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

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How Do You Say...?

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, July 20, 2018

For the non-native English speakers in America, I imagine it's tricky. Have you thought about how we pronounce the same thing differently or have multiple names for the same object?


Here are some things America disagrees on...

  • Is it firefly or lightning bug?
  • Tennis shoes or sneakers?
  • Hair tie, hair elastic, hair band, ponytail holder or hair bow?
  • Y'all or you guys?
  • Soda, pop or coke? 
  • Water fountain or bubbler?
  • Sub, grinder or hoagie?
  • Lollipop or sucker?
  • Dinner or supper?
  • Garage sale or yard sale?
  • Crawfish, crayfish or crawdad?
  • Rotary, roundabout or traffic circle?

Words with a different regional pronunciations: crayon, aunt, mayonnaise, syrup, caramel, pajamas, cauliflower and route

Check out a full list with maps here and here.

For foreigners, American English can be confusing because usually the variation of a word someone uses is common in the area where they're are from. For example, if you are on the east coast, you might say sneakers, but on the west coast you might say tennis shoes.

Play a quiz here to determine which region you're from based on your vocabulary!

    

The Bostonian language is even more complicated. Between the thick accent that excludes the letter "r" and the sayings, it can be hard to understand. Basically in words, you replace "r" with "ah".  Some common slang phrases are...

Wicked - extremely or very such as "wicked awesome"

Down the Cape - Cape Cod

Dunkies / Dunks - Dunkin Donuts

Spa - convenience corner store

The Hub - Boston (Beantown)

Bang a U-ie - turn

Bubbler - water fountain

Pahlah - parlor meaning living room

Chowdah - clam chowder

cellah - cellar / basement

clickah - clicker / TV remote control

Jimmie's - sprinkles

Frappe - milkshake

No suh - no sir / no way

the Hill - Beacon Hill

the Vineyard - Martha's Vineyard


Take a quiz to test your Boston slang knowledge here.

For a full list of words check out the unofficial Boston dictionary here.

Click here to hear an authentic Bostonian accent and click here for a clip from James Corden and Matt Damon.

Whether you're a native speaker or a learner, good luck at understanding the American English and especially the Bostonian language!

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, July 12, 2018

                                                                           

National Ice Cream Day is this Sunday, July 15th!

Ever curious about the difference between soft serve vs. regular ice cream? Here's a little history lesson on the two:

   

Soft Serve 

Who doesn't love the soft, smooth and creamy taste of soft serve ice cream? It was originally invented in 1934 by Tom Carvel after his ice cream truck broke down in Hartsdale, New York.  His ice cream melted, yet customers still bought it. Carvel realized a lighter version of ice cream was a brilliant business idea. He created a secret recipe and opened a store called Carvel  within two years. Dairy Queen  had similar ideas when developing a soft serve recipe in 1938 in Moline, IL.  In a sample tasting of their new product, 1,600 servings were consumed within two hours. Still today, soft serve is a hit among ice cream lovers. It is lower in milk fat and stored at a lower temperature than regular ice cream.  Soft serve is up to 45% air in volume which gives it the fluffiness that melts in your mouth.

Regular Ice Cream 

Variations of ice cream can be traced back centuries to the ancient world.  It began in China around 200 BC where they used a mixture of milk, rice and snow. In 400 BC, Persians ate ice flavored with fruit and rose water. At this time in Ancient Greece, snow with honey and fruit was served at markets in Athens. In Rome, Emperors carried ice from mountains to combine it with fruit. During the sixteenth century, Mughal Emperors in India had ice transported to make fruit sorbets. By the 1600's, ice cream became popular in Europe appearing in recipes in French cookbooks. Ice cream finally reached North America by the mid 1700's as it was introduced by Quaker colonists. Fast forward to the 1840's and ice cream makers were invented in England and America by Agnes Marshall and Nancy Johnson. Today, the average American eats anywhere from 19-23 pounds of ice cream annually. It contains at least 10% milk fat and 16% sweeteners. 12% is milk and 55% is water.



