To celebrate Easter in France, their main icon of Easter is the bells, where in the US our symbol is the Easter bunny. Weeks before Easter, French grocery stores still fill up with chocolate bunnies and chickens, but one also sees chocolate fish and bells. Most cities and towns in France were built around a cathedral or a church. However, from the Thursday before Good Friday until Easter Sunday, all the bells in France are silenced to symbolize the mourning of the church. The story behind the Easter bells is that on Good Friday, the bells from every church fly from France to the Vatican to mourn the crucifixion of Jesus, carrying all grief. The bells will not return to France until Easter Sunday, carrying the good news and dropping gifts along the way. It is for this reason that children leave their shoes out in their gardens the night before Easter, hoping that the bells will fill them up with chocolates and painted eggs for them the next morning.
In Italy, Easter is celebrated by a parade either on Easter Sunday or the Monday after Easter, which is also considered a holiday. Those who participate in the parade wear traditional costumes, based on the era in which Jesus lived. Many churches throughout Italy use special statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus in the parades. As you can probably imagine, the largest and most popular church service is in the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, led by the Pope.
The Passover celebration worldwide commences with the traditional seder, which is a family gathering where the Haggadah is read, which tells the story of Passover. The seder plate is on the table during the reading, which has many symbols of the Passover story, such as matzah, horseradish, haroset, karpas, and maror. The seder is followed by a large meal which includes matzah, which was very important because the Jews did not have time to wait for the bread to rise when they were fleeing from the pharaoh. One fun tradition during Passover is “Hiding the Afikoman” where the parents hide a piece of Matzah somewhere in the house, and the children have to find it in the hopes of earning a prize. In France and Italy and all over the world, the differing traditions consist mainly of differences in family recipes and gastronomy. For the most part, the holiday is celebrated in the same way worldwide, since it is based on historical accounts and religious traditions.
Here at the Language Learning Institute we hope that you have a joyous month of April, no matter what holiday you celebrate!
Happy Birthday Language Learning Institute!!! The Language Learning is celebrating its third year this month on April 21st! On this day the school officially came into existence and with it carried the title of LLC (Limited Liability Company). In honor of this milestone, we are offering a special savings and added fun for new students! Call us from April 21st to April 28th and sign up for one of our courses for extra special savings! See our coupons below! Additionally, many people ask us how we teach little ones as young as 2 months old. As part of our birthday celebration, we invite you to joins us for a free class. We ask that you call to reserve your spot.
Adults, we invite you to check out our Tour of France and Italy through Wine and Cheese which will take place at Fenimore Gallery in Proctors Theater. This is a sit down event featuring 8 wines and 8 cheeses complete with accouterments. May 8th the doors will open at 5:30 and the tour will start promptly at 6pm with expert guides in wine and cheese. A raffle will be held during the event and all proceeds will go to The Language Learning Institute Scholarship Fund.
This month we are going to be focusing on children and our summer programs. To better serve you, we are linking with other services that also serve children and we will be introducing them through short articles in our newsletter.
Our first introduction is to Dr Dean Skarlis, President of the College Advisor of New York. Dr Skarlis works with high school students to prepare and search for colleges starting in 10th grade. This is a wonderful service that we are very pleased to make known to our readers.
Our English as a Second Language Summer Program is for those interested in sharpening their English skills. Wewill befocusing on grammar and vocabulary building through various topics. The course is not for beginning students. This program will start at the end of June and run through July. All, English as a Second Language, speakers who are already competent in spoken English will find this course very interesting and helpful. Our Beginning English as a Second Language course will start in the fall.
With the internationalization of college campuses, more and more students are studying abroad. We are offering an Intensive Study Program in French this summer for high school and college students. Who do you know who wants to improve their language skills as they prepare for exams, diplomas, or just want the experience to study abroad? This is the course for them.
We have a packed summer of offerings, including our Mommy and Me Program which will celebrate its first birthday this summer: and with that we are offering our Mommy and Me Summer Camp. Join us for 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks of fun and French with our daily program! We invite you to visit our website at www.LanguageLearningInstitute.com and check out all of our courses.
