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How Do You Say...?21-Jul-2018

Check out our latest Go Global Blog (https://www.bostonhomestayblog.com/go-global-blog/how-do-yo..

Welcome to Boston Homestay - Hokuriku High School Group16-Jul-2018

A group from Hokuriku High School in Japan arrives to homestay tonight. The short-term group wi..


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Boston Porchfest

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 31, 2018


If you're a resident of the Boston area you may have seen the term "Porchfest" advertised online, in newspapers, or on flyers around town. But what is a "Porchfest"? Here is your definitive guide to what that term means and where to experience a "Porchfest" near the city.


A Porchfest is an annual music event held on porches outside neighborhood homes. During a Porchfest local musicians hold free concerts for members of the community who walk the streets listening to music and attending different performances. Often times local restaurants will be selling food on the streets or will offer special sales for the festival goers. Other festivals, such as the Porchfest in Jamaica Plain, offer more than live music. JP Porchfest has designated areas for comedy and dance routines, too. Several neighborhoods in the Boston area hold their own version of a Porchfest throughout the summer. If you like live music, want to support local artists, or are looking for a chance to meet others in your neighborhood, check out a Porchfest in your area.


Fenway Porchfest: Saturday, June 16th

Porchfest Quincy: Saturday, June 23rd

Jamaica Plain Porchfest: Saturday, July 7th

International Summer Festivals

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, May 29, 2018

June 22nd will be the longest day of the year. The Summer Solstice signifies the first official day of summer in the United States and the start of what will hopefully be a period of warmer weather in Boston! The meaning of the Summer Solstice varies across cultures, though many recognize the start of summer with special holidays, festivals or rituals. While the United States does not have a popular holiday related to the start of summer, other areas of the world have specific cultural traditions that celebrate the Summer Solstice. Here is how some countries welcome the start of the summer season.

Kupala Night

Kupala Night is a celebration observed in countries with Slavic ancestry such as Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Belarus. The festival signifies the end of the summer solstice and the start of the harvest season. During this festival participants build fires that they then jump over to demonstrate bravery and strength. A strong theme of the festival is love, and couples will jump over the fire while holding hands to prove that their relationship will last. Additionally, women will float flower wreathes in rivers, which men then try to capture, in the hope of also capturing the interest of the woman who floated the wreath. A sinking wreath is considered a predication of loneliness while a floating wreath indicates the prospect of love. Some participants will also search through the woods for the mythical "fern flower", which is thought to bring good fortune if found, although botanical experts do not believe that this flower actually exists. Historically, this search was an excuse for unmarried couples to spend alone time together without a chaperone, though today is done just for fun. While the festival has Pagan roots it has been incorporated into the Christian calendar as "St. Johns Eve" however, it still contains Pagan elements such as fortune telling rituals and the wearing of flower crowns. Many of these traditions are customary to rural areas as the holiday has been given a more modern twist is major cities where fireworks and concerts are also held.


Midsummer

At the start of the Swedish holiday of Midsummer, many Swedes head to the country side to begin their five week summer vacation.  On Midsummer's Eve (usually a Friday between the 19th and 25th of June) cities essentially shut down as many businesses close and streets are deserted. Families gather together in the country and have large celebrations complete with traditional dances around a may pole and crafting flower wreathes and other decorations. A typical midsummer meal is a variety of pickled herring and potatoes as well as grilled salmon or ribs followed by strawberries for desert. After dinner many Swedes go out dancing. Midsummer is also a popular time for weddings or christenings. Despite the fact thatSwedes are not particularly religious, many people want to get married at a country church during this time of year.