    

Looking for the BEST ice cream in Boston?

There's obviously the infamous Ben & Jerry's,  Emack and Bolio's, and J. P. Lick's, but what about some other local shops?  Here are a few to try around Boston: Gracie's Ice Cream, Christinia's Homemade Ice Cream, Forge Ice Cream Bar,  Lizzy's Ice Cream, Tipping Cow Ice Cream,  BerryLine, Amorino, Toscanini's, Cold Stone Creamery, Juicy Spot Cafe, Blackbird Doughnuts,  Molly Moo's Ice Cream and Cafe.  

Looking for non-dairy options? Try FoMu which serves dairy free ice cream, vegan, gluten free, soy free and kosher sweets.

For more detailed information and the top 10 list check out these links below:

https://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaurants/2018/06/29/best-boston-ice-cream/

https://boston.eater.com/maps/best-new-ice-cream-boston

     

Craving Gelato and the Italian experience

Head to the North End to be transported to Italy to enjoy some delicious gelato.  During the summer, you can stroll the streets of the North End while enjoying a cone without the airfare!  Click here for a list of places in the North End where you can find the best gelato.

Fun Facts about Ice Cream

  • Chocolate ice cream was invented before vanilla
  • Vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor
  • In Norway, the record for the tallest ice cream cone was over 10 feet tall
  • 90 % of American's have ice cream in their freezer
  • New Zealand consumes the most ice cream
  • A record holding 1.75 gallons of ice cream was eaten in eight minutes 
  • Some of the strangest ice cream flavors are lobster, octopus, horseradish and raw horse flesh... ew!

Whether you're chilling at home or out at the beach, we hope you beat the heat and celebrate a day for eating ice cream!

   


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

(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.

Boston's Hidden Museum Gems

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 27, 2018

Boston has many well know museums, like The Museum of Science, The Museum of Fine Arts, or the Boston Children's Museum, just to name a few. What a lot of people don't know is that the Boston area has a ton of other lesser-known museums, that are just as interesting as those that are more commonly frequented. What most people also don't know is that many of these museums are free or discounted for students. If you have visited many of the more popular or "touristy" museums in Boston and want something new, check out one of these "hidden-gem" museums in the city.


Museum of African American History

The Museum of African American History contains some of the most important historical landmarks and acts as an important memorial to African American History in New England. The Museum's Boston location includes the Abiel Smith School and African Meeting House, located in Boston's Beacon Hill, a historically African American neighborhood in the 19th century. The African Meeting House has undergone historic restoration, returning the building to its 1855 appearance. The building was once a church, school, and community meeting place. The Abiel Smith school is the oldest surviving public school in the United States that was built for the purpose of educating African American children.  The Museum also conducts walking tours of the African American History Trail, which encompasses historic sites that depict life in Boston for free African Americans before the civil war. The MAAH contains some of the most important historical landmarks in the nation and acts as an important memorial to African American History in New England.

The Museum of Bad Art

While most art museums are dedicated to celebrated works of art, The Museum of Bad Art is dedicated to art that is exceptionally bad. This unconventional museum, located beneath the Somerville Theater, contains a collection of art that is "so bad its good." Some of the pieces are less appealing works of normally talented artists, whereas others have been created by "amateurs". The museum is great because it displays works that would never be hung in traditional galleries. The museum celebrates and honors the labor and creativity of artists whose work would otherwise go unappreciated or unseen. Admission to the museum is free with the purchase of a movie pass to the theater, however free passes can also be requested on the MoBA website if you want to skip the film.

The Gibson House Museum

The Gibson House was one of the first homes to be built in Back Bay. The Museum provides an inside look into a 19th century Victorian row house in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. The home, occupied for three generations by the Gibson's, a wealthy Bostonian family, has been preserved in its original 1860 style. The Museum collection includes original wallpaper, textiles, furniture, and family artifacts.  

