It’s Fiesta Time

Patrycja Iwaniuk, The Netherlands

The Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara is a week of celebrating the traditions, history, heritage, and culture that has been in Santa Barbara for hundreds of years. Since the beginning of the week, the first preparations can be seen. Music can be heard on every corner of the street. The first Fiesta eggs can be bought and smashed to color the streets with colorful confetti and even the people dress up in beautiful and traditional costumes. They proudly walk through State Street giving it wonderful ambiance.

Also, here at the EF school and in the Santa Catalina residence the feeling of Fiesta is in the air. More and more decorations are being hung up in the school and even some teachers can be seen wearing some great colorful outfits. Wednesday was Tamale Day and some students had the opportunity to make some beautiful Fiesta eggs, which are by the way strictly forbidden to use in the residence. Luckily for us, there is enough space outside to break these eggs and throw some confetti on our friends. As Wednesday night was the grand opening at the Mission, Thursday morning the decorations were even greater. In the afternoon students were welcome to enjoy some chips with salsa and delicious churros. To add to that, in what way can you end the day better than having people break a piñata in the middle of the schoolyard?

The big days, however, were without hesitation Friday and Saturday. Before the big parade, everyone started to get out their chairs and blankets to save the best spot for the whole family. After a very long wait in the sun, the parade had begun. Dozens of beautiful horses gaited through State Street and the music played by the musicians completed the picture. It was really a new experience for me as a foreigner, since I have never seen or been to this kind of a parade. Over the past couple of days, I have really seen that the people of Santa Barbara cherish this week of joy and a lot of tourists who walk down the streets with the biggest smile when someone throws confetti to them. We can still savor the moment for a few weeks until the confetti disappears and then the first eggs can be eaten as a preparation for next year. As for me, this was my first time and hopefully not the last… VIVA LA FIESTA!

Carnival of Sion

Baptiste Ostertag, Switzerland

What is it ?

The carnival of Sion is a big celebration which is every year during the first week of February.Carnaval de Sion

A lot a people are going there, most of the time in costume, just to enjoy, watch the parade, party and meet people.

A lots of groups come to Sion, to play music, as you can see in the picture below !!carna_sion24.jpg

Then in the evening, people, specially the young adult, are going under a big pavillion to do party all the night.carna_sion25

Here you meet a lot of people you know, you can dance and drink all the night, even if you’re not 21 (Not like in the USA), and you can enjoy the particular music which is being played by the brass band.

Here is an example :

The most important thing there is to enjoy yourself, and the fact that almost everybody is disguised makes the carnival really fun, because sometimes you can’t recognize people.

Appenzell

Raphaela Vogel, Switzerland

Appenzell is a region in the northeast of Switzerland. I will show you some of the places you have to see:

Mountains: Alpstein

In Appenzell, there are a lot of mountains. Altogether they are called Alpstein. The biggest mountain in Alpstein is called Saentis, which is 8,216 feet (2,504 m).  In the summer, there are a lot of hiking trails. In the winter you can go skiing and go for a winter walk in the snow.

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One of the most popular mountains in Appenzell is called Ebenalp. It became very popular because of a restaurant on the way up. The restaurant is called Aescher and it was built precariously into the face of the rock.

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Cheese factory

Another typical thing for Appenzell is the cheese. We have our own cheese called “Appenzeller cheese”. In a little village called Stein, we have our cheese factory. Overthere you can look over the shoulders of the cheesemaker and you will see how they produce their cheese. And if you like, you have the possibility to make your own cheese. Of course, there is also a restaurant and a shop where you can eat something or buy some cheese or a souvenir.

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Appenzell (City)

The capital of Appenzell has the same name as the region. In this city, you can see some typical houses for this area. And, of course, you can spend some time in this cute city. If you would like to learn something about the culture of this region you can go to the museum. There they will show you all about their lifestyle and their culture.

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Silversterchlausen

There is something that only exists in Appenzell. It is called Silversterchlausen. Each year at New Year’s Eve, some groups of six men (Silversterchlauese) go from house to house. First, they will sing together. After that, they will wish you a lucky New Year!

There are two different kinds of Silversterchlaeuse. We called them “The Beautiful Ones” (picture on the left) and “The Ugly Ones” (picture on the right).

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Tomorrowland Festival : All about Unity

Gladys Lebrun, Belgium

You probably never know the real meaning of “enjoying yourself” before experiencing the electro music festival “Tomorrowland.” Belgium sure is a small country, but definitely full of resources, and as far as the fun is concerned, Belgian people know what they are talking about. Everything is made for you to spend a really good time during the four days and the festival takes place in July. So if you are lucky, the weather can be really good in Belgium these days.

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What is it?

Tomorrowland is one of the biggest festivals in the world. With over 180,000 people, every country is represented in this festival. This is the real thing about it, you feel like you’re taking part in something bigger. With over 12 stages, the festival is open from Friday until Sunday and from noon until 1 am. So, you will definitely never get bored. DJs from all around the world come to Belgium to meet an eclectic public, for example : David Guetta, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, Avicii or Tiesto for the most famous, but the festival welcomes also less famous DJs, like the young Henri PFR well known in Belgium.

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“Yesterday is history, Today is a gift, Tomorrow is a Mystery”, this is the slogan of the famous electro music festival Tomorrowland and it’s a pretty good summary of the state of mind of the people coming to this festival : Just enjoy the moment.

Why do you absolutely have to go there?

