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Happy Holidays from Global Immersions! 11-Apr-2017

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Happy Earth Day!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, April 21, 2017


Earth Day this year is April 22nd (this Saturday!)

Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.

History:

The first Earth Day was in 1970 , when U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a national "teach-in" to educate the population about the environment after the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1968.

In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom for being the founder of Earth Day. This is the highest honor given to civilians in the United States.

Earth Day Today:

Today, more than 1 billion people across the globe participate in Earth Day activities. 

In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries participated Earth Day, giving the event international recognition. For the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in 2010, 225,000 people participated in a climate rally at the national Mall in Washington, D.C. The Earth Day network launched a campaign to plant 1 billion trees, which they then achieved in 2012.


Last year on Earth Day, the Secretary General of the United Nations urged world leaders to sign the Paris Climate Agreement - a treaty aimed at keeping planet warming below 2 degrees Celcius (or 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit). U.S. President Barack Obama signed the treaty that day.

The Impact of Earth Day:

Though Earth Day is widely observed, the environment is still suffering. A recent Gallup Poll shows that 42% of Americans believe that the dangers of climate change are exaggerated, and only less than 50% agree that protection of the environment should be given priority over energy production.


However, Earth Day is still significant because it reminds people to think about the importance of the environment, the threats the planet faces and ways to help combat these threats. Every year on Earth day individuals and corporations alike take proactive measures to reduce their carbon foot print- by planting trees, reaching a recycling goal, reducing their energy output,  switching to renewable products, and participating in other "green" activities! 

Source: LiveScience

The 2017 Boston Marathon

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, April 04, 2017



What: 121st Boston Marathon

When: Monday, April 17th

Where: Hopkinton – Boston, MA. (The finish line is at 665 Boylston Street)

Time: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm (The winners usually finish within two hours)

Schedule:

DIVISION START TIME
Mobility Impaired 8:50 a.m.
Men's Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:17 a.m.
Women's Push-Rim Wheelchair 9:19 a.m.
Handcycles & Duos 9:22 a.m.
Elite Women 9:32 a.m.
Elite Men & Wave One 10:00 a.m.
Wave Two 10:25 a.m.
Wave Three 10:50 a.m.
Wave Four 11:15 a.m.

History: 

After experiencing the spirit and majesty of the Olympic Marathon, B.A.A. member and inaugural US Olympic Team Manager John Graham was inspired to organize and conduct a marathon in the Boston area. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland to the Irvington Oval in Boston was eventually selected. On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York, emerged from a 15-member starting field and captured the first B.A.A. Marathon in 2:55:10, and, in the process, forever secured his name in sports history.

In 1924, the course was lengthened to 26 miles, 385 yards to conform to the Olympic standard, and the starting line was moved west from Ashland to Hopkinton.


Why patriots Day? From 1897-1968, the Boston Marathon was held on Patriots’ Day, April 19, a holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War and recognized only in Massachusetts and Maine. The lone exception was when the 19th fell on Sunday. In those years, the race was held the following day (Monday the 20th). However, in 1969, the holiday was officially moved to the third Monday in April. Since 1969 the race has been held on a Monday. The last non-Monday champion was current Runner’s World editor Amby Burfoot, who posted a time of 2:22:17 on Friday, April 19, 1968.



Important Spectator Information:

Where are the best places to watch? There is ample space every mile from Hopkinton to Boston for fans to gather and cheer on your journey to Boylston Street. Some of the most famous spots are the Wellesley Scream Tunnel just before halfway; Heartbreak Hill in Newton around Boston College; and the final stretch on Boylston Street before the finish.

Be aware that if you are watching the Boston Marathon anywhere along the 26.2-mile course you should expect a significant presence of uniformed and plain clothed police officers. In some areas, you may be asked to pass through security checkpoints. The marathon website has a full list of items that are not allowed in the race are. 