Do you have any questions? Call us at 518-346-7096. April is a big month in its celebration of Passover and Easter. We, at The Language Learning Institute, would like to extend our warmest of best wishes for a very Happy Passover and Easter to all.
Nancy Scarselletta Owner/Developer The Language Learning Institute 518-346-7096
A Note from Dr. Dean Skarlis
$55,000 per year. That’s the price at Georgetown University. The cost of college has grown at a ridiculously fast pace over the past 20 years. In fact, college costs have increased at twice the rate of inflation during that time period. And the pace of that growth will only accelerate going forward.
Why are colleges so expensive? There are numerous reasons, not the least of which is a highly inefficient bureaucracy. But another underlying explanation lies with students and parents, themselves. How can you blame students and parents for the high cost of college?
The dirty little secret of higher education is that almost half of all college students do not graduate in 5 years. It’s easy to blame the colleges for this statistic, and most of them deserve responsibility, but the primary cause is that families have not made the right choice during the college selection process. Most families do not fully engage in the college search. In my practice, I meet families who have not visited any colleges until the middle of the senior year. This is far too late. With the cost of a 4-year private degree eclipsing $200,000, it is imperative that families make systematic, well informed decisions with the goal of finding a college that’s the right fit, socially, academically, and financially. Not searching for schools that will suit all three of these categories, could lead to wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And while it is important to research and visit schools judiciously, it is also critical to prepare academically. Good grades in college prep classes ollege Advisor- foreign language, science, social science and math – are essential to acceptance and college success. In fact, this is the number 1 factor colleges consider when admitting students. So while parents prepare financially, students should work hard and develop study skills for the rigors of academic life in college.
There are strategies that many educational consultants can employ that will help reduce a family’s costs and help students prepare academically for college. Families should work with a college advisor to understand how much they can afford, and where the money will come from so they find a college that’s the right fit financially, as well as socially and academically.
Dr. Dean Skarlis is President of The College Advisor of New York, a comprehensive college consulting practice serving clients across New York and the United States. His website is: www.CollegeAdvisorNy.com.
Les Eaux Sportifs: Marcher! by Emily
…let’s marcher to the marché
In her acclaimed novel French Women Don’t Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano insists that the French woman does not need to be a member of a gym or commit 6 hours a week to an intense cardio workout to maintain or lose weight in the hopes of having an overall healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating habits are certainly the focus of her novel, Guiliano attributes the everyday walking of the French woman (and I’d add Frenchman) as a major factor in why those Frenchies stay so lean compared to Americans.
In most metropolitan cities, walking is a normal part of everyday life. The city serves as your 24-hour gym. Since public transportation generally serves as the major mode of transportation in large cities such as Paris, walking becomes consistent with getting to and from metro/bus stops, transferring, and getting to your and from your final destination from the metro/bus stop.
Even in smaller cities and towns, walking still manages to be part of daily life. Particularly with spring time weather approaching; going for a walk is one of the most common afternoon activities for the French. So, next time you visit France, why not take an afternoon stroll in one of the city parks or market? After all, the best way to get to the marché is to marcher.
La colomba, or dove, together with a hollow chocolate egg, are two of the most traditional treats served during Easter all over Italy. The origins of la colomba can be traced to a number of stories. In the middle of the 5th century during the assualt of Pavia, King Alboino was offered the colomba as a sign of peace. Another legend, also taking place in Pavia in 612, suggests that the colomba was created to honor San Colombano. When San Colombano, and his followers, arrived in the city, they were invited to a sumptuous meal by the King and Queen. Since it was around the time of lent, they refused to eat any of the rich dishes. Queen Teodolinda was offended, the abbot very diplomatically suggested that he would only eat meat that had been blessed. He raised his right hand to make the sign of the Cross and the rich meats were transformed into simple white breads in the shape of doves, just like the abbot’s white robes. To this day, San Colombano is always pictured with a dove on his shoulder.