Definitely to have fun and enjoy some time with your friends, but, the best of all, is that you will have so many crazy stories to tell. Because anything can happen at Tomorrowland, everything is possible. When I was at the Tomorrowland festival for the first time, I was so excited to experience it because it’s a really big event in my country, Belgium. So many people come from all over the world just to appreciate the music. It was so crazy to meet people from different cultures. I met a Brazilian guy and when I asked him “Are you enjoying the festival?” He just answered “I’m having the best time of my life “. That’s why every fan of music should experience this festival because anybody on earth can have fun there.

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Furthermore, most people camp during the five days just outside the festival area. Even there, there’s a lot of ways to enjoy yourself because the party keeps going after the festival. The facilities are also great. There’re shops, a supermarket, a radio station, a hairdresser and so many places to eat food from different countries. This is the perfect spot to meet new friends to enjoy the festival with.

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The only thing wrong with Tomorrowland is that the tickets are sold out in 30 minutes so you have to be very lucky to get the chance to go in the Festival. I’ve been there twice but only the years where there were two weekends instead of one so obviously you had more chance to go. But never stop trying to go, I swear, it worths the wait.

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Finally, I will share with you some of my best memories at the festival.

 

 

Carnival All Around Brazil

By Maria Antonia Lopes, Brazil                                                                                                                Rafaela Reblin, Brazil                                                                                                                            Laura Franco, Brazil

 What is Carnival?

The Carnival is celebrated in Brazil every year, 46 days before the Easter festival. The word “Carnival’ is derived from “carnelevare,”which means the removal of meat. The roots of the festival are believed to be in tradition of Roman Catholics when they abstained from meat and alcohol on certain days as a method to drive away bad things from their lives. Back then, followers of the Roman Catholic Church would indulge in a last day of dance, fun, alcohol and sex just before the start of the abstinence period of alcohol and other sins.

Although Carnival is celebrated in other cities throughout Brazil and other Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro is considered the Carnival’s capital city. One of the best-known parties in the world, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is also the largest carnival celebration in the world. It’s filled with music, parades, drinking and people having fun. The carnival, a national holiday in Brazil, runs from Friday night to noon of the following Wednesday. That’s the official length, but many Brazilians turn it into a 10-day holiday. It brings
in about half a million foreign tourists each year.

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Carnival in Rio de Janeiro 

The festival is organized by various samba schools in Brazil which are sometimes involved in community services as well. A major parade is made with beautifully dressed samba dancers on the top of decorated moving vehicles that go around the Sambadrome stadium. Often wearing masks and colorful costumes, they dance to the beats of drums and music, Samba is the main form of dancing there. Also, there’s a competition held in the end of the festival, when the crowd has to vote for the best costume, the best vehicle and the best samba school.

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Each neighborhood in Rio has its own Carnival Street Party. There are around 300 of them in Rio every year. The street parties are also called “blocos”, and the atmosphere is just full of life, and everybody who parties is dancing in the streets, singing out loud, and making sure they have a really good time. Anyone is allowed to participate in streets a festival, that’s why it’s so special. There’s no segregation, literally, the whole world is invited.

Carnival in Salvador

Salvador is a city in the northeast of Brazil that has a lot of beautiful beaches and every February the Carnival happens. The Salvador carnival is the most fun one. If in Rio, you are a spectator of the parade, in the Salvador Carnival you are the show.

The event lasts officially for six full days: it starts on a Thursday, then follows the usual five days of carnival ( from Friday to Wednesday at noon).

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The parties have a special name, “Bloco”, and it happens behind the “Trio eletrico” that is basically a big truck moving really slowly loaded with sound equipment’s and with a famous band or a famous singer singing on the top. The Salvador Carnival has some tradition singers like: Ivete Sangalo, Daniela  Mercury and Preta Gil. Contrary to what most people think, carnival is not only about samba, it has funk too and at the moment, the most famous singers of funk are: Anitta and Pablo Vittar.

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Each Bloco sells a different T-shirt called “Abada”. This T-shirt is your entrance ticket and allows you to get inside the rope area. If you enter the V.I.P area of the event, you can see a lot of famous people with the “Abada” totally stylized.

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Carnival in Olinda

The old colonial town of Olinda, a few miles from Recife, became a popular carnival spot in 1977, where every street corner has a band following their own routes. Children, parents, and grandparents all party together. Political and social causes are common themes that are well presented through costumes and music.

One of the main attractions of the carnival in Olinda is the giant puppets made from papier-mâché. The “Homem da Meia-Noite” or “Man of Midnight” is the most famous puppet that officially opens the carnival in Olinda every year; a tradition since 1932.

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For most people here, Carnival is this magical time when it’s totally ok to dress up weirdly, fill your hair and face with glitter, become friends with total strangers and start deep love affairs that last the time of two “frevo” verses.carna10

If you like partying and want to immerse yourself in this rich culture, you should definitely spend Carnival in Olinda. You’ll hardly find a similar event somewhere else, with all the joy and excitement that takes hold of anyone that’s part of it. But truth be told, it takes a good deal of strategy to enjoy everything this party has to offer. So here are some tips for those who will go for the first time:

– Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe, comfortable and not too beloved shoes – after all, it’s likely they will be destroyed by the end of Carnival.

– Eat well before leaving home, since drinking on an empty stomach is not advisable, but try to avoid heavy foods.

– Take an old cell phone with you instead of your “real one”, if possible.

– Avoid walking against the flow of the “blocos”. It’s easier to wait for them to pass, or to simply follow them.

– Avoid going alone, it’s more fun and safer to go with friends or family.