St. Valentine’s Day

Have you ever wondered why every year on February 14th people celebrate St. Valentine’s Day?

Why do they send cards with messages of love, why people buy roses and chocolates and show their affection for another person on this romantic day?

Let’s talk about that today.

As you know, the Valentine’s day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was.

The most popular belief about St. Valentine is that he was a priest. He lived in Rome in the third century. So it was a very long time ago.

At that time they had Emperor Claudius II of the Roman Empire.

He did not like to see people happy and was always starting wars with other countries.

Claudius did not like to see people getting married, because when a war came on, his soldiers did not want to leave their wives and children; young soldiers did not want to leave their sweethearts neither.

So the Emperor, being the cruel man that he was, banned all marriages and made it illegal for anyone to become engaged.

Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and kept on performing marriage ceremonies in secret.

When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death.

There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “From your Valentine».

So this is the story of St. Valentine. People used to remember him all these years. An expression «From your Valentine» was later adopted by modern Valentine letters in Britain in the 19th century. Later in the 20th century and the 21st, these customs spread to other countries.

I know that recently people have started to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Russia as well.

February is a very popular month to get engaged. It is not only because 10 percent of all proposals happen on Valentine’s Day, but it is also the month that women throughout the world have historically been given permission to pop the question: ’Will you marry me?’

Legend says that every four years, when February is extended by an extra day, women can ask men for their hand in marriage.

Interesting tradition, isn’t it?

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How do we celebrate Christmas

Dear friends, many of you have been asking about Christmas: how do we celebrate it?

Well, today I will give you some details about what we do at Christmas time.

Night time on Christmas Eve, which is evening of December 24th, is a very exciting time for young children.

It is the time when Santa or Father Christmas comes. Children hang up their stockings and go to sleep.

Santa and his elves make all the toys for Christmas in his home in the North Pole.

On Christmas Eve he piles all the toys onto his sleigh and rides across the sky with his 9 reindeers. The most famous reindeer is Rudolph. He is always the one at the front, to lead the way with his red nose. Children believe that Santa stops at every house and leaves presents for them. Santa enters the house through the chimney or goes to the house through the open window.

Traditionally on Christmas Eve, mince pies and sherry (or milk) are left out for Santa and nowadays carrots are left for his reindeers, so that they don’t feel hungry on their long journey around the world. Most children are in bed anyway before midnight waiting for Santa to visit. They have to be asleep in order to receive the presents in the morning.

In the morning the children usually are the first to wake up to open their presents, very often still in their pyjamas.

Once the wrapping paper has been torn off all the presents, the family sits down to breakfast.

Some British families always attend church on Christmas Day.

Then it all comes to the big Christmas dinner. Dinner is usually served at 2pm, with majority of the people enjoying the traditional roast turkey with all the trimmings: roast potato, parsnips, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and sprouts.

All that food and drink means the first person to fall asleep is around 4pm, with Granddads being the leaders in losing the «staying awake» battle.

For those who manage to stay awake, family board games are brought out and we spend time playing games and watching favourite films on TV.

We, here in Britain, think that spending time with the family is the best thing about Christmas Day.

Now let me tell you a bit about Boxing Day, which is the next day after Christmas.

Not every English person can explain why Boxing Day is called Boxing Day. Is it something to do with sport boxing, or there are some sort of boxes to open? I will tell you the story you need to know.

The holiday Boxing day was originally celebrated in England by the servants to the rich people. After Christmas, the servants used to “boxed up” all the leftovers from the rich people’s dinner and bring them home.

So now in England Boxing Day, traditionally, is a time to give gifts to tradesmen, servants, and friends.

There is also another story behind Boxing Day.

They say it is originated from the medieval times.

All churches used to have alms boxes (also known as poor boxes) where people donate small change during the year.

Every priest was supposed to empty the alms box of his church and distribute the gifts to the poor at Christmas time.

Dear all, I hope that you’ve learned some new things about Christmas today.

As we say in Britain, Christmas is for giving and sharing with other people.

I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

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Why extreme sports shouldn’t be banned


Sports are an indispensable part of human life. However, some are considered to be more dangerous than the others. Because of the dangers those sports can lead to, many people believe they should be banned.

I strongly believe that extreme sports are not a hazard and should NOT be banned. There are many reasons for letting them stay a part of our life. Firstly, extreme sports can increase self esteem and confidence. Secondly, extreme sports challenge the person and increase their skill. And last but not least, extreme sport can add to a persons experience, determination and courage.

Some people insist that extreme sports are much too risky, and there is always a danger of serious injury or even death. But if you want to eliminate risks, you will have to ban many other human activities like driving, traveling by plane and many others. We will also have to forget the Army service, working in coalmines or lions training in the circus! Even crossing a road is dangerous!

Many “innocent” sports are in fact very traumatic. Football, basketball, hockey, gymnastics, figure skating and other sports can lead to bad consequences. Did you know that football is one of the most dangerous sports? A professional football player gets up to 200 injuries of a different kind every year! And the incidents where a player dies during the match are not very rare.

Banning dangerous sports limits the freedom of choosing from a wide range of sports that people should feel free to participate in.

