2004-11-09

Halloween, a spooky short story and grammar mistakes

In our first English lesson after the All Hallows holidays Marina and Miriam started by giving their news item presentation. As All Saints Day is an important holiday in the United States they reported detailed information about the European origin and today’s customs. Halloween is a combination of several European feasts: It goes back to Roman Pomona Day, Christian All Saints and All Souls Day and Celtic Samhain, which are all celebrated on October 31st or November 1st.
They pointed out that Samhain, also called Last Harvest, was the beginning of the Celtic winter season and a very magical and spiritual time, especially the night of October 31st, which was said to allow dead ancestors to return to earth for this single night. Furthermore, they touched on the origin of the custom which is popular today: Children go from house to house asking “Trick or Treat” in order to get sweets.
Afterwards, the class was told the legend of Jack who played a trick on the Devil and hence was – after his death – neither allowed to enter heaven nor hell but had to look for a place to stay, carrying an ember within a turnip. Obviously, the Irish copied this idea, the Americans replaced the turnip later by a pumpkin, and invented the custom of Jack-O-Lanterns. Today families usually carve spooky faces into their pumpkins which are supposed to keep evil spirits away.
Then Victoria gave her talk about the short story “The night the ghost got in” by James Thurber. Fluently speaking, she first introduced the author of her story, additionally the content and plot. She described the characters of “The night the ghost got in” plastically, went into style and interpretation. As she was the first to talk about a chosen short story, I think she gave a very good, well-prepared lecture.
Afterwards, Mr Ringeisen drew attention to the mistakes that most frequently appeared in our English tests. We have to be careful not to forget (or add) letters when building past or progressive forms, to be and being, happen and happened for example. Moreover, our teacher pointed to wrong usage of prepositions and tenses. At the end of our lesson, we got our tests back.

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