miércoles, 2 de septiembre de 2015

Talking point : Religions and beliefs

This week's talking point is religions and beliefs. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.
  • Do you consider the people in your country to be religious?
  • How does the situation compare with 50 or 100 years ago?
  • How important is religion in your life?
  • What religious festivals or holidays are important in your region/country?
  • How do (religious) people celebrate them?
  • What pilgrimage sites of the world do you know? And in your country?
  • What do you know about these sites?
  • What are some of the most significant religious buildings in your country?
  • Should religion be taught as a subject in the curriculum? Give your reasons.
  • Should religious schools receive government funding? Give your reasons.
To illustrate the topic, you can watch this video on The Way of St James.

For over a thousand years, pilgrims from all over the world, have followed the road that leads to Santiago de Compostela, the city that grew up around the tomb of the Apostle Saint James. 
Since its beginnings the Camino de Santiago was not just a road for religious pilgrimage.  As a meeting place for people from different backgrounds,  it gave an eye to a culture based on the exchange of ideas and the artistic and social occurrence  until a political and economic activity that helped to forge Modern Day Europe,  acting as its first unifying channel. 
Today, in the 21st century, Santiago continues to be visited, via a variety of routes,  by pilgrims from every continent and every social background.  The French Way, traditional the best known, reaches Spain across the Pyrenees. 
Although the Portuguese or the Northern Way,  scattering the Bay of Basque Coast line, also lead to Compostela.  One of the Camino’s permanent features is its hospitality.  Nowadays, there exist a large number of hostels, scattered all along Saint James route,  opening their doors for pilgrims and it turns there’s also appeared  a modern range of hotels and rural tourism houses,  diversifying the Camino services and attractions. 
Compostela is the goal for walkers and travellers  and at the same time is the starting point for a new journey,  when you reach the Plaza do Obradoiro.  After fulfilling a ritual at the Portico de la Gloria and embracing the Apostle,  pilgrims can watch the spectacular flight of the largest incensory in the world, the “Botafumeiro”, skilfully handled by the “Tiraboleiros”.
Proudly seal their “Compostela”, which demonstrates they have completed the "Camino"  and later explore the “forest stone”,  that is the City of Santiago, offering an unbeatable collection of sights,  that is, monasteries, churches, palaces, squares and popular streets  that have consolidated its international fame as a historical and cultural centre,  confirmed everyday by the thousands of pilgrims and tourists who visit it.