Category World and it\’s People

What is the importance of vegetables?

Brightly coloured plants add crunch to your lunch – and healthy vitamins, too. No wonder parents everywhere say, “Eat your vegetables!”

What vegetables do you munch? That partly depends on where you live and what plants grow there. In Indonesia, many people enjoy asinan, a tasty dish usually made of mustard leaves, bean sprouts, bean paste, radishes, and peanuts. All these planrs thrive in the hot, wet climate. In China, the root of the lotus flower is sliced for salads.

People serve lots of cabbage, carrots, and potatoes in the United Kingdom, where the weather is wet and mild, in sunny Mexico, people eat red peppers, green peppers, and maize.

Beetroot grows well in cool places, and cooks in Poland, Russia, and Scandinavia make a delicious beetroot soup called borscht.

Right now, wonderful vegetables from far away are waiting at your shop. Try a new one today! With so many colourful, crunchy choices, you might want to eat only vegetables.


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What is the importance of rice?

Growing rice is hard but important work. In many Asian countries, the word rice is also the word for rice.

An old Chinese story tells how rice became good to eat. At one time, the grains of the rice plant were empty and not good as food. One day a goddess saw people suffering because they were always hungry. To help the people, the goddess secretly filled the grains with milk. That made the rice good to eat. From then on, people were not so hungry.

The story shows how important rice is. For more than half the people in the world, rice has been the main course at every meal for thousands of years.

Southeast Asia’s hot, wet climate is perfect for growing rice. Farm families in China, Vietnam, and other rice-growing countries plant young rice seedlings in large, flooded fields. When the rice begins to ripen, they drain the water from the fields. At harvest time, they gather and dry the rice.

Rice is much, much more than food. Rice is used to make alcohol, paper, cosmetics, glue, starch, paste, and vinegar. Rice stalks are used to make brooms, hats, mats, rope, sacks and sandals.


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What do we eat?

Are you hungry? Would you like some alligator eggs? What about strawberry ice cream? Raw meat in red-pepper sauce? Maybe a few fried ants?

Do those sound tasty or terrible? It all depends on who are and where in the world you live.

Everyone, everywhere, must eat to live. But what people eat, how they cook their food, and even they eat can be very different.

Do you eat bread? Most people in the world do. In fact, bread is the world’s number-one food choice.

Bread is made from grain, such as wheat, maize, oats, barley, rye, or rice. First, the grain is mixed with other ingredients, which may include water, salt, and yeast, to make a dough. Then it is baked.

Bread comes in all shapes and textures. It can rise and be fluffy, like yeast breads or quick breads, or it can lie flat as a pancake. It can be shaped in a loaf, twisted into doughnuts, rolled into rolls, or cut into crackers.

Soft or crusty bread is preferred in Europe, the U.S.A., and Canada, but flat bread is common elsewhere. In Mexico, people eat flat cornmeal or wheat tortillas. In China, thin rice bread is wrapped around other foods. In India, the flat chapatti is baked from ground wheat. In Turkey, a pancake-shaped pita makes a tasty pocket for meat and vegetables. Crusty, long, thin baguette loaves are popular in France. Dark, chewy rye bread is a favourite in Russia and Germany.


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What is neighbourhood?

A neighbourhood is a place where people live together. Every neighbourhood is special to the people who live there.

Do you live in the middle of a busy city or in a tiny farm town? Are you in a suburb in Australia or do you live in the African desert? No matter where you live, you have neighbours. They might be very close by, or they may be miles away.

Do you know your neighbours? How are they like you? What do you do together? How do you help one another? Some people live in the desert in Africa. They live in tents that are easy to take down and move. A whole group will move together, neighbours and all. Many people in Australia live on ranches raising cattle and sheep. Ranches in Australia can be many miles apart, so people don’t see their neighbours often.

In towns and small cities, families live near each other. Neighbours are always nearby. People who live in big cities live close to their neighbours and see people all the time.

Neighbours keep things lively in every kind of neighbourhood. What do your neighbours do?

Many people in Newfoundland and Labrador live near the ocean and fish for a living. Some boys from Tanzania in eastern Africa help their families farm cattle on the grasslands. The Amish are religious people in the U.S.A. who live together in farm communities. When an Amish farmer needs a new barn, all the Amish neighbours come together to build it.


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Do clothes talk?

What do your clothes say about you? They’re not talking? Are you sure? Clothes tell a lot about who you are and where you live.

