Monday, December 1, 2008


Christmas in the USA

Christmas celebrations vary greatly between regions of the United States, because of the variety of nationalities which have settled in it.

In Pennsylvania, the Moravians build a landscape, called a putz - under the Christmas tree, while in the same state the Germans are given gifts by Belsnickle, who taps them with his switch if they have misbehaved.

In Alaska, a star on a pole is taken from door to door, followed by Herod's Men, who try to capture the star. Colonial doorways are often decorated with pineapple, a symbol of hospitality.

In Alaska, boys and girls with lanterns on poles carry a large figure of a star from door to door. They sing carols and are invited in for supper.

In Washington D.C., a huge, spectacular tree is lit ceremoniously when the President presses a button and turns on the tree's lights.

In Boston, carol singing festivities are famous. The singers are accompanied by hand bells.

In New Orleans, a huge ox is paraded around the streets decorated with holly and with ribbons tied to its horns.

In Arizona, the Mexican ritual called Las Posadas is kept up. This is a ritual procession and play representing the search of Mary and Joseph for a room at the inn. Families play the parts and visit each other's houses enacting and re-enacting the drama and, at the same time, having a look at each family's crib.

In Hawaii, Christmas starts with the coming of the Christmas Tree Ship, which is a ship bringing a great load of Christmas fare. Santa Claus also arrives by boat.

In California, Santa Claus sweeps in on a surf board.

In America the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit.

The majority of Americans celebrate Christmas with the exchange of gifts and greetings and with family visits. For many, the day begins on Christmas Eve with the Midnight Mass. At Christmas it snows in many states, so dinner is usually eaten indoors. Dinner usually is roast turkey, goose, duck or ham served with cranberry sauce, then plum pudding or pumpkin pie followed by nuts and fruit.

American homes are decorated with holly, mistletoe and branches of trees, most have a Christmas tree hung with electric lights, tinsel, baubles, and strings of popcorn and candy canes.

There are two homes for Santa Claus in the United States one is in Torrington, Connecticut, where Santa and his helpers give out presents. The other home is in Wilmington, New York, where a village for Santa and his reindeer is located.

Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day

December 10, 2008

A celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. The historic document, often labeled a "Modern-Day Magna Carta," outlines the human rights standards the UN believes should be enforced by all nations—among them "the right to life, liberty and nationality, to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to work, to be educated, [and] to take part in government."

That day in 1948 could arguably be called the birth of the modern human rights movement. With widely agreed-upon universal standards in place, "atrocities" could be more concretely labeled "violations" and could be more readily acted against. States that have embraced these standards have, since 1948, observed December 10 as Human Rights Day.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

December 1, 2008

Worldwide the estimated number of people living with HIV is over 33 million.

An estimated one million Americans are living with HIV.


  1. Join the “Facing AIDS: World AIDS Day 2008” Campaign
  2. In four easy steps, you can help reduce the stigma around HIV/AIDS:
  3. Take a picture of yourself wearing a red ribbon. Be creative!
  4. Add the photo to your social network profiles, Twitter, blog, and/or website before December 1. Leave it up for at least a week.
  5. Add your photo to the “World AIDS Day 08” Flickr group!
  6. Encourage your friends to do the same and to promote HIV testing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama will be the 44th U.S. President

After a nearly two-year campaign, Democrat Barack Obama becomes the first African American to win the White House. On January 20, 2009, he is scheduled to be inaugurated the 44th president of the United States.
The next president of the United States has said he will withdraw troops from Iraq, cut taxes for 95 percent of working families and improve America’s relationships with its allies.

Post your messages or comments about the President-elect Obama.

Friday, October 31, 2008

American Corner Skopje Monthly Program

American Corner Tetovo Monthly Program

International Education Week

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

Participation of all individuals and institutions interested in international education and exchange activities, including schools, colleges and universities, embassies, international organizations, businesses, associations, and community organizations is encouraged.

For further information visit the official web site: or visit the official IEW Facebook page.


