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A few interesting facts about Valentine’s Day

lut 12

Valentine’s Day is an annual holiday of people in love. Its name comes from the name of Saint Valentine. The patron did not finish his life happily though; he was condemned to death by Claudius II. Valentine helped the soldiers get married with their beloved, which the emperor considered a crime.

When you are in love in German you are verliebt and enamorado in Spanish. In English we are in love, but we can also use a nice phrase: fall head over heels in love, which means we are crazy about love. In French, the phase of falling in love means amoureux and using the phrase Tomber fou amoureux, we will say that we love to distraction. Russians will use the phrase По уши влюбиться (pronounced yshi vlubitsya). In Italian, the phase of falling in love can be described using the words ammorato cotto.

Often in books and movies, as well as in life, love at first sight happens. In German we will say Liebe auf den ersten Blick. In Spanish, there is the gracious word flechazo, which means a shot with a Cupid’s arrow or violent love. The Italian analogue of this phrase is Amore a prima vista. In French, love of our life is Coup de foudre. Similarly, we can also use the English phrase shot through the heart.

When we find our other half in our lives, we can use the phrase to find Mr Right, or say that someone is our soul mate. In French, the love of our life is Amour de ma vie, German seelenverwandt and the Spanish alma gemela are of a similar meaning.

In Finland, there is no celebration of Valentine’s Day, but „a day of friends” – Ystavanpaiva – in which you can show your friends how important they are to you. The Estonian use Sobrapaev. The Swedes on this day will say Alla hjartans dag, meaning the holiday of all hearts.

The French Saint Valentine say Saint Valentin, while the inhabitants of Portugal – Dia dos Namorados, meaning boyfriend and girlfriend’s day.

(KB)

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The Magic of Summer in the Middle of Winter

lut 08

“Oh, I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved the idea of summer, and sun, and all things hot!” – said Olaf from Frozen (animated musical fantasy film). So do I! That’s why I escaped from winter weather here in Poland and visited Cyprus. Rumor has it that it’s the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Today I am taking you on a photographic ride through this culturally mixed and militarily strategic island.

Photos: Klaudia Tarczoń

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Interesting facts about languages

sty 18

Do you know how many languages​​ are there in the world? Which alphabet is the shortest and how many Chinese characters do you need to know to read a Chinese newspaper? Check out some fantastic facts about foreign languages!

The most people in the world speak Chinese – it is approximately a billion people. Hindi is spoken by approximately 400 million people, Spanish by approximately 350 million and English by approximately 320 million.

There are 6-7 thousand languages ​​in the world and about 2400 are in danger of extinction.

Chinese contains about 50,000 characters. To read and understand texts in newspapers you need to know about 2 thousand characters.

The Bible is the most often translated book. According to the data provided by the portal www.wycliffe.org, as of today it has been fully translated into 500 languages, in 1,300 languages ​​the New Testament and fragments of the Old Testament are available. The second most often translated book is „Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi. The book has been translated into approximately 240 languages.

In French, the vowel „o” can be pronounced in thirteen different ways.

Most European languages ​​are based on the Latin alphabet. Some Slavic languages ​​are based on Cyrillic. Such languages as Greek, Armenian, Georgian and Yiddish have their own characters.

The Germanic language family includes, among others, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, German, Dutch, English and Yiddish.
Examples of Romance languages ​​include Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian.

The Slavic language family includes, among others, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian and Bulgarian.

Multilingualism brings numerous benefits: it facilitates learning more languages, has a positive impact on the thinking process and conduce contacts with other people and cultures.

The longest alphabet consisting of 74 letters belongs to the Khmer’s language, and the shortest alphabet appears in the Rotokas language. The Rotokas is spoken in Papua New Guinea and is considered the simplest language in the world – its alphabet consists of only 11 letters. There are only 5 vowels and 6 consonants in it. It is spoken by about 4,000 people living on Bougainville Island.

The Armenian language is used by the inhabitants of the village of Archib located on the Caspian Sea coast in Russia. It is estimated that it is used by only about  1,000 people, but only in the spoken form, as it does not have a written form at all. It is mainly used in informal situations – first of all, among family members and friends.

(KB)
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The Last Spark of Christmas

sty 14

Before we will pack up all our Christmas ornaments let’s have one last gaze at those beautiful decorations. Photographs made and collected by Klaudia Tarczoń.

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Unusual Christmas customs

gru 20

Christmas is celebrated all over the world. Sometimes it is really unexpected customs, but every country has its own customs.

Greenlanders cannot imagine the world without kivak. This is the raw meat of the alki – a sea bird. The meat wrapped in seal meat is placed under stone for a few days. It is served when it reaches the appropriate phase of putrefaction.

In alpine regions, Krampus is presented as a companion of Saint Nicholas, who plays his anti-role; instead of giving gifts to polite children, these receive naughty punishments. Traditionally, young men dress up as Krampus in the first two weeks of December and roam the streets, scaring children and women with rusty chains and bells. In some rural areas, the tradition also includes whipping with rods, especially young girls.

There is a unique tradition in Norway – hiding a broom (brooming) on Christmas Eve. A few hundred years ago, it was believed that on this day the evil spirits and witches would wake up from their sleep, take brooms from houses and fly away. To this day, people are looking for hiding places and hide their broom too, thus securing them against theft.

In Slovakia, some families still cultivate national Christmas customs and Christmas traditions. One of them is to throw food on Christmas Eve. The head of the family, at the beginning of the Christmas supper, takes a spoonful of one of the dishes and then throws it on the ceiling. Apparently, the more food is left on the ceiling, the more happiness the family will have in the New Year.

In the city of Caracas in Venezuela, on Christmas Eve one is not allowed to drive a car. The empty streets give residents the opportunity to reach the church on roller skates. This way of moving on Christmas Eve has been in existence for many years.

Among the festive traditions you can find both those that are close to our customs and those that are quite exotic. What is important, however, is to spend this special time with your loved ones … preferably in a way accepted in a given part of the world.

(KB)

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