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How has Latin influenced the English language?

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Contrary to common assumption, English is not a Latinate language. Latin does not underpin the structure of the English language in terms of its grammar or syntax.

What does Kabuki mean? How is this term used in politics?

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Kabuki  theatre is a stylised Japanese dance-drama tradition. Its origins date back to the early 17th century, when it rapidly grew in popularity Initially it was performed by both sexes, causing unease about public morals in official circles. The association between female actors and prostitution lead to a shogunate ruling in 1625. Since then the female parts are all played by males.  Key characteristics of  Kabuki  include  operatic plot lines, masks and heavy make-up. Shouting at other actors is encouraged, but though are common elements pantomime the tone is more delicate. As Louis Levene puts it: a great onnagata (a male actor playing a female role) will transcend the conventions and carry you away to the floating world. Modern versions Kotohira kabuki theatre The kabuki Bayreuth is the town of Kotohira, in Shikoku province. Local geisha funded the building of a kabuki theatre there in 1835 and fans pay £100 for tickets to the annual festival every spring.  Leading actors are

When did January 1st become New Year's Day?

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Origin of Auld Lang Syne?

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I llustration to Robert Burns' poem  Auld Lang Syne  by J.M. Wright and Edward Scriven . The words and music of  Auld Lang Syne  are of uncertain origin. The tune  had been around for generations. It was already in vogue in the 1790s when Haydn arranged a classic variation on the theme: Some of the words were also already in circulation decades before their first publication in 1796, in an anthology of traditional Scottish verse. Attribution went posthumously to Robert Burns. This was misleading. Burns himself had not claimed authorship when he submitted Auld Lang Syne to the   Scots Musical Museum   in 1788. “...an  old song , of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man.” [8] This ‘old man’ has never been identified. It seems likely that at least some of the words came from an older folk song published by James Watson in 1711. These lines seem, ahem, similar: Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought

What is Hogmanay?

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Fireworks at Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Chris Flexen on Unsplash Hogmanay is the word used to describe the very distinctive Scottish celebration of New Years’s Eve. This includes the communal singing of Auld Lang Syne, with words by the national poet Robbie Burns. Should auld acquaintance be forgot And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot And the days of auld lang syne? For auld lang syne, my dear For auld lang syne We’ll drink a cup of kindness yet For the sake of auld lang syne The tradition of linking arms as you sing Auld Lang Syne at to welcome in the new year has spread across the world. Other Hogmanay customs include 'first-footing' - the welcoming the first visitor . First footers are encouraged to carry a lump of coal and gifts of whisky and shortbread. According to custom, tall tall dark strangers bring luck.  Origin of the word  Hogmanay There are a number of not entirely convincing theories: Hoggo-nott was a Scandinavian word for the short

Why Boxing Day?

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  The 26th of December is the Feast of Stephen  (the first  Christian martyr) and is  referred to in the carol Good King Wenceslas. In the church calendar, St Stephen's Day is associated with alms:  collecting money for the poor In England, parish churches would alms boxes would be brought into the church  during December. They alms boxes would then be broken open on Stephen's Day . Pepys refers to this in his  diary entry for 19 December 1663. Thence by coach to my shoemaker’s and paid all there, and gave something to the boys’ box against Christmas Workers' Holiday The day also became associated with recreational and sporting events. These included chaotic 'football' matches between villages. By the Nineteenth Century this had evolved into a secular festival for workers. The name Boxing Day was made official in the 1830s and became a public holiday in the 1880s. In Catholic Ireland there are distinct traditions associated with 'Stephen's Day' - see her