The Boston Fire Museum

The mission of The Boston Fire Museum is to "preserve and display the fire fighting memorabilia from the Greater Boston area" while educating the public on fire safety and supporting fire fighters in general.  The Museum, which is housed in the old firehouse at 344 Congress Street in Boston's Seaport district, includes fire fighting artifacts such as alarms, equipment, antique fire apparatus and photographs. One of the most interesting exhibits at the Museum is the display of old fire trucks from the 18th and 19th centuries. Admission to the Fire Museum is free.


Warren Anatomical Museum

The Warren Anatomical Museum, located at Harvard Medical School, is one of the last surviving anatomy and pathology museums associated with a medical school. The Museum contains artifacts of health science, that in combination, detail the history of the profession. One of the more famous exhibits is the skull of Phineas Gage. The story of Phineas Gage is well known in the medical community as it informed much of what we know today about the brain and the way it functions. Phineas Gage survived an injury in which a metal rod was pierced through his skull and he was still able to function, though noticeable changes in his personality occurred after.


The Commonwealth Museum

The Commonwealth Museum is located near the more well -known JFK Library, and contains everything you would ever want to know about Massachusetts. The Museum's exhibit includes documents on the Pilgrims, dating from 1603, as well as letters from Governor John Winthrop, papers from Vice President John Adams, and records of the Sacco and Vanzetti case. Other popular artifacts include Paul Revere's copper plate depicting the Boston Massacre, The written charter given by Charles I to John Winthrop when he sailed from England to establish the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as well as Massachusetts' copy of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition to the trove of documents, the Museum also has many interactive exhibits that are interesting for kids as well as adults. Entry into the museum is free.


Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House

Further away from Boston, but still accessible by the Commuter Rail's Fitchburg Line, is Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House, the home where Louisa May Alcott wrote and set her famous novel "Little Women," a story modeled off of events and characters in the author's own life. Upon visiting the Alcott's home visitors can tour the house as well as learn about the family and items in the home that were significant to them. The home has been well preserved since it was lived in by the Alcott family. While you are in the area, you may want to also visit the nearby Walden Pond Reservation, a place made famous by Henry David Thoreau's Walden.

Lesser-Known Tip: Free Museums for Bank of America Card Holders

If you are a Bank of America card holder, as many of our international visitors are, you can receive free admission to many popular Massachusetts museums during the first full weekend of every month.  You can find a list of qualifying museums here.

Top 5 Sledding Hills in Boston

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, January 19, 2018

Take advantage of the inevitable snowfall this season by planning a sledding outing for your family and international visitor. There are many hills in the Boston area that are perfect for sledding and easily accessible from your own home. Read about some of the best sledding hills below, and remember to bundle up! 


Flagstaff Hill on Boston Commons

Flagstaff Hill is one of the more populated sledding hills due to its convenient location in The Commons. The hill, located near the baseball diamond and next to Charles Street, is only a short distance from either Park Street or Boylston T stops. While your there you can also try public skating at Frog Pond and warm up with a hot chocolate from the snack bar.                              


Larz Anderson Park in Brookline

The Larz Anderson park is home to a public ice skating rink as well as rolling hills of all sizes, making it a really fun spot for winter activities. The park is a popular sledding area for families near Brookline and Boston, so on particularly snowy days it may be crowded. Nevertheless, it is still exciting. The park is also located near the Larz Anderson Auto Museum and The Putterham School, a one roomed school house from colonial times. 

Arnold Arboretum in Roslindale

The Arnold Arboretum is open year round and is easily accessible from the MBTA Orange Line station at Forrest Hills. The Arboretum, endowed as a department of Harvard University, covers 250 acres around Roslindale and Jamaica Plane neighborhoods.  The best place for sledding at the Arboretum is down Peter's Hill, one of the steepest ad longest sledding runs near Boston.


