Watch and Listen

1. Watch the video. Write T (true) or F (false) next to the statements.

___  Harbin is having its first ice festival this year.

___  All of the ice bricks come from at river.

___  ‘Sun Island’ is where people build snow sculptures.

___  Harbin is very cold in winter because of winds from Siberia.

___  The festival is exactly four weeks long.

2. Watch again. Answer the questions.

 People call Harbin the ____________.

 Around ____________ people make the buildings and sculptures for the festival.

 The ____________ ice bricks are made of very clean water.

 During the day, there are sculpture classes and ____________.

 The average temperature in winter is – ____________ °C.

 More than ____________ people will visit the ice festival this year.

 The first day of the festival is ____________.

3. Watch again. Then choose the correct photo for each ward in bold.

1   This stop air bubbles from freezing into the ice.

2   There are ice castles, ice skyscrapers and ice slides, which are very popular with children.

3   Visitors can play ice sports and games and see amazing firework shows.

4   Until the spring comes and the Ice City melts away for another year.



1 F   2 F   3 T   4 T   5 F


1 Ice City   2 7,000   3 clear   4 competitions   5 16.8

6 a million / 1,000,000   7 5 January


1 c   2 b   3 b   4 a


Harbin’s ice festival

Narrator:   This is Harbin in China, also known as ‘the Ice City’. Every winter, for over 30 years, Harbin has held an ice festival. These days tourists from all over the world come to visit.

It takes 7,000 people working together to build the ice city. There are large snow sculptures and full-size buildings.

They cut ice bricks from the frozen Songhua River. But for some sculptures they need clear bricks that look like glass. The clear bricks are made for the festival using very pure water. This stops air bubbles from freezing into the ice.

In the day time, visitors can see the snow sculptures at ‘Sun Island’. They can also watch the artists at work or, for visitors who want to make their own sculptures, there are classes and competitions.

At night, the buildings of ‘Ice and Snow World’ light up with a rainbow of colours. There are ice castles, ice skyscrapers and ice slides, which are very popular with children.

Harbin is in the northeast of China where cold winds from Siberia bring them an average winter temperature of minus 16.8 °C – the perfect temperature to build from ice and snow. The freezing temperatures do not keep the visitors away. This year over a million people are expected to come. Besides exploring the ice city, visitors can play ice sports and games and see amazing firework shows. The festival opens on the fifth of January each year and stays open for at least four weeks and often much longer – until the spring comes and the Ice City melts away for another year.

Listening 1

1. Listen to the interviews and complete the tourist information in the festival brochure.


Place: Cambridge, 1___________

Month: 2___________

Activities: learn some 3___________:

English Civil War (1642-1651) learn about science: play games to find out about 4___________; listen to a 5___________ on the global economy


Place: Tokyo, Japan

Month: 6___________

Activities: have a picnic under the cherry trees; eat at food 7___________; go on the 8___________; in a boat and visit 9___________


Place: Muscat, Oman

Months: 10___________ and 11___________

Activities: 12___________: cycling, camel racing, learn traditional 13___________; go to a 14___________ show; eat traditional food

2. Listen again. Write T (true) or F (false) next to the statements below. Then correct the false statements.

___ 1   The Festival of Ideas is only for students.


___ 2   Both kids and adults enjoy going to the Festival of Ideas.


___ 3   There aren’t exact dates for the Cherry Blossom Festival.


___ 4   At the Cherry Blossom Festival, people only look at the flowers.


___ 5   People can learn about Oman’s culture at the Muscat Festival.


___ 6   Nasrra was able to go to a fashion show at the Muscat Festival.




1 UK   2 October   3 history   4 gravity   5 talk   6 April

7 stalls   8 lake   9 museums   10 January   11 February

12 sports   13 dance   14 fashion


1 F; The Festival of Ideas is for anybody interested in arts and science.

2 T   3 T

4 F; They can have picnics under trees, go to food stalls, hire boats on the lake and go to museums.

5 T   6 T


Reporter 1:   Today I’m at the Festival of Ideas, which has been held in the UK every October since 2008. It’s a free festival with lots of activities, organized by the University of Cambridge. But it isn’t just for students. Anyone interested in arts and science can go to the lectures, talks, classes and performances. The festival gets bigger and bigger every year; the first year, 7,000 people attended, but by the third year that number had almost doubled. We asked one of the visitors about the festival.