The Duanwu Festival

The Duanwu Festival, known in the West as the "Dragon Boat Festival", is a traditional Chinese holiday that takes place each year near the summer solstice.The festival is also often called the "Double Fifth Festival" as it takes place on the fifth day of the fifth month of the Lunar Calendar. This year the festival will take place from June 16th to 18th. The Festival celebrates Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who is considered to be a martyr in the country. Qu Yaun was a member of the ruling house in the ancient state of Chu.  He drowned himself when the powerful Chinese state of Qin captured Ying, the Chu capital. The story of Qu Yuan describes how local admirers of Qu raced out on boats to try to save him. When they could not find Qu, they dropped balls of sticky rice into the river so that fish would eat them instead of Qu's body. This is the origin of Duanwu's dragon boat races and the reason why people snack on "zongzi", or sticky rice balls, during this holiday.

Boston will hold its own Dragon Boat Festival this summer. The 39th Annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival will take place over the weekend of June 9th - 10th and feature Dragon Boat races as well as performances, art, and food.


The Bon Festival

Japan's Bon Festival, or Obon, occurs this year on August 13th - 15th. The three day celebration honors Japanese ancestors and has become an opportunity for families to reunite and spend time together. During the festival people hang lanterns outside their houses to help guide their dead ancestors back home. Families will also visit and clean the graves of loved ones who have died. Perhaps the most significant tradition of the Bon Festival is the Bon Odori, a traditional folk dance that welcomes the spirit of the dead. The dance is different in each region with songs a lyrics specific to that area.

Boston will also host Obon celebrations this summer. Historically Japanese schools such as Boston Higashi School and Showa Boston will each have their own Bon Festival featuring music, dancing, and Japanese food.

Source: WikipediaCulture Trip, Meet the Slavs, Sweden.se, Colorzine

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, May 14, 2018

Memorial Day, the U.S. holiday that honors those who have lost their lives in the military, takes place next Monday, May 28th. As Memorial Day is federal holiday, many people will be traveling elsewhere for the long weekend. However, if you will be staying in the Boston area here are some exciting (and free!) ways to spend the holiday. 


Memorial Day Parades

Neighborhoods of the greater Boston area will hold memorial day parades over the weekend and on Monday. Most parades will feature local veterans as well as services and activities to honor fallen heroes. Somerville's Memorial Day celebration was early (Sunday, May 20th) but other parades, such as those in Brookline, Watertown, Belmont, Malden, Medford, Everett and Revere, will take place next Monday.This map shows where, when, and at what time each parade will occur.

The Boston Common Flag Garden

The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund's Flag Garden on Boston Common  is a Memorial Day tradition. Each Memorial Day tradition hundreds of volunteers help "plant" small American flags at the Commons' Soldiers and Sailors monument. The completed garden contains over 37,000 flags that represent each Massachusetts service member who lost their life defending the United States since the Revolutionary war. 

Free Admission to the MFA and ICA

On Memorial Day Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and Institute of Contemporary Art are offering free admission to all visitors.  This month the MFA and ICA have new exhibits such as "M.C. Escher Infinite Dimensions" and "Phantasmagoria" at the MFA and showcases by Kevin Beasley and Caitlin Keogh at the ICA.


The Run to Remember

Sunday, May 27th is the 14th annual "Run to Remember", a charity half-marathon or 5 mile race in honor of all first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The race is sponsored by the Boston Police Department and Boston Runner's Club. The race course, which begins at the Seaport World Trade Center, extends throughout downtown Boston. Proceeds from participant entry and donations will benefit community and children's programs of the Boston Police Runner's Club. "The Run to Remember" features other family-friendly events in the days leading up to the race. On Friday and Saturday, the Seaport World Trade Center will host a free Sports and Fitness Expo as well as a variety of activities for children. Popular Boston radio station, Mix 104.1, will also be on site both Saturday and Sunday playing music and providing entertainment.

The Month of Ramadan

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, May 10, 2018

May 15th marks the beginning of the Islamic celebration of Ramadan. Ramadan is not a well-known holiday to those outside of the Muslim community in America, but is widely observed by those who practice Islam. Here is a little information about this up-coming celebration.