The Best Spots for Spring Flowers

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

With the weather beginning to change and Boston’s flowers starting to bloom, the city is will soon be a beautiful place to spend time outside. Experience springtime in Boston with a self-guided walking tour of the area’s best spots to see amazing spring flowers. Here are some locations where you can see gorgeous flower displays.


Back Bay

The Magnolia trees along Commonwealth Avenue, Magnolia Street, and Beacon Hill are one of the most beautiful sights to see in the Spring. Along these roads, you can see huge saucer magnolias in pinks, reds, and deep purples, mixed in with other types of magnolias as well

The Esplanade

Cherry trees planted along Boston’s Charles River Esplanade bloom in April. Unfortunately, these blossoms do not last long but are usually in full bloom in mid to late April. You'll find the highest concentration of cherry trees in the section of the Esplanade bordering Back Bay, roughly between the Fiedler Footbridge (off Arlington Street) and the Mass Ave access ramp.


Kelleher Rose Garden

The Kelleher Rose Garden is located near the Victory Garden’s in the city’s Fenway neighborhood, a short distance from Fenway Park. The roses are most amazing in June, but you can see flowers begin to bloom starting in may.


Boston Public Garden

Boston's Victorian-era Public Garden, right next to Boston Commons, features winding paths and smaller gardens spread throughout the park.  The flowers on display vary somewhat each year, but always include tulips and annuals such as pansies during April and May.  In addition to flowers, spring foliage in the Public Garden is also spectacular, especially the many weeping willows surrounding the pond.  The best way to enjoy close-up views of the willow foliage is by taking a swan boat ride when the boats return in mid-April.


Rose Kennedy Greenway

 The garden sections  of the Rose Kennedy Greenway are filled with beautiful spring flowers. Across from the North End, you'll find daffodils and lilies and as you walk south you can see tulips. Near South Station and Chinatown are the stunning Chinese Gardens. Starting in about mid-May, peonies and rhododendrons bloom, surrounded by bamboo shoots.The best place to begin your Greenway tour is not on the Greenway itself, but a few steps away at the Rose Kennedy Memorial Garden, located near the southwestern edge of Christopher Columbus Park just north of the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel.  Here, roses bloom from late May through frost, with especially spectacular flowers during June.

Source

The Real History of St. Patrick's Day

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

This Saint Patrick’s Day will be marked with green clothes, shamrocks, lucky charms, and gold coins. Surprisingly, these classic icons were not always symbols of the holiday.

 St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17th to commemorate the death of St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland. The holiday, which began as a religious feast in the 17th century, has since evolved into an array of festivals across the globe, featuring music, dancing, and (of course) a whole lot of green!

As it turns out, St. Patrick wasn’t actually even Irish. He was born in Roman Britain and at the age of 16, was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland as a slave.  He later escaped, but then returned to Ireland and is credited with bringing Christianity to its people. After his death, St. Patrick was pretty much forgotten until various myths surrounding his life were brought to the surface and became ingrained in Irish culture. It was only centuries after his death that he was honored as the country’s patron Saint.

What are some myths regarding St. Patrick? First, he never drove the snakes out of Ireland. Ireland never had any snakes and this myth is just a metaphor for how St. Patrick cleansed Ireland of Pagans. It is said that St. Patrick used a clover to explain the holy trinity to the Irish people, which is why many Irish started to wear shamrocks on their clothing to signify Irish Christian Pride. This tradition later evolved into wearing green on St. Patty’s Day.

You may also be surprised to learn that the tradition of having parades on St. Patrick’s Day originated in the U.S. and not in Ireland. Parades began in the U.S. after many Irish immigrated there during the time of the Irish potato famine. Boston is home to the nation’s longest-running St. Patrick’s Day Parade, beginning in 1737. The second oldest, and currently the largest, parade takes place in New York City, which held its first parade in 1762. It is estimated over 2 million spectators attend the NYC parade each year.