Danehy Park in Cambridge

Danehy Park was once a landfill that was then repurposed into public recreation area. As a popular destination for area residents from Spring to early Fall, Danhey Park hosts public events, sports games, and even includes a dog park. The 50-acre spot of land is also the highest point in Cambridge. Its tall hills make the park enjoyable in winter months as well.  After a heavy snowfall, the park has excellent terrain for sledding. 

Need to find other hills near you? You can find more info on sledding hills in the Great Boston Area, as well as on the North and South shores here. 

Need a sled? Sleds are generally inexpensive at most department stores, or you learn can DIY here. 

When the Clock Strikes 12

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, December 28, 2017

Whether viewed as an anthem, lifestyle, or fact, it’s 5 o'clock Somewhere. On December 31, a different hour is anticipated. The New Year is rung in all over the globe, in each time zone with fireworks and festivities.

First Night Boston, the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country, derived from a woman’s dream for a nontraditional night out. In 1975, Clara and Bill Wainwright attended a New Year's Eve party and found it predictable. They envisioned an Inclusive family-friendly celebration. The couple began organizing their project of a creative night by meeting with local artists. With partners and sponsors, they were able to plan more more than a hundred individual events across the city, including concerts, displays, and fireworks. New England weather is unpredictable, and the temperature reached a windchill of ten degrees below zero. About 25,000 people bundled up to experience First Night. It has since become a tradition and inspired similar events throughout the country and the world. 

The first major city to experience the New Year is Sydney. The largest fireworks display of the world is presented on the harbor, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House making the show only more alluring. A ceremony presented by the Aboriginal peoples, showcases eucalyptus smoke billowing over the water, cleansing the Harbour of bad spirits. Family Fireworks go off at 9 pm for young Aussies to view, with the larger presentation following at the stroke of midnight. The parade of boats illuminated with strings of lights, glide through the harbor.

Perhaps the most thought celebration spot for New Year’s Eve is New York City. With millions gathering to watch the ball drop in Times Square and hours of notable musical guests, it is no wonder it is the most famous. The pricey alternative to partying outside is to have reservations or attend parties at the restaurants or bars overlooking the festivities. Crowds aren’t for everyone, which makes the televised broadcast, “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest” such a success. 


“Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest” now features segments from the Las Vegas party with additional guest appearances from celebrities. The Las Vegas Strip is known for entertainment, making it one of the great party destinations. On New Year’s Eve the road is shut down and transformed into a street party with live bands and pyrotechnics from various locations.

Another city known for partying, Rio de Janeiro is a top New Year’s Eve Destination. Known for its Carnival blowout, the New Year’s Eve bash maintains the same level of excitement, making it the largest New Year’s Eve party in the world. Over two million flock to the two and a half mile stretch of sand, known as Copacabana Beach. While Copacabana Beach is the most popular, smaller events will take place on other beaches and locations. Locals will traditionally wear white and will toss flowers and offerings into the ocean. Oceanfront stages host live musical and dance performances.


Needless to say, cities around the world are well-versed in celebrating the New Year. What are YOUR plans to welcome in 2018? 

Everyone here at Global Immersions hopes you have a fabulous New Year!!

Christmas: Then and Now

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, December 21, 2017

The winter solstice marked the short, harsh and dark winter days were coming to an end. Longer days and extended hours of sunlight are highly anticipated and brought hope to those seeking comfort in the sun. This Pagan celebration was soon absorbed by others and transitioned into a Christian holiday. The winter holiday became an anniversary celebration of the birth of Jesus. From one religion to another and constantly evolving, Christmas of today has religious implications but the commercialized aspects have far outgrown the religious ones. Narratives once revolved around Jesus, but Santa Claus has since become the integral character for Christmas stories.

