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Lesson Transcript

Céline: So today, we are going to talk about the dead.
Sam: The dead?
Céline: The dead. You know dead, life, death? The day of the dead, more exactly.

Lesson focus

Sylvain: Umm what is the day of the dead? That’s Sam’s question.
Céline: Even though many people connect the day of the dead with Latin countries especially in North America, we French people do celebrate it too.
Sylvain: Oh wow! That’s interesting to know. Would the day of the dead be in October or November?
Céline: Well, first of all in France, we have two days. The day of the dead which is November 2nd and the day of the Saints which is November 1st, however in France, people are devoted to the dead the day of the Saints. So it takes place on the 1st of November and we refer to it as: La Toussaint.
Sam: La Tou... what?
Sylvain: J’ai la toux hahaha.
Céline: I have a cough. Terrible joke my friend. La Toussaint, in one word. If you break it down, you will find “tous” meaning all and “saints” which is saints in English.
Sam: Ah but of course, all saints day.
Sylvain: Le premier novembre, la Toussaint, is actually un jour férié.
Sam: Nice Franglish phrase. You said “un jour férié”?
Céline: Yes “un jour férié” is a holiday when people are off work. I think we mentioned that word in another culture class.
Sylvain: That might be. You know mankind even with culture and mentality difference has much more in common that one can imagine.
Sam: Why do you mention that?
Sylvain: Because the origin of the holiday is found all over the globe in various countries.
Céline: Yeah. I should add, it’s certainly based on the fear of the unknown after death.
Sam: Which has been felt for ages by anyone at any place. Okay I follow you on that.
Sylvain: Today’s celebration of “la Toussaint” has its roots in France and Europe when monks were spreading their face in Ireland and Great Britain and La Gaule in the 5th century.
Sam: What was La Gaule again?
Céline: It was the foundation of France. To be exact, it was the present French, Belgium and northern Italian territory and our traveling ancestors ruling called “les Gaulois” during the Roman empire.
Sam: “Les Gaulois” being the people from “Gaule”?
Sylvain: Exact. While the monks were executing their mission, they confronted the pagan celebration of Samhain corresponding to the dark half of the year.
Sam: Ah Samhain from which Halloween comes from.
Céline: Yes the dark half of the year relates to the shorten of light during the day and therefore nights get longer till the next spring equinox announcing the season of light when days get longer.
Sam: Once the monks did their job, what happened?
Sylvain: Later in the beginning of the 7th century, the Church dedicated the day for the mother of God, and was changed in 830 to celebrate All Saints on November 1st.
Sam: Wow! What an amazing story.
Céline: Yes and all related to religion my friend.
Sam: Are the French into religion? Is the day of the dead an important day in France?
Sylvain: Well of course it is but as you may know, some people are losing their faith in these days.
Sam: So what do people usually do on these days?
Céline: Usually people bring flowers to the graves and say prayers over the dead. In my family, we usually go the day before as it’s getting very busy.
Sam: So there is a big flower business that day, right?
Sylvain: Yeah especially for chrysanthèmes d’automne.
Sam: Chrysanthemums of autumn.
Sylvain: which is the flower the most sold at this time of the year.
Sam: Do you have mass too?
Céline: Sure. It is called “la messe de la Toussaint”.
Sam: Mass for All Saints Day.
Sylvain: And the school holidays which are as well called “les vacances de la Toussaint”. This year, it is from October 25th to November 6th.
Sam: Ah so there is vacation for All Saints Day. So this day and this event is quite ingrained into French culture right?
Céline: Yes but not in a religious way.
Sam: Ah wow! What an interesting culture class mes amis!
Céline: Yes.
Sylvain: You have to put some flowers into to the grave.
Céline: You remember when?
Sam: November 1st.
Céline: Oui!
Sylvain: Good!
Céline: So, why don’t we join spanishpod101 team and go to Mexico for “El día de los muertos” The Day of the Dead?
Sam: Sounds good.
Sylvain: Good idea.
Céline: Okay, let’s go.


Sam: Okay, until the next time!
Sylvain: See you.
Céline: Bye bye.