How will you spend your St. Patrick’s Day? Don’t miss the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade this Sunday, March 19th! The parade begins at 1:00 pm at the Broadway MBTA stop and continues for over 3 miles to Andrew Square. You can find various events happening this St. Patrick’s Day weekend here


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Erin Go Bragh! 

Six More Weeks of Winter

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 21, 2017


On February 2nd, once again, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means another six weeks of winter. If you and your visitor(s) are not sure what to do during these six weeks before the weather warms and flowers bloom, we have some suggestions for fun outdoor activities to take advantage of all this snow! 


Sledding or Tubing
There is a hill to go sledding in virtually every Boston neighborhood. Sledding locations in the city include places like Flagstaff Hill in Boston Common or Marine Park in Southie.
 This article lists great sledding hills all around the greater Boston area, and if you are looking to go tubing, this article provides tubing locations just a short drive from Boston. 


Skiing
You do not have to travel out of state to enjoy a ski trip with your family. Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton has 12 trails and over 60 acres of terrain for both beginnings and advanced skiers.
 This guide can help you can find other nearby mountains open for skiing this winter. Do you prefer cross country over downhill skiing? Check out The Middlesex Fells Reservation. This park has cross country trails and is located a short five miles north of Boston. 


Skating:
Boston has many opportunities for public skating. Visit
 Boston Common's Frog Pond Which hosts weekly "College Nights" featuring discounted tickets for University students. You can also take the opportunity to visit  The Boston Winter skating path at Government Center before it closes for the season on February 26th. 


Snow Shoeing
If you want an outdoor activity that requires minimal skills, you should try snow shoeing! There are many places a short distance from the greater Boston area that are great for exploring on foot.
 Gore Place in Waltham offers snow shoe rentals and features 50 acres of explore-able estate. This article has information about the top five places near Boston to take a show shoeing day trip.


After spending time in the great outdoors warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from one of these Boston Cafe's. what goes best with host chocolate? Warm cookies :) This list will show you the best best spots to get delicious homemade cookies in the city. Use this snowy weather as an excuse to treat your student (and yourself!) to some of the best desserts the area has to offer!

Valentine's Day Around the World

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 07, 2017

February 14th is Valentine's Day! Did you know other cultures celebrate this holiday too?? Check out some countries that have their own unique Valentine's Day celebrations and traditions.....



Australia

Australian's have a long history of gifting extravagant presents to their loved ones on Valentine's Day. This tradition began during the country's gold rush in the 1850's, when newly wealthy miners would buy elaborate valentines for their wives or girlfriends. These gifts included items such as, satin pillows, colored shells, decorated boxes, and even taxidermy hummingbirds. These gifts came to represent high society and style. Today, couple's still exchange large gifts, though with a more modern spin. A typical Australian Valentine's Day now involves less dead birds and more dinner cruises, waterfront picnics, or proclamations of love on the radio. 

 

South Africa

South Africans couples celebrate Valentine's Day similarly to couples in the U.S - they exchange small presents, such as flowers, chocolates or gifts Single South African women have a rather unique tradition where they pin the name of their love interest on their sleeve and reveal their crushes to others. 



Taiwan

Valentine’s Day in Taiwan is celebrated on February 14th, and at the Qixi festival on July 7th. On both days men purchase special bouquets for their sweethearts. One red rose symbolizes an "only love", eleven roses symbolizes a "special someone", ninety-nine roses symbolizes "forever", and one hundred and eight roses is a marriage proposal! 


Wales

Wales' equivalent to Valentine's Day is Saint Dwynwen Day on January 25th. The tradition of celebrating Saint Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, began in the 17th century, when Welsh men gave "love spoons" to women that they loved. These wooden spoons were intricately decorated with designs of various meaning. Wheels signify support, horseshoes symbolize luck, and keys represent the key to a man’s heart.

South Korea

Celebrations of Valentine's Day in South Korea can occur from February to April. On February 14th, women will gift candy, flowers, or small gifts to men. Then on March 14th, or White Day, men will return the action by offering chocolate, flowers, and a gift to the women. On April 14th, singles may celebrate Black Day, during which they eat black bean paste noodles called jajangmyeon and mourn their single status.