In the United States, Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day is an annual one-day legal holiday to express gratitude for the things one has at the end of the harvest season. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. The period from Thanksgiving Day to New Year's Day is often collectively referred to as the "holiday season." Thanksgiving is generally considered a secular holiday, and is not directly based in religious canon or dogma. Though the holiday's origins can be traced to harvest festivals that have been celebrated in many cultures since ancient times, the American holiday has religious undertones related to the deliverance of the English settlers after the brutal winter at Plymouth. Most people celebrate by gathering at home with family or friends for a holiday feast. A tradition also exists to share the fruits of the harvest with those who are less fortunate.

In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. First and foremost, turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as "Turkey Day"). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn (maize), other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. All of these primary dishes are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived.
The tradition of giving thanks to God is continued today in various forms. Religious and spiritual organizations offer services and events on Thanksgiving themes the week-end before, the day of, or the week-end after Thanksgiving.

In celebrations at home, it is a holiday tradition in many families to begin the Thanksgiving dinner by saying grace. Found in diverse religious traditions, grace is a prayer before or after a meal to express appreciation to God, to ask for God’s blessing, or in some philosophies, to express an altruistic wish or dedication. The grace may be led by the hostess or host, as has been traditional, or, in contemporary fashion, each person may contribute words of blessing or thanks. According to a 1998 Gallup poll, an estimated 64 percent of Americans say grace.
On Thanksgiving Day, families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner, the result being that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. In the United States, Thanksgiving is a four-day or five-day weekend vacation in school and college calendars. Most business and government workers (78% in 2007) are also given both Thanksgiving and the day after as paid holidays. Thanksgiving Eve, on the Wednesday night before, has been one of the busiest nights of the year for bars and clubs, both in terms of sales and volume of patrons, as many students have returned to their hometowns from college.
Bouquet of Thanks

'Tis the season to express everything you are thankful for. This simple project makes a wonderful centerpiece that's not only colorful, but interactive as well! Have your kids make these leaf cards and as your guests arrive, ask them to write what they are thankful for inside. Just before dinner, have everyone choose a card from the bouquet and take turns reading them out loud.

What you'll need:

Construction paper (yellow, red, brown, green, and orange)


Black Sharpie marker

Dowels and/or craft sticks

White craft glue

Basket of your choice (weaved baskets work well)

Floral foam

Spanish or American moss

Wide decorative ribbon

Leaf Paten (see printable PDF of leaves)

How to make it:

Cut out leaves from pattern sheet or make your own.

Fold construction paper in half evenly.

Lay leaf pattern so that the end of the leaf rests on the crease.

Trace around the leaf pattern and cut it out, you should end up with leaf-shaped cards.

Write the name of each of your guests on the front of the leaves.

After your guests have written what they are thankful for inside the card, glue a dowel or craft stick to the back of it and let it dry.

Tie a piece of decorative ribbon around the rim of a basket.

Place a chunk of floral foam inside the basket and cover with moss.

As the sticks dry, insert them through the moss and into the floral foam.


Our pattern has three different leaves to accommodate different age groups. There is a simple oval-shaped leaf for small children, an intricate leaf for older kids, and one that falls in between the two. Choose patterns based on your child's age and comfort level.

Parents can prepare the basket ahead of time in a matter of minutes. This will allow the children to concentrate on cutting and gluing.

You may want to hot glue the floral foam inside the bottom of the basket to keep it from moving around as people begin "plucking" the bouquet. You can also hot glue the moss onto the foam if you like.

Veterans Day

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

Tomb of the Unknowns

Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


While not an official holiday, the traditional October 31 Halloween celebration is much beloved by children in the

United States, for whom the day is a chance to don costumes— often depicting ghosts, goblins and other "supernatural" creatures—and to collect candy and other treats from adults.

Today, the two most prevalent Halloween customs are costumes and "trick-or-treat."

While an estimated 36 million American youngsters dress up as “spooky” or supernatural characters—ghosts, witches, skeletons and the like—the purpose is not to promote the occult, but to collect candy.

The costumed children, usually accompanied by their parents (who often wait discreetly in the background) appear at their neighbors’ doors shouting "Trick or treat!" The neighbors, feigning fear of such

scary ghosts, vampires and zombies, quickly distribute the treats, so as

to avoid any possible "trick."