 Sports do not just have positive physical effects, but they also have mental and social benefits for those who participate. I think that taking away elements of risk, danger, and challenge would leave all sports meaningless. Our society would be healthier if more people took part in all types of sports.

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The Tuareg: people of different culture

The Tuareg (Twareg or Touareg) are group of semi-nomadic people of Berber extraction residing in the Saharan interior of North-Western Africa.
The Tuaregs live in five north-western African countries (Algeria, Libya, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso).  Fewer numbers  — in Chad and Nigeria. The population distribution of Tuaregs is quite scanty, however, the unofficial estimates suggest that their total number in the region of  approximately 4-5 million.
The Tuareg have had several legends that explain their origin and appearance in Africa.

According to one legend, the birthplace of the Tuareg was an island in the Atlantic Ocean, which then sunk in result of a natural disaster, along with the people who lived there. But some traders and people who accompanied them survived and settled in Sahara desert.

By the way, the Tuareg  are considered to be the best traders in Africa.

According to another legend, the great queen Tin Heenan was a founder of all tuareg tribes. She had come from the territories of modern Morocco together with her maid. Tin Heenan, according to the legend, gave start to a major group of Tuareg tribes.

Tin Heenan’s glory was so great that the Tuareg still call her «our mother.» In the course of the archaeological excavations the scientists found the non-devastated tomb of Tin Heenan, it was clear from the inscriptions that were found there. All that was found in the tomb was placed in museums, and the tomb itself is restored and became a place of worship.

The Tuareg are known internationally by their popular name «the Blue Men of the Sahara,» «The Masked people» or «Men of the Veil,» because of the indigo color of the veils and other clothing which their men wear. This indigo dye is obtained from some species of bush widely spread in tropical and subtropical zones. The indigo dye was much appreciated in ancient times for the bright blue color and the ability not to fade for a long time.

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Moscow is the city where a lot can be seen and done

I have been to many countries.
When I visited different cities of the world, I saw a lot of interesting things there. Beautiful landscapes, monuments and statues, famous buildings and big museums. And I asked myself: what would I advise to see in Moscow to a foreigner if he decided to come? Well, I’ve got a few suggestions!
Red Square and the Kremlin are necessary to visit. If you have been to Moscow and you haven’t visited Red Square and the Kremlin, then you haven’t been to Moscow!
Red Square with the famous onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral  is around 500 metres in length and was originally a market square for the Kremlin in the late 15th century. It has long been a place of protests and processions, but is now used more often for cultural events, fireworks and concerts. You won’t believe it, but the cathedral was built in the middle of the 16-th century!

Once the home of the Tsars and the old headquarters of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin is now the residence of the Russian President. There are several cathedrals and churches inside the Kremlin, including Ivan the Great Bell Tower, built in the 17th century. The magnificent State Armoury  or the Armoury Chamber and the State Diamond Fund are also worth visiting. The modern grey concrete Palace of Congresses stands among the ancient churches as a reminder of the Soviet era.

One of the things a foreigner can do is to pay a visit to the Lenin Mausoleum to have a look at the body of the former Soviet leader. This is extremely popular with locals, so you’ll have to queue with hundreds of them for at least 40 minutes before being let inside the Mausoleum.

Other places which I would advise to visit are the Bolshoy Theatre which was recently rebuilt and renovated, the famous picture galleries — the State Tretyakov gallery and the State Pushkin museum,

The places I’ve mentioned are always being advised by everybody. But Moscow is not only the Kremlin, the churches and the Bolshoy. It is also a city of students, musicians, people of different religions who came from all parts of Russia, office workers and football fans. Moscow is different for everybody.

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The best film I have ever seen – Titanic

 titanicclick to view full size


As you might know, the 3-hour-14-minute film ‘Titanic’ is not simply a disaster movie about the ill-fated Motorship Titanic during her maiden voyage in 1912. It’s a love story about a 17-year-old American aristocrat girl who is engaged with a rich and hateful guy but falls in love with a young poor artist, who won his third-class ticket in a card game. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack and Kate Winslet as Rose.

This film about love on a sinking ship was (and still is) a great success. It won eleven Oscars, including best picture for 1997. It is considered by the critics to be one of the Greatest Movies of All Time.

My parents say that when the movie was released they went to the cinema to see it on a big screen and many people cried bitterly during the demonstration and after it.

Everybody knows this sad story about the ‘Titanic’ big disaster. James Cameron wasn’t the first film director who told us about the tragedy. But certainly he was the one who spent 200 million dollars on making a film about it. ‘Titanic’ is the most expensive movie to be filmed in the 20th century.

The $8,4 million costume budget alone would finance several independent movies. Production designer Peter Lamont copied the real Titanic down to the small details.

The special effects are in the service of the story. In the 80-minute sinking of the ship, you don’t wonder what’s real and what’s computer-generated. What you feel is the horror of the experience.



Titanic hit the iceberg and sank. Many people died, because there weren’t enough lifeboats to carry all the passengers.


James Cameron was adamant about not including any song in the film, even over the closing credits. Composer James Horner secretly arranged with lyricist Will Jennings and singer Céline Dion to write «My Heart Will Go On» and record a demo tape which he then presented to Cameron, who responded very favorably and included the song over the closing credits. The song went on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

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