Hello, there. Can you introduce yourself and tell me, is this your first time at the festival here in Cambridge?

Judith:   My name is Judith, and no, I come here every year!

Reporter 1:   Can you tell us why you like coming to the festival?

Judith:   Well, it’s an interesting event to come to. It’s great for kids and adults. I enjoy learning about all the new ideas people have on important topics. We don’t get much time to really think or learn about new things in everyday life, but you can do exactly that at this festival.

Reporter 1:   So, what kinds of things do people learn? Do people concentrate on learning just one thing?

Judith:   No, most people plan on going to several events. For example, today I learnt some history. I went to a lecture about the English Civil War, which happened between 1642 and 1651. It was really interesting! Yesterday, I played games to find out about gravity. It was a science activity. And tomorrow, I’m going to a talk on the global economy, which I’m sure will really make me think!

Reporter 1:   Are there any things you don’t like about it? Are you ever bored?

Judith:   Not really. The only problem is that it’s really crowded!

Reporter 1:   Judith, like many others, is really enjoying the Festival of Ideas. Nowadays around the world, there are many festivals, often based on nature, food or culture. Take the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, for example. In Tokyo, the capital of Japan, the cherry blossom festival is held in early April. It is an important festival celebrating nature. The actual dates change every year, because the celebration happens only when the trees have cherry blossoms. So, it is a little different from a festival that has the same date every year and it’s not organized in the same way as many other festivals. Our reporter Mike Pearce went to Tokyo to find out.

Reporter 2:   Today, I am talking with Yuki. She sells food during the cherry blossom festival in Ueno Park in Tokyo. Hi, Yuki.

Yuki:   Hi. Welcome to the cherry blossom festival!

Reporter 2:   Thanks. So, what happens here?

Yuki:   Well, as you can see, it’s a cherry blossom festival. It is a celebration of spring and the cherry flowers. So, it doesn’t have specific activities that people do. Instead, people come to enjoy the cherry blossoms and have a picnic under the trees. We have about a thousand trees, full of beautiful flowers.

Reporter 2:   Do you have many people here from other countries?

Yuki:   Yes. Our visitors are from all over the world. In addition to the cherry blossoms, there are lots of food stalls and people can hire a boat to go around the lake too. There are many beautiful, natural places here. Some people prefer to visit some of the park’s many museums, but I think Tokyo is one of the best places to come for the cherry blossom festival.

Reporter 2:   Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of the event!

Reporter 1:   Visiting such festivals is not just for entertainment; it’s also a fantastic way to find out about the culture of a different country. I went to Oman in the Middle East recently to do just that.

I’m here in Muscat at the festival of culture and heritage, talking to Nasrra. She is visiting the Muscat Festival with her family. The event is held in January and February each year in Oman, and Nasrra has been coming for the last couple of years. Hi, Nasrra. Are you enjoying the festival?

Nasrra:   Yes! It’s wonderful!

Reporter 1:   Can you tell us something about the festival?

Nasrra:   Of course. It’s a chance for people to learn about the heritage and culture of Oman.

Reporter 1:   So, why are you here?

Nasrra:   My mother and father want to watch some of the sports; there was cycling last year and also a camel race. You can also learn traditional dance. But I decided to go to the fashion show.

Reporter 1:   That sounds great.

Nasrra:   Yeah. And after we finish watching the races and shows, we’ll go and eat some traditional food.

Reporter 1:   Sounds amazing! I hope you all have a great time.

So these international festivals, with lots of music, food and fashion, are providing a different type of experience for people. Next week, we’ll looking at…

Listening 2

1. Listen to the conversation and write the main ideas. Remember that main ideas are the most important ideas about a topic.