More recent stories indicate that the colomba was created by Dino Villani, director of Motta, in the 1930s as a way to continue running the machines that were used during Christmas to make panettone. The colomba is very similar to panettone, except for its shape – a dove, perfect for the Easter season. (sources include: wikipedia.it, giallozafferano.it, ricettedalmondo.it)
Colomba di Pasqua (recipe courtesy Bon Appetit Magazine) These traditional holiday loaves are made in several easy steps over about 18 hours. We recommend doing steps one through four on the first day, since step four includes an eight- to ten-hour rising that, ideally, could be done overnight. Then finish the next day. Yield: 2 loaves. Step 1 (Starter) 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cool water 1/4 teaspoon sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast 7 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
Step 2 2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour 4 large egg yolks 3 tablespoons cool water 2 teaspoons sugar
Step 3 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft), cut into 6 pieces 5 tablespoons sugar 2 large egg yolks 2 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk 1 tablespoon honey 2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
Step 4 1/2 cup cool water 1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (very soft), cut into 12 pieces 6 tablespoons sugar 4 large egg yolks 3 tablespoons lukewarm whole milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cups (about 10 oz.) chopped candied orange peel (can be found in some specialty foods stores) Step 5 1/2 cup (about) all purpose flour 2 dove-shaped paper baking molds (Sur La Table may have them) or two buttered and floured ten-inch-diameter cheesecake pans
Step 6 (Glaze and baking) 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup whole unblanched almonds 3 large egg whites 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 1 1/3 cups sliced almonds Powdered sugar
For step 1 (Making starter): Combine water and sugar in bowl of heavy-duty mixer. Stir in yeast. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes. Using rubber spatula, mix in flour (dough will be firm). Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let starter rise until puffy, about 45 minutes. (Initially, the starter is firm and compact, but it softens and becomes puffy and spongy after rising.)
For step 2: Attach dough hook to mixer. Add all ingredients in step 2 to starter. Beat until blended, scraping down sides of bowl often, about 5 minutes (dough will be soft and thick). Scrape dough off hook; remove hook. Cover bowl with plastic. Let dough rise at room temperature until puffy and bubbly on top, about 1 hour. The dough will look thick, shiny, and slightly puffed.
For step 3: Reattach clean dough hook. Add first 5 ingredients in step 3 to dough; beat until blended. Add flour. Beat at low speed until smooth, scraping down bowl and hook often, about 5 minutes (dough will be firm and compact). Scrape dough off hook; remove hook. Cover bowl with plastic; let dough rise at room temperature until lighter in texture and slightly puffed, about 3 1/2 hours. The dough will double in volume and become lighter in texture but less glossy.
For step 4: Reattach clean dough hook. Mix water and yeast in small cup. Let stand until yeast dissolves, about 10 minutes; add to dough. Add 1 1/3 cups flour, half of butter, sugar, and 2 yolks; beat until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down dough hook and sides of bowl. Add remaining 2 yolks, milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat at low speed until blended, about 3 minutes. Scrape down hook. Add remaining 2/3 cup flour, remaining butter, and orange peel. Beat dough until well blended, about 5 minutes. Scrape dough into very large (at least 4-quart) buttered bowl. Cover with plastic. Let dough rise at room temperature until doubled and indentation remains when 2 fingers are pressed about 1/4 inch into dough, 8 to 10 hours.
For step 5: Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour onto work surface. Scrape dough out onto floured work surface (dough will be soft and sticky). Gently toss dough in flour until easy to handle. Brush away excess flour. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Divide 1 piece in half; shape each half into 10-inch-long log. Arrange 1 log crosswise in each paper baking mold, curving ends to fit. Roll each remaining dough piece into 11-inch-long log, slightly tapered at ends. Place 1 log across dough in each mold. (If using 2 cheesecake pans, divide dough in half; place half in each prepared pan). Cover molds (or pans) with plastic. Let stand at room temperature until dough rises to top of each mold and indentation remains when 2 fingers are pressed about 1/4 inch into dough, about 3 1/4 hours.