(A Ramadan celebration is held at the White House each year. This tradition was started during the Clinton Administration and has been since followed by Bush and Obama. )

Islam is the world's second largest religion, after Christianity. Over 1 billion people in the world are Muslim, or followers of Islam. In the U.S. it is estimated that there is 7 million Muslim people, and each of the 50 U.S. states is home to at least one mosque, the Muslim place of worship. Followers of Islam believe that around 610 A.D. a man named Muhammad, from the now Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, started receiving messages from God (known as Allah) through the angel Gabriel. These messages have been collected in the holy book of Islam, known at the Quran (or Koran). Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last and final prophet in a line of prophets that includes such religious figures as Adam, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus Christ. Muslims also believe that God, Allah, is the single, all knowing God and that Muslims can achieve salvation by following the commandments of God. Five key concepts form the basis of the Islamic religion. These core ideas, known as the "Five Pillars of Islam", include a declaration of faith (known as shahada), prayer (five times per day), charitable giving (known as zakat), fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca.

(Mecca, Saudi Arabia)

Ramadan refers to the ninth month of the 12-month Islamic lunar calendar. It is the month that during which Muslims believe that Muhammad received the initial messages from God that became the Quran. Because the lunar calendar is based upon the phases of the moon, Ramadan does not start and end at the same time each year. This year, Ramadan begins at sunset on Tuesday, May 15th and ends on Thursday, June 14th.

Ramadan Practices

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until dusk each day. Fasting is seen in the Islamic religion as a cleansing process, meant to relive the body of toxins and also to show empathy for those who are less fortunate and may be hungry. The first meal of the day during Ramadan, eaten just before sunrise is known as "suhoor". Usually, healthy foods are eaten during this meal so that the person fasting has enough energy to last them throughout the day. East day's fast is broken with a meal known as "iftar". Iftars are typically larger, more elaborate feasts celebrated with the family or close friends. The foods eaten during the iftar meal vary across cultures.  


(Sweets prepared for Eid-Al Fitr)

Eid Al-Fitr

Eid Al-Fitr (or Eid ul-Fitr) is a major celebration that signifies the end of the month of Ramadan. The name of this celebration means "The Feast of Fast Breaking". Eid lasts three days following the end of Ramadan. During Eid Al-Fitr families will recite special prayers and enjoy meals with relatives and friends. Often gifts are exchanged among family members.

Source: History.com

(Free) Outdoor Events

Global Immersions Recruiting - Monday, May 07, 2018

Boston is finally seeing warmer weather, which means that it's a great time to be outside enjoying the sun and the city. Throughout the summer, different organizations are putting on events around Boston- and the best part is that they're free! If you're looking for something to do during the week, after work, or over the weekend, check out some of these fun events starting this month.

Lawn on D

Beginning this month and throughout the summer, the Lawn on D is open to the public almost every day. The Lawn on D is an open community space offering a variety of lawn games; such as bocce, corn hole, Jenga, ping-pong, giant chess, lawn checkers, and large connect-four. The Lawn on D also has a concession stand with a complete menu of food and beverages. During the week, the Lawn on D hosts different events, that are usually free to attend. Every Thursday night, the Lawn on D will host a free movie showing outdoors on a large projection screen. On the weekends the Lawn has live music performances or parties sponsored by different companies like Del's lemonade or Harpoon Brewery.

Boston Calling Block Parties

Boston Calling Block Parties are a free event series occurring every Thursday from now until the end of the summer. The event takes place weekly from 5 pm-8 pm in Dewey Square Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway and features a free performance from different local artists as well as a selection of beverages for those that wish to drink.

                                                                               

Berklee Greenway Concert Series

Pack a picnic and go support local artists! Talented musicians from Boston's Berklee College of music will be giving live performances in the North End area of the Rose Kennedy Greenway on Hanover street. Concerts will take place every Friday at 5:00 pm. These free concerts are a great way to hear some of the up and coming artists from Berklee while spending time relaxing outside.

                                                                              

The Coolidge At the Greenway

The Coolidge Corner theater is partnering with the Rose Kennedy Greenway to screen classic films outdoors in Wharf District Park during the summer. All films will be screened in 35 mm and begin at sunset. Spectators are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs to enjoy the film.