North American holiday: 1__________

US & Canada celebrate – everyone thankful

2__________ and friends – eat meal together

3__________ meal: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn, cranberries, pic

4__________ differences:



7__________: spicy

sweet, whipped cream

8__________: rice or bread

cornbread, oysters

9__________: leaves, autumn vegetables, candles

10__________ (red, yellow, orange)

11__________: parades, watch sports on TV; no gifts

Canadian Thanksgiving: October; American Thanksgiving: November

12__________: small local parade: 13__________: big New York City parade on TV

Different 14__________ for the holiday

Canada: autumn harvest

US: autumn harvest + remembering Native Americans helping settlers hunt and grow food

2. Listen again. Write T (true) or F (false) next to the statements below. Then correct the false statements.

___ Paul likes Thanksgiving because there are fireworks.


___ Potatoes, corn and cranberries are from Europe.


___ In the southern US, sometimes oysters are used for stuffing.


___ In Canada, they celebrate Thanksgiving on a Monday.


___ In the US, they celebrate Thanksgiving on a Thursday.




1 Thanksgiving   2 Family   3 Traditional   4 Food

5 Canada   6 US   7 Pumpkin pie   8 Stuffing

9 Decorations   10 Autumn colours   11 Activities

12 Canada   13 US   14 reasons


1 F; He likes it because everyone can celebrate it.

2 F; Potatoes, corn and cranberries are from the Americas.

3 F; In the eastern US, sometimes oysters are used in the stuffing.

4 T   5 T


Ali:   Paul, you have cousins in the US, don’t you? What’s your opinion? Which is the best North American holiday or celebration?

Paul:   Hmm. Well, I like Independence Day in the US because of the fireworks and New Year’s Eve often has fireworks, too. But I think the best holiday is Thanksgiving.

Ali:   Why do you like Thanksgiving?

Paul:   Everyone has something to be thankful for, so everyone can celebrate it. Both the US and Canada celebrate it.

Ali:   Really? How do people celebrate it?

Paul:   Well, most people get together with family and friends and have a big meal.

Ali:   What do they eat?

Paul:   They usually eat a traditional meal. This is usually a delicious turkey with stuffing for the main dish. You should try it! Most traditional Thanksgiving meals have food which is from the Americas, like potatoes, corn and cranberries. For dessert, they eat pumpkin pie, but some people prefer different kinds of pie, like apple.

Ali:   Is the food the same in both countries?

Paul:   Actually, there are some differences in the food. In Canada, for example, the pumpkin pie is spicy, but in the US it’s sweet. I like the American style, with whipped cream. You have to try it! Another dish which is different is the stuffing. For instance, in Canada stuffing is often made from rice or bread, but in the southern US it could be made from cornbread. In the eastern US, sometimes oysters are used in the stuffing.

Ali:   That all sounds delicious. Are there any special decorations for Thanksgiving?

Paul:   Well, people often decorate their dinner tables and homes with things such as colourful leaves, autumn vegetables and candles. The decorations usually have autumn colours, like red, yellow and orange.

Ali:   Do people give gifts or do some special activities?

Paul:   Well, people don’t really give gifts, but there are some special activities. For example, both countries celebrate with parades with marching bands and people in costumes. It’s also traditional to watch sport on TV.

Ali:   It sounds like the celebration is almost the same in both countries.

Paul:   Well, there are some differences between Canadian and American Thanksgiving.

Ali:   Like what?

Paul:   Well, for instance, in Canada, the holiday is celebrated on the second Monday in October. But in the US it’s on the fourth Thursday in November. Another difference is that in Canada people enjoy small, local parades. In the US they have a huge parade in New York City and people all over the US watch it on TV.

People in the New York parade sometimes wear costumes. One last difference is that each country has different reasons for the holiday. In Canada the holiday celebrates the autumn harvest. But Americans celebrate the autumn harvest and remembering the Native Americans helping settlers hunt and grow food.

Ali:   That sounds like a lot of fun. I want to go to Thanksgiving celebration in both countries!

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