For step 6 (Glaze and baking): Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375 F. Finely grind sugar and whole almonds in processor. Add egg whites and almond extract; blend 10 seconds. Peel plastic off dough in molds. Spoon half of almond glaze over top of each. Sprinkle each with sliced almonds. Sift powdered sugar over. Slide rimless baking sheet under molds; slide molds directly onto oven rack.
Bake breads until brown on top and slender wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool breads completely on rack. (Can be made ahead. Wrap; let stand at room temperature up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 week.)
This month, we are going to travel farther to the East. This country used to be called “the Switzerland of the East”. It is a member of the “organisation internationale de la Francophonie”. Welcome, bienvenue, to Lebanon!
French was the official language in Lebanon, along with Arabic, until 1943, when the country declared independence from France. French is still considered an official language by the Lebanese people.
Lebanon has always been a special country. Despite the recent years of war, Lebanon’s long history, natural beauty and the spirit of its people give it a place in the hearts of all who have been there. It is a compact country of 10,452 square kilometers with a population approaching 4 millions. Located at the meeting point of three continents, over the centuries Lebanon has been the crossroads of many civilizations. Its countryside is a place of rocks, cedar trees (flag emblem) and magnificent ruins that look down from mountains to the sea. “Lubnan” its Arabic name, means “white” the color of the snowy mountains in the winter.
Two rocky ranges traverse Lebanon parallel to the sea coast, separated by the high plateau of the Beqaa valley (very fertile region). On the coast are five famous towns known to every archeologist and history lover-Berytus (Beyrouth), Byblos, Sidon, Tripoli and Tyre- the names of ancient Phoenicia.
Next month, we will continue our journey through the East and make a stop on this Isle in the Pacific Ocean. Its name is the Latin name for Scotland!
Le Gouvernement et les Nouvelles Françaises d’Amelia
During my stay in Paris, it seems like there is a demonstration each week in the heart of the Latin Quarter, where I, along with thousands of other students, attend class. The Latin Quarter is known for its university, the Sorbonne, which was founded in 1253. Since then, the area has remained a student-friendly area, and is the site of many manifestations and grèves.
These past few months, the students in Paris have been on strike. Luckily, my program has not been affected by this strike, however many other American students who I live with have had problems getting credit from their home universities because they have not been attending class. But what are these students so upset about? There have been many issues that have led the French to “take it to the streets” recently.
The students have been striking with regards to inequalities in the universities throughout France. The public universities in France are supposed to be equal education and equal funding for each school, so that the University of Paris is equal to the University in Marseille, for example. However, recently a few universities have received less funding than others, which is creating inequalities in the education system. Also, the students would like to see more job or research opportunities available.
Anyone who has been to Paris knows that Parisians use their right to protest very frequently! Many times throughout French history, student or popular demonstrations have led to changes in the government, so hopefully these students will see their initiatives followed through.
Thank you to all who responded to last month’s “Do You Know.”
What is the most popular name for a French king and how many kings have had this name?
Answer: There have been 18 “Louis”s in the French monarchy.
This Month’s “Do You Know”
As many of our readers know, the Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World Exposition. Another exposition was held in Paris in 1900. What was the main technological advancement which was unveiled at this event which is still used today?
“Travelling with the Language Learning Institute is a wonderful experience! The groups are small, there is a lot of variety, and the trips are flexible enough that you can break away and do your own thing for a while if you want. I have never really wanted to do that, though, because the planned activities are so interesting. I have been on two trips on which I learned a lot about the different regions of France and even Belgium. The trip cost includes five or so sessions before the trip in which we learn about what we are going to experience and in which we learn a little of the language so that we can at least order in French. There is also a wine and cheese party in which we sample the products of the regions we are going to visit and in which we get to know our trip mates better. I would recommend the Learn French and Travel trips to anyone, but particularly for those who want to visit a country in a way that combines the security of a group with the flexibility to do your own thing!”