Not always the popular holiday it is today, Christmas was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. Puritan beliefs countered the celebration and those participating in Christmas festivities were fined five shillings. While other settlements did not have these strict regulations and Christmas slowly gained popularity. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States in on June 26, 1870. Globalization and developing technologies have changed and spread traditions. Each family has different traditions, as does each country. Other traditions and celebrations are unique to a country or town.

Christmas trees have become a symbol of Christmas. Christmas trees were first seen in Germany and immigrants brought the concept to the United States. Thought of as a Pagan tradition, it was not widely embraced initially. The first record of a Christmas tree being publicly displayed was in the 1830s. This display in Pennsylvania was created by German immigrants who had been decorating such trees in their communities for years. Popularity of Christmas trees grew after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who was German, were photographed with their children around one.

St. Lucia (Lucy) Day is celebrated widely, but most common in Scandinavia on December 13. The name Lucy refers to “light” and the celebration initially coincide with the winter solstice. To commemorate her death, a girl will dress in a white gown with a red sash around the waist. A crown of twigs and nine lit candles adorn her head. Processions are common in towns and one girl is selected for the honor of leading it. She will dress with the sash and crown of candles, but the other participants will carry a candle


Gävlebocken, the Gävle Goat, is a holiday display in Gävle, Sweden. Comprised of straw, the goat has cost upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to create and maintain. Since the tradition was introduced in 1966, the Gävle Goat has been destroyed by vandals 35 times in the past 50 years. Increased resources have been allocated to the protection of the display.  

While everyone might be dreaming of a white Christmas, some have white sandy beaches. In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is in the middle of summer. Australians  tend to go to the beach and have a picnic as their Christmas meal. The weather permits plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy.


All in all, Christmas around the world is celebrated in various styles and fashions, but most people would agree that the most important part of Christmas is the time we spend with family!

Merry Christmas to all!

The Story of Hanukkah

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a centuries-old Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. As legend goes, in 166 BC, the Jewish people rose against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. First led by father and priest, Mattathias Maccabee, and then by his son, Judah, the rebellion lasted for well over two years, and ended in what is considered the 'miracle' of light.

The Greek-Syrian oppressors had desecrated the holy Temple in Jerusalem by erecting a statue of Zeus and sacrificing pigs upon its altar. Their leader, Antiochus, gave the Jewish people an ultimatum: conversion or death. Though outnumbered, Judah Maccabee and his followers won two important battles, virtually ridding the city of the Greek-Syrian oppressors.

At the end of the Maccabean Revolt, Judah called upon his followers to cleanse the Temple, rebuild its original altar, and light its menorah. To everyone's dismay, there was only enough untainted oil to keep the menorah lit for a single day. The flames, however, continued to flicker for eight nights, allowing the Jewish people enough time to find a fresh supply of oil. This miracle inspired the annual eight-day festival of lights, Hanukkah, which means 'dedication' in Hebrew, and reminds Jews today to rededicate themselves to the Jewish religion, culture, and people.

Today, the celebration of Hanukkah revolves around lighting the menorah, eating foods cooked in oil (such as latkes and jam-filled donuts), playing with toy dreidels, and spending time with family. Though it is not considered a Jewish "high holiday", in which restrictions are placed on school, work, or other activities,  Hanukkah has seen an explosion of commercial attention, as it usually lands near Christmas. This year, Hanukkah began on Tuesday, December 12, and will go through Wednesday, December 20.

Happy Hanukkah to all!

Sources: History and RJ

A Boston Holiday Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 06, 2017

As many of you know, the start of December is the official kick off for the Winter holiday season, and Boston is as charming a city as they come this time of year. If you're looking for fun things to do this month, then look no further because we've compiled a list of the best activities this season.

Light shows:

Greenway Carousel: From December 1, 2017 through January 1, 2018, head over to the Greenway Carousel to take a spin against the backdrop of bright, festive light shows and favorite holiday tunes. Beginning at 4:45pm and running until close, these light shows are sure to brighten up a cold winter's evening.

