It’s Christmas time!

 

estrelles_nadal

It seems that we are still in autumm and, all of a sudden, it is already Christmas time. Yes, time flies!

We want to introduce you to some Russian, German and Catalan Christmas traditions. As we celebrate Christmas as usual, we don’t think of cultural differences. But from country to country, indeed, Christmas traditions can change a lot! We wish you enjoy our post and, most of all, enjoy Christmas time and have a happy new year!

*******************

To start with, let’s travel for a moment to Russia- Here there are four Russian Christmas symbols

The most important celebration in Russia is New Yearussia1r, when“GrandfatherFrost” (ДедМороз) brings presents to children. He is always accompanied by his“Grandaughter Snegurochka” (Снегурочка).

The 31th of December, Russian people usually listen to the president’s russia2traditional speech and then wait for the first stroke of the Kremlin Clock, which marks the beginning of the new year. It is rather a solemn moment, so manypeoplego to the Red Square every year, just to go through it again and again.

Tangerines are a mandatoryattribute on thefeast tables in Russia. russia3It’s because in the Soviet period tangerines were a sort of hard-to-get fruit, so that it was served on the Soviet peoples’ tables onlyonce a year – during New Yearholidays.

Christmas in Russia is normally celebrated on January 7th. Thedate is different because the Russian Orthodox church uses theold ‘Julian’ calendar for religious celebration days.russia4

*******************

Let’s continue travelling… to Germany now! Despite there are some differences between the north and the south, Christmas is a contemplative time in this country.

Germans love the Advent season. Therefore, from the first day of Advent, we go crazy and start to bake and decorate. Typical pastries: Lebkuchen (Gingerbread), Spekulatius (Speculaas), Zimtsterne (cinnamon stars), Vanillekipferl (vanilla pastries), Stollen (fruit bread with dried fruit and covered with powdered sugar), and all kinds of delicious homemade pastries. We do not only decorate gorgeously the interior of our houses and flats, but also balconies and the garden – and not the American way! Very important: crib, Advent wreath and Advent calendar.

germany1germany-2germany5

What else do we love? Our Weihnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets), or also known as Christkindlmärkte (Christ child markets)! In Bavaria, a really special and famous one is the NürnbergerChristkindlmarkt (Christ child market of Nuremberg). There you can find the delicious and traditional Nürnberger Lebkuchen and NürnbergerChristkindlGlühwein. Glühwein? Yeah, right, Mulled Wine. If you go to a German Weihnachtsmarkt you definitely have to try Lebkuchen and Glühwein.

ger6

Another popular tradition, usually done by friends or colleagues, is Wichteln (Secret Santa). It’s always a great surprise and sometimes, you can even get some little treasures!

There are some Christmas traditions which are more usual in the south and west of Germany, especially in Bavaria.

Who think children brings the presents? Santa Claus? The Three Magic? Yes, maybe, but in Bavaria it’s the Christkind (Christ child) who comes the 24 December after church in the afternoon. The giving of Christmas presents is called Bescherung.The Christkind is represented with blond hair and angelic wings, being a sprite-like child. Well-known is the Christkind at the Christkindlmarkt in Nuremberg, depicted by a young woman who is chosen every year. Being chosen is hard because you have to satisfy specific criteria and requirements. The 25 and 26 December and the 6 January are festive days, too. And to end up, if you want to wish somebody merry Christmas in Germany, you just have to say, FroheWeihnachten!ger7

*******************

 

We also want to introduce you to some Catalan Christmas traditions. The word we use to refer to this time of the year is, as you might know, Nadal. Have you ever heard about the tió? Do you know what we traditionally eat during Nadal? And how do we celebrate New Year’s Eve? You will find the answers to these questions if you continue reading!

There’re several typical foods to eat during Christmas in Catalonia, we’re going to talk about some of them.

escudella-thermomix

La escudella de Nadal” it’s a kind of soup made with vegetables and meat. We eat first the soup with a big pasta called “galets”, and then is typical to eat the products that had been used to make the soup, the vegetables (potato, carrots, beans, etc) and the meat (chicken breast, ham, spine bone, etc).It is a really yummy and confortable meal to eat on winter, and normally is what Catalans eat on the 25th.

