Traditions in the UK vary depending on which part of the country you are from. Traditional religious festivities such as Christmas and Easter have less religious connotations attached to them due to an ever-increasing secular society. Corporate interest and late-stage capitalism have also averted the traditions of these celebrations, towards culture and industry of shopping and consuming. The traditions that occur in my family household, are quite simple nowadays. If you are from a religious family, then you might attend midnight mass on the 24th of December, however, we just drink some prosecco and watch a Christmas film or an episode of Only Fools and Horses, a British comedy from the 1980s.
On Christmas day we wake up have a nice breakfast, then open our presents. Later, we have the big dinner which my mother usually makes and we feast on roast turkey, roast potatoes, stuffing, pigs in blankets, and lots of gravy. Being so full from our food we just drink and play board games. A typical British Christmas usually involves lots of alcohol and a familial grouping in silence around the television, usually to watch the Queen’s Christmas Day Message.
Easter does not really matter to our secular family as it would to those Christian ones who would probably attend a morning service at their local church. We treat it as a nice long weekend and gauge ourselves on a variety of Belgian chocolates. After this, we would take a walk in the countryside and try to burn off those calories.
My favorite tradition of all in the United Kingdom is the Notting Hill Carnival. Originating in 1966 to celebrate the Jamaican and Caribbean diaspora that was in the UK. Over one million people attended this festival on the August bank holiday to celebrate black culture and music. The music is the aspect I love the most (the jerk chicken as well). Amazing sound systems are set up in many different streets in West London, where they play Jamaican Dancehall, Roots Reggae, Soca music, and Calypso, plus so much more. Massive floats move through the main streets, hosting a plethora of steel drums and amazing dancers. The dancing, music, and food are amazing examples of the beauty of West Indian and African culture. I look forward more to Carnival than I do for Christmas day. Having fun by dancing with friends and eating great rice and peas, it truly is a magnificent weekend.
James Garn, from the United Kingdom. My interests include photography, music (especially jazz, hip/hop, and reggae), and philosophy.
Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing to a diverse and rich Europe.
Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.
In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.
Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.
Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.