How will you celebrate your Valentine's Day? You can find a few suggestions here.  Enjoy the day with family and friends! 

Source: Huffington Post 

Everything You Need To Know About Super Bowl LI

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Its that time of year again - time for the Super Bowl!! Excitingly enough Boston's favorite football team will (again!) be playing in this year's Super Bowl, Super Bowl LI (if you're not too familiar with roman numerals LI means 50). Here is everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the big game. Go Pats!!

Who: New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

What: Super Bowl LI

Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas

When: Saturday, February 5th @ 6:30pm

How to watch: Super Bowl LI will be televised nationally on FOX. You can also watch it online for free on FOXsports.com on your computer or tablet. Verizon users can watch it on the go with NFL Mobile

Where to Watch: With its plethora of sports bars and restaurants, Boston is an exciting place to celebrate the Super Bowl! Here you can find a list of places throughout the city hosting Super Bowl parties and offering special deals on food and drink. I personally will be watching the game from my favorite venue - my couch. If you're looking for some place less crowded or for a younger crowd, watching the game at home with family and friends may be the best option. 


Who to watch:  This will be the Patriot's ninth Super Bowl appearance and the seventh time for Belichick and Brady. Tom Brady is going for his 5th Super Bowl ring, which would make him the record holder of the most Super Bowl wings of any active quarter back in the NFL. Right now, Brady is tied for 4 wins with Joe Montana. After him, Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger have two rings each, and are the only other active quarter backs with more than one win. This Super Bowl will pit the No. 1 defense in the league (Pats) against the No. 1 offense in the league (Falcons) which should definitely provide for an exciting game!

What to eat: According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Super Bowl is the second largest day of food consumption in America (the first is Thanksgiving). American's are estimated to buy 12.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday, and set to consume 1.33 billion chicken wings. Several local pizza chains have Super Bowl specials that you can find here, just remember to put your order in early - they'll be busy! 

Halftime show: This year's Halftime show will be headlined  by Lady Gaga. This will be Lady Gaga's second time performing on the Super Bowl stage, after having sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 last February. The Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show is the most -watched musical event of the year, attracting more than 116.5 million viewers last year. 

If New England wins, stay tuned for the Patriots Parade in the weeks shortly after. It is tradition for the team to celebrate the big win by parading through the streets of Boston on floats with their families! 


Sources: NFL, Chicago Tribune

The Year of the Rooster

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Xinnian Kuaile (sshin-nyen why-luh) ! Happy New Year! This year, Chinese New Year falls on January 28th and will last until February 2nd. Unlike other country's new year celebrations, which coincide with the last day of the Gregorian calendar year, Chinese New Year is based upon the Lunar Calendar and therefore falls on a different date each year (typically between the end of January and mid February). Although Chinese New Year falls in the middle of winter, the celebration is known as "Spring Festival" in China, as the ancient solar calendar classifies the start of Spring as the period from February 4th to 18th.


 Each year is assigned one of 12 zodiac signs with an associated animal. The Chinese believe that each sign has certain characteristics, which describe people born during the sign's corresponding years. 2017 is the year of the rooster - the corresponding sign of those born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, and 2005. Those born under the rooster are thought to be hardworking, resourceful, courageous, talented and very confident in themselves.

Roosters are always active, amusing, and popular within a crowd. They are talkative, outspoken, frank, open, honest, and loyal individuals. They like to be the center of attention and always appear attractive and beautiful. People born under the sign of the Rooster are happiest when they are surrounded by others, whether at a party or just a social gathering. They enjoy the spotlight and will exhibit their charm on any occasion.

Roosters expect others to listen to them while they speak, and can become agitated if they don’t. Vain and boastful, Roosters like to brag about themselves and their accomplishments.

Their behavior of continually seeking the unwavering attention of others annoys people around them at times.”