Here in Catalonia, on the 26th we celebrate “SantEsteve”, and the most typical food eaten on this days is “canelons”.  “Canelons” are made with pasta on the exterior and they can be filled with meat, spinaches, mushrooms, etc.  and then they are recovered with a salsa called “beixamel”.

canelons2

And for the desert… We eat “neules”, a type of biscuit that can be just the biscuit or they can be filled with chocolate or “xixona”. We also eat “torrons” typically made of honeysugar, and egg white, with toasted almonds or other nuts, and usually shaped into either a rectangular tablet or a round cake.And of course, we serve this with catalan Cava.

 

*******************

 

“Fer cagar el tió” is a particular way children receive presents in Christmas. The main character: a piece of wood.

caga-tio-01

If you are not familiar to his tradition we probably should warn you that it may appear to you as a (very) weird Christmas one. And we may also add that even it might look as if we were, we are not nuts.

The “tió”, this smiley trunk, comes down from the forest to Catalan’s homes  at Christmas, some days before the 25th, and stays until this day. Children cover it with a blanket to warm it up, and feed it with fruit during these days because on the 25th, by hitting it with the help of some sticks, the tió defecates…. presents! Children need to warm the sticks up before they hit it, while singing traditional tió songs.

*******************

An to end the year… The twelve grapes of luck on New Year’s Eve

This is a Spanish tradition that consists of eating twelve grapes at the same time that the bell strikes at midnight of December 31. Obviously, this is a superstitious tradition, as Spanish people believe that this action will lead them a year of prosperity. No one will take the risk of poisoning their fate by skipping eating the grapes! We all wish you a great New Year’s Eve and a happy new year! 

 

uvas-de-la-suerte

Social Communications and Networks, a perfect relationship

A kilo of food was the entrance to acceding at the fifth edition of Social Media Care, celebrated at the Museum of Design in Barcelona. The purpose of this initiative, organized by Victor Martin, consisted in interchange knowledge of the world of Social Media and Online Marketing according the kilos of food, whose destination was the social dining room “El Raval”. Continue reading

The sky is the limit. The horizon, 2020

Science has reached a breaking point. Lots of things about our pale-blue changing world are being reconsidered while you read this entry. Let’s take a look in a nutshell, shall we?

First of all, I have two questions for you. Maybe you are going to consider it for the first time… or just to reconsider it. In any case, is good to bring these thoughts to our minds before we keep reading. First question, can you think of a world without science? Impossible right? Well, at least a world where we would like to live in. Second question, (and this is a tricky one) when you think about science, do you perceive it as a social component or as a field where you don’t have any word to say? Mmmm… we could surely share an interesting discussion regarding this question while having a coffee but I encourage you to leave your opinion on the comments section right at the end.

2_horizon-2020

Whether you think science is socially-friendly or not, you are right because as I’ve mentioned above we found ourselves in a changing path at this respect. For a long time research has been focused on excellence fighting to be at the highest of the quality rankings. BUT, the future (hopefully not a distant one) will consider excellent science a piece of the gear. The world is changing and we have all noticed that, also has science. Spain (and also other countries) has realized that most of its research does not end with any social, and therefore, real application. And that’s a huge problem! To improve this situation Europe came up with a good start, it’s called ‘Horizon 2020’, a programme that seeks to bring ideas to reality. Ideas that can help develop innovative technologies, ideas for fighting societal challenges such as demographic changes, efficient energy, environment, security, etc., and (if I may, I would like to put extra emphasis on this one) ideas for making science with and for society, which means that all societal actors may be involved in the process of aligning an idea with what society expects regarding its needs and values. Here I believe science communication has the utmost role.

Let’s keep moving in this direction because I think that in the same way that we cannot consider a world without science, we should not be able to consider science without society. And for those who already want to give their opinion about science topics I would say… start asking because now you have your biggest chance to make your voice be heard and help science and the world to move forward to a better and more inclusive world.

Teorías de la comunicación: la agenda-setting

Salvados

Imagen promocional de Salvados: El fenómeno Mercadona. Fuente: la Sexta.

En las facultades de periodismo, los estudiantes aprenden las teorías de la comunicación desarrolladas por aquellos especialistas que han tenido la capacidad de analizar los medios y su papel. La teoría de la aguja hipodérmica, la espiral del silencio o la agenda-setting son sólo algunas de ellas. Vamos a analizar esta última basándonos en el caso de Salvados. Continue reading

Glass ceiling

A glass ceiling is a metaphor used to represent an invisible barrier that limit women’s job advancement. It is imperative to know this term beforehand to find out why Democrat Hillary Clinton ended the election campaign at the Jacob K. Jarvits Convention Center. A building located on the west side of Manhattan with an area of 62,700m2, and characterized by being built entirely of glass.

Continue reading