A third custom is the decoration of a pumpkin by scooping out the

inside, carving out a face and illuminating the result with a candle. Today, these “jacko’- lanterns” are purely decorative but they originated long ago in Britain, where turnips were used, and the “jacks” were believed to ward off evil spirits.

Test your Halloween knowledge with this QUIZ!!!

World Space Week

The United Nations-declared World Space Week takes place every year from 4-10 October. In 2007, the central topic will be the 50th anniversary of the Space Age.

World Space Week celebrates the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. Endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1999, it marks the anniversary of two milestones in the human exploration and use of outer space: the launch of the first artificial satellite, SPUTNIK I, on 4 October 1957, and the entry into force of the Treaty Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, which took place on 10 October 1967

Columbus Day Crafts!

Egg Cup Ships

This Columbus Day, make your vary own mini versions of the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria! This fun recycle project is easy to put together and great for a classroom activity.

What you'll need:

  • 3 cardboard egg cups
  • Brown acrylic craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • ¼ cup modeling clay or play dough
  • 6 toothpicks
  • 1 sheet white paper
  • Scissors
  • White craft glue

How to make it:

  1. Paint the egg cups inside and out with brown paint. Set aside to dry.
  2. Cut sails from white paper. You will need 6 large sails (1.5” x 1”) and 18 small sails (.5” x .75”)
  3. Set aside three of the toothpicks for the large sails. Break or cut the other three toothpicks in half, giving you 6 halves.
  4. Put a line of glue through the middle of one of the small sails. Place the cut or broken end of one of the toothpick halves onto the glue line.
  5. Roll it in the glue to cover both sides, then place another sail on top, sandwiching the two sails together. Flatten the sails together with your fingers and set aside to dry.
  6. Repeat step number 5 with each toothpick half and 2 small sails (each).
  7. Following the guide in step number 5, make the larger salls. For each large sail you will need a toothpick, 2 small sails and 2 large sails. Glue the small sail to the end of the full toothpick, and then glue the larger sail beneath it, leaving a small gap between the top and bottom sail. Set aside to dry.
  8. Roll a small amount of clay in your palm, enough to line the bottom of the egg cup. Place in the egg cup and flatten to cover bottom.
  9. Insert open end of large sail into the middle of the clay. Insert two small sails, one on either side of the large sail, into the clay.

Columbus Day Quiz

Test your knowledge- Columbus Day Quiz

Columbus Day

The first recorded celebration honoring the discovery of America by Europeans took place on October 12, 1792 in New York City. The event, which celebrated the 300th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World, was organized by The Society of St. Tammany (also known as the Columbian Order).

San Francisco's Italian community held their first Columbus Day celebration in 1869. In 1892, President Benjamin Harrison urged citizens to participate in the the 400th anniversary celebration of Columbus' first voyage. It was during this event that the Pledge of Allegiance, written by Francis Bellamy, was recited publically for the first time.

Colorado was the first state to observe the holiday in 1905.

In 1937, President Roosevelt proclaimed October 12 as "Columbus Day" and in 1971, President Nixon declared the second Monday of October a national holiday.The first recorded celebration honoring the discovery of America by Europeans took place on October 12, 1792 in New York City.

Columbus Day is celebrated on October 13, 2008, to commemorate the historic landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New books in AC Skopje

Over 200 new titles !!!
  • Economy
  • Geography
  • Politics
  • Fiction
  • Computers
  • Art and Music
  • Psychology
  • Gender Issues
  • Social Sciences
  • Literature
  • Anthropology
  • Poetry

And many, many more!!

95 of these books are a donation from Ambassador Milovanovic.

The other are donations from:

Arin Sneeringer,
Jennifer Tuman,
Erin Traeger,
Carri Traeger,
Jeffrey Shrader,

the American High School in Kosovo and

the American Corner Skopje Staff

Anna in the Tropics - Hispanic Heritage Month at AC Bitola

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is September 15-October 15

Today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 44 million people in the United States are of Hispanic origin.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

The term Hispanic, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, refers to Spanish-speaking people in the United States of any race. On the 2000 Census form, people of Spanish/Hispanic/Latino origin could identify themselves as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or "other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." More than 35 million people identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino on the 2000 Census.