Much preparation is done before Chinese New Year even begins. Homes are decorated with red decorations along with streets and public places, as red is considered a very lucky color. Most homes will also include strips of paper known as "Chunlian". These papers contain messages known as "Spring Couplets" or messages of good health and fortune. A typical decoration contains four Chinese characters in gold writing, which are known as "Hui Chun". Families will thoroughly clean their homes for the festival to rid the home of any bad feelings for the new year. It is considered bad luck to not clean one's home before the new year. The Chinese clean beforehand to avoid cleaning for at least the first three days of the new year, as they believe doing so will sweep away any good luck they have acquired. In addition to cleaning their homes, Chinese also take care to clean themselves. They do so by getting a haircut prior to the new year. It is considered unlucky to get a haircut during the new year, so some Chinese people will avoid cutting their hair for at least a month. In Chinese culture, new clothing and shoes symbolize a new beginning, and many Chinese will purchase new items for the new year. It is also common for people to purchase flowers, as flower blossoms symbolize good fortune.

(Migration of Chinese during Chinese New Year) 


The New Year celebration is extremely family oriented. It is estimated that more than 200 million Chinese take long journey's to return home for the holiday celebrations. The main celebration usually begins with a family gathering and meal on New Year's Eve. Families will enjoy special treats along with typical dishes of fish or chicken. Both dishes are served whole, however the fish should not be completely eaten, as leftover fish represents a surplus at the end of the new year. It is also common for the family to exchange gifts in the form of money inside of a red envelope. Families will practice Shou Sui, or staying up until midnight together to greet the new year. 

New Year's celebrations include parades with traditional Lion dances, drums, and large fireworks displays. During the Spring festival, there are hundreds of thousands of fireworks displays and millions of fireworks set off at home. The tradition is that fireworks scare away evil spirits and demons. The largest displays are lit at midnight, similar to the January 1st celebrations of other cultures. The two weeks of celebration usually end with a Lantern Festival. Families and friends come together again to eat and release lanterns into the sky. Children do not attend school throughout the holiday period, and can even go a whole month before returning to class!

(Spring Festival in Malaysia)

You may be surprised to learn that China is not the only country that celebrates Chinese New Year. Spring Festival celebrations occur in dozens of countries across the globe, with more than 2 billion people participating. Countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have huge celebrations, and smaller communities in Chinatowns around the world gather to hold events, parades, and firework shows. Public holidays lasting from one to four days are common throughout Asia, with celebrations extending  for a week in Vietnam. Hong Kong is well known for its Spring Festival celebrations, as the area hosts a major horse racing festival at this time. Events also include fireworks, theatrical shows, as large displays of flowers. Western cities also hold their own Chinese New Year festivals. Most notably is the celebration in London, which sees more than half a million people taking part in organized events. 

Interested in participating in Chinese New Year Events in Boston?? From now until January 27th, The China Trade Building in Boston's Chinatown is hosting a Chinese New Year Pop-Up Flower Marketselling flowers from local businesses in celebration of the New Year. On February 12th, Chinatown will host the Chinese New Year Parade and China Cultural Village, featuring classic elements of Chinese New Year celebrations, such as music, lion dancers, fireworks, and of course delicious food! 

Check out our Facebook Page for more info about Lunar New Year Events and other exciting things happening in Boston! 


Sources: The Mirror, Quartz, KInternational, CNN

The 2017 Presidential Inauguration

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, January 19, 2017

Taking place tomorrow, the inauguration is a long upheld in tradition in the United States marking the commencement of a new term for the new President. The ceremony has been in effect George Washington was sworn in as the first president back in 1789, and has been held for every president since. The inauguration currently occurs annually on January 20th, a tradition that began in 1937 following a ratification to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.  Both new and re-elected Presidents must be inaugurated, a process during which they take an oath administered by the Chief Justice. This oath must be taken before a president can enter office, and is mandated by the United States Constitution.