Many people wear folk costumes for religious festivals and ceremonies. Different cultures have different folk costumes.

Women from Kenya, Africa, wear clothes with bright colours and bold patterns. On holidays in Scotland, men dress in kilts-knee-length, pleated wool skirts. Each kilt is woven in a special plaid called a tartan. Each Scottish clan, or group of families, has its own tartan. Women in Guatemala weave all the colours of the rainbow into their traditional clothing. The silver ornaments and jewellery of these people on the island of Borneo in Malaysia show that they are important in their village. They are dressed for a special celebration. On special days, Japanese people wear silk kimonos with beautiful embroidery. American teenagers spend a lot of time together. They usually wear clothes that are very much like the ones that their group of friends wears.

People everywhere dress to protect themselves from the weather. They also dress to look good.

Clothes aren’t needed in the steamy forests of Brazil. But jewellery is very important. Forest dwellers in Brazil make beautiful jewellery out of treasures found in the jungle-stones, bones, teeth, claws, and feathers. For colourful ear ornaments, they may use the bright feathers of the toucan.

In Kenya, Africa, the Masai people wear necklaces and head-dresses made from hundreds of brightly coloured beads. They thread the beads together in patterns.

People have worn jewellery since prehistoric times. Sometimes they thought jewellery could bring good luck. Sometimes it was worn to show how important a person was or as part of a religious ceremony.

Jewellery is most often used as a decoration. When you wear a new watch or tie beads in your hair, your jewellery shows the world who you are and how you feel.

Egyptians long, long ago placed gold jewellery and precious gems in the tombs of their kings, who were called pharaohs. This was to help the pharaoh have good fortune in the afterlife.


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When is your special day?

Throughout the world, people have different traditions for marking the passing of years.

In Europe and the U.S.A., one tradition is to blow out candles on a birthday cake and make a wish.

In China, everyone adds a year to their age at the same time on the Chinese New Year, which is between the end of January and the end of February.

In the Philippines, birthdays are celebrated when a child is 1, 7, 14, and 21 years old. In some Native American tribes, a special ceremony is held when children are given their tribal name at around 4 years of age.

Many people have traditions to mark the end of childhood. A Tamil girl of Sri Lanka is allowed to wear a sari, the beautiful dress of a woman, when she is about 13.

When a Jewish boy is 13, he has his bar mitzvah. A Jewish girl has her bat mitzvah at age 12. Both boys and girls read from holy books and answer religious questions.

In Brazil, Mexico, and other Hispanic countries, a girl’s 15th birthday is very special. The family holds a big coming-of-age party. This is called a quinceañera.

The idea of putting candles on birthday cakes goes back to ancient Greece. The Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Among them was one called Artemis. Artemis was the goddess of the moon. The Greeks celebrated her birthday once each month by bringing special cakes to her temple. The cakes were round, like a full moon. And, because the moon glows with light, the cakes were decorated with lighted candles.


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How do you celebrate?

People use traditions to mark important days. On special days for your family, there will be certain ceremonies, special foods, and maybe even presents. These are your traditions.

Family traditions mark big life changes and smaller ones, too. Some families have traditions for the first or last day of each school year, including eating special meals or wearing special outfits. School and college graduations are big days for many families. People celebrate them with photographs and parties.

Traditions welcome new babies to the world. Some Christian families take their babies to church to be baptized. The ceremony marks their entry into the Christian faith. In Japan’s Shinto religion, a mother takes her baby to a shrine to “show” it to the gods and give thanks for its life.

In Swaziland, Africa, parents burn animal hair and animal skins. Then they hold a new baby in the smoke to give it lifelong protection from wild animals. Among the Lao of Southeast Asia, it is a tradition to rub a baby’s body with salt to protect it from evil.

Weddings are also filled with traditions. An Arab bride arrives at her wedding hidden in a tent on top of a camel. The groom pretends to run away, and his friends catch him. Then the wedding ceremony begins.

At a Shinto wedding in Japan, the bride wears a kimono and covers her face with white powder. The bride and groom must take nine sips of rice wine together.

In many Western countries, some brides wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”. In many Western countries, brides traditionally wear a long white dress and veil. In India, brides wear red and cover themselves with gold jewellery.

Traditions also help us say good-bye and show respect when someone dies. In Western countries, a dead person’s body may be placed in a coffin and buried. Sometimes the body is burned rather than buried. The person’s ashes may be placed in a vase, or urn.