Somerville Illumination Trolley Tours: Several homes in Somerville go all out with their holiday decorations, and the Somerville Arts Council created a trolley tour to shuttle interested parties from house to house to check them out. Tour is Saturday, December 16, from 4:30pm to 10:00pm. 

ZooLights, Stoneham: Every year, the Stoneham Stone Zoo puts on a dazzling holiday light show from 5:00pm to 9:00pm each evening through December 31. This spectacular display is in addition to wonderful holiday-themed decorations added to many animal enclosures.

The Lynn Fells Parkway, Saugus: For over 60 years, families pile into their cars for a slow drive down the Lynn Fells Parkway on the North Shore. Most residents on this mile-long stretch of road gave up counting the number of bulbs on their property, though their estimates are in the thousands.

Blink! Faneuil Hall: Holiday shoppers around the Faneuil Hall area have been able to enjoy an audiovisual show called Blink!, where 350,000 LED lights dance to the music of the Holiday Pops. The spectacle lasts about 7 minutes, but plays throughout the night from 4:30pm to 9:30pm until January 1.

La Salette Shrine: For over 60 years, La Salette Shrine in Attleboro has amazed visitors with displays of over 300,000 lights spread across 10 acres. There is also an international crèche museum with more than 1,000 crèches. Open daily from 5:00pm to 9:00pm though January 1.

Your OWN! If you can, take your visitor along for a drive around the neighborhood to see all of the holiday decorations near your home! And for a more comprehensive list of the best light shows around Boston, follow this link!

More holiday activities:


December can be a brutally cold month, and you won't always want to enjoy the holiday cheer outdoors. Instead, perhaps purchasing tickets to Boston Ballet: The Nutcracker, or the Holiday Pops show, or to Black Nativity, or to the Disney on Ice: Dream Big tour will fill you with the holiday spirit while keeping your hands and toes warm. Either way, any of these shows will prove to be quite fun. The Nutcracker and the Holiday Pops show run through December 31, Black Nativity will run through December 17, and the Disney on Ice tour will be here until January 1!

Another fun way to get into the holiday spirit is on the Northern Lights Boston Harbor cruise. There are three different holiday cruises this year: the Irish Christmas Carols Cruise, the Holiday Jazz Cruise, and the Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise, all featuring live music, holiday decor, and delicious beverages. Take your pick of these cheerful holiday cruises!


If you're downtown completing your holiday shopping, you should also check out the different ice skating opportunities! Frog Pond is an age-old favorite for many Bostonians. Bring your own or rent some skates and twirl on the rink surrounded by holiday lights covering Boston Common's trees. The city's newest skating venue is right in City Hall Plaza for Boston's Winter Wonderland. Open 7 days a week, Boston Winter offers a skating opportunity as well as an outdoor holiday shopping market!

Love to ski or snowboard? Nashoba Valley Ski Area is only 45 minutes away from Boston and has a lovely relaxed environment. The Blue Hills in Canton, MA is a family-oriented, good-for-learners mountain, and Pats Peak is another mountain in Southern New Hampshire that has lots of ski/snowboard instructors on site and homemade food in the cafeteria. If you'd like a longer list of nearby skiing and snowboarding opportunities, follow this link!

If you're interested in Boston's history, then come out to the 244th Boston Tea Party Reenactment. On December 16, 6:30pm, meet at the Old South Meeting House near State Street to join more than 100 volunteer reenactors, including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock. The procession will gather at the Old South Meeting House for a debate and proceed with fifes and drums in tow to Griffin's Wharf to dump a load of tea in the Boston Harbor. Rain or shine, it should be a sight to see!


Last and certainly not least, welcome in the New Year at First Night 2018! Join the million or so people who come to celebrate the New Year in Boston at this huge city-wide event. There will be entertainers, food, performances, a parade, fireworks, and ice sculptures. Be sure to bundle up and head into the city on December 31 for some great eats and even better experiences!