Calendar .  This new calendar called for New Year’s Day to be celebrated on 1st January.

So on 1st January 1582, there was an important change in calendar and the first country to adopt this reformed calendar was France.  However, according to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or were not informed, and continued to celebrate their original new year’s day on 1st April. Some began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on “fool’s errands” or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, this practice spread throughout the rest of Europe.

Spring Fever

It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of jokes and absurdity around this time of year.  The Romans had a festival called Hilaria, the Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim.

Some say that it´s merely the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, which lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

April Fools’ Day around the world

April Fools’ Day is observed throughout the Western hemisphere. On this day, the victim could be sent on a “fool’s errand,” looking for things that don’t exist. People play pranks and try to get ‘gullible’ people to believe ridiculous things.

The French call this day Poisson d’Avril, or “April Fish.” Both in France and in Italy, children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying “Poisson d’Avril” to reveal the prank.

Let’s finish with a fun video of an April Fools’ joke that happened this year in England!

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