Apart from the inauguration ceremony itself, there are also other events to include the inaugural parade and inaugural balls and galas. The parade takes place after the inaugural ceremony, with the new  President, Vice President, and their wives leading the procession down Pennsylvania Avenue. Next, inaugural balls are held throughout Washington D.C. in honor of the Inauguration Ceremony, which include invite-only balls as well as those open to the public. The President and First Lady usually make an appearance at the official balls, however there are countless others that individuals can attend. The President-elect is expected to attend 3 of the official Inaugural Balls, to include the Armed Services Ball as well as two at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

This time around, Trump will be the oldest President in U.S. history to be inaugurated at the age of 70. Prior to this, the oldest President was Ronald Reagan who was sworn in at age 69, just 17 days shy of his 70th birthday. Donald Trump's inauguration is expected to be the most expensive in history, with spending reaching an upwards of $200 million. For reference, Barack Obama's inauguration cost about $150 million, still a notable amount. While the ceremony itself may be costly, the inaugural ball often features famous performers who don't come cheaply. This year, Toby Keith will be performing, among other artists such as the band 3 Doors Down.  If you are interested in watching the inauguration and its surrounding events, you can tune in at 9:30am EST when the performances start. The opening remarks for the inauguration ceremony itself will begin at 11:30am EST and the parade at 3:00pm EST.


Holiday Activities Yule Love!

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Its December already!? Crazy, I know.  November really flew by and now it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas (for real - it snowed this morning.) Once you get past the cold, Boston is a great place to be during the winter. With tree lightings, and carolers, outdoor skating rinks and pop-up markets, the city has so many different winter activities to help you celebrate the holiday season with your international visitor! If your'e getting tired of listening to 106.7's nonstop Christmas music, here are some other festive ways to have a happy holiday! 

(GI host mother and her students looking at holiday lights in Saugus, MA!)

Get in the holiday spirit by taking your visitor to see amazing holiday lights! Tour your own neighborhood or explore the light displays in other areas of greater Boston. Don't know where to go?? This article can help. Check out the places with the best Christmas lights in Boston. Take a trip by car or bond with your visitor during an outdoor stroll. If you would prefer to travel by train, you can do that too! The Somerville Arts Council's Illuminations Tour will take you through the illuminated streets of Somerville via trolley. 


(One of our students decorating her host family's Christmas Tree last year!)

After, take some inspiration from those neighborhoods and decorate your own home! Ask your visitor to help you place holiday decorations inside and outside your house. If you celebrate Christmas, involve your student in hanging Christmas ornaments and lights or even picking out the Christmas Tree. Designate a special ornament for your student (craft or buy one together!) - your visitor will feel like a welcomed part of the family and you will have a memento of the holiday you shared! 


(GI students and their host family building a gingerbread house!)

Speaking of crafts...a fun at home activity is decorating a gingerbread house! If you don't think you have the culinary skills to make one from scratch easy kits can be found in your local grocery store this season. You and your visitor will enjoy assembling and decorating the gingerbread house together and you'll especially love eating it after :)

(Japanese TALK students posing with their gifts and Santa Claus!)

Take your visitor holiday shopping with you! Let them help you pick out gifts for your family and see if they want to get a present for their friend at school or family at home. A festive place for a shopping outing is a Holiday Market. Throughout the Christmas season, Boston offers a variety of holiday stores and pop-up markets for all your gift giving needs! Check out the Holiday Market in Downtown CrossingThe Harvard Square Holiday Fair, The Holiday Shopping Village at City Hall Plaza, or The Christmas in Boston store at Faneuil Hall Marketplace. 

Don't forget about New Year's Eve! Holiday celebrations don't stop after December 25th. Ring in the new year by watching Boston's NYE fireworks display over Boston Harbor. The show begins at midnight on January first, but First Night festivities begin long before that. Bring your visitor to enjoy parades, ice sculptures, music, and dancing on the last day of 2016!