In the Hindu religion, tradition calls for a body to be burned. In India, the ashes are thrown into the holy River Ganges.

At a funeral in Western countries, people often wear black to show respect and sadness. In China, people wear white for mourning.


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What families do together?

Families work, learn, grow, and have fun together-each in its own way. Everywhere in the world, family members love and help one another.

Many children help cook for their family. Children in many families care for their younger brothers and sisters. 

Many families worship together. Families play and explore together in all kinds of ways. Some may visit faraway places. Many families work together. They grow crops and take care of their homes. In families, people teach and learn from each other.

Cleaning the house can easily be made into fun family activity. Put on some nice music, put the baby in the baby carrier and clean the house together. Making this a weekly routine, rewarded with coffee and cake or popcorn and a movie. When your children get older they will learn to participate in the household chores and they will learn to work in a team. Making cleaning and tidying into a fun activity and a weekly tradition, will create positive memories.

Early on you should start playing age appropriate board games and do puzzles together. This will help your child’s development and practice solving tasks and train the brain. Board games and Puzzling develops hand and eye coordination and fine motor skills. It also develops attention, concentration and thinking skills such as recognizing, remembering, matching and sorting.  


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Who are you?

Are you Alex? Sophie? David? Maria? Naomi? Abi?

The English name John is Ivan in Russian, Juan in Spanish, lahaja in Turkish, Johann in German, and Sean in Irish.

The name Mary is Marie, Moira, Miriam, and Maria in different languages.

You’ve worn your name since you were born. How does it fit you? Almost every name has a meaning behind it. What about yours? The name Alfreda means “wise adviser”. Helen means “light”.

The name Thang means “triumph”. Thuy is “gracious”. Abdu is “Servant of Allah Allah is the Muslim name for “God”. Kossi means boy born on Sunday

Henry is “master of a house”. Richard means “harsh king”. Eric means “royal”.

Hannah means “grace”. Wendy is a “wanderer”. George is a “farmer”. Louis is a “great warrior Barbara means “stranger”. Ellen means “bright”.

Look up your name in a book of baby names. You’ll find one at the library. Look up the names of your family and friends. Some meanings may fit, some may seem funny!


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Where do names come from?

Your first name is the name people call you. Your family chose it for you when you were born. Your last name is called your family name. Where did that name come from?

The earliest people had only first names. Their family and friends knew them by those first names.

About 800 years ago, kings and other royal people in Europe began to use last names to show that they were special. Soon, everyone in Europe took a last name.

How did people choose a family name? Sometimes people’s names described where they lived. Castle, Castillo, Castello, Zamecki, Burke, Borg, and Burris are names in several languages that meant a person lived near a castle. Names like Wood, Woods, Atwood, Smallwood, Boyce, DuBois, Holt, Shaw, and Silva meant a person lived near a forest.

Can you guess what the names Streeter, Lane, Strass, and Estrada meant? They meant someone who lived by a road.

Sometimes people’s names described what they looked like. If people had light-coloured hair, they might be named White, Wise, Weiss, Whitehead, Whitlock, Whitman, Blanchard, or Bannon. And if they had red hair, their name might be Reed, Reid, Roth, Russell, or Flynn.

Bliss, Blythe, Froh, Merriman, Blaha, or Allegretti are names that mean “happy”.

A person who’s as smart as a fox might be called Fox, Fuchs, Todd, or Volpe. A brave person might be called Lion, Lyon, Lyons, Loewe, or Leon.

Some names described what people did or where they were from. A baker might take the name Baker, Baxter, Fournier, Piekarz, or Boulanger. A blacksmith who makes horseshoes might be called Smith, Schmidt, Lefevre, Ferraro, Kowalski, Kovacs, or MacGowan.

Robert’s child might take the name Roberts. John’s son becomes Johnson, Nels’ son is Nelson. Davey’s, Harry’s, and Will’s children take the names Davis, Harris, and Wilson.

Some “son” names end in -sohn, -wicz, -vich, or -ak. Mac-, Mc-, or Fitz- means “the son of”.

Some children were known by their father’s name. So, people called the son of Will, Will’s son. Later, this name became Wilson,

A new person in town might be Newman, Newcomb, Doyle, Doran, or Dowell. They all mean “new man”.

A person new to town might take the name Doyle, which means “new man”.


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