Heaven or Hell Riddle
You are standing in front of two doors. One of the doors leads to heaven and the other one leads to hell. There are two guards, one by each door.
You know one of them always tells the truth and the other always lies, but you don’t know who is the honest one and who is the liar.
You can only ask one question to both of them in order to find the way to heaven.
What is the question?
The question you should ask both guards together is “If I ask the other guard which door leads to heaven, what would he answer?”. It should be fairly easy to see that irrespective of whom do you ask this question, you will always get an answer which leads to hell. So you can chose the other path to continue your journey to heaven.
This idea was famously used in the 1986 film Labyrinth.
Here is the explanation if it is yet not clear.
Let us assume that the left door leads to heaven.
If you ask the guard which speaks truth about which path leads to heaven, as he speaks always the truth, he
would say “left”. Now that the liar , when he is asked what “the other guard (truth teller) ” would answer, he would definitely say “right”.
Similarly, if you ask the liar about which path leads to heaven, he would say “right”. As the truth teller speaks nothing but the truth, he would say “right” when he is asked what “the other guard( liar ) ” would answer. So in any case, you would end up having the path to hell as an answer. So you can chose the other path as a way to heaven.
Italy Christmas Quiz
Play our fun Christmas Quiz to see how well you know Italy in general and specifically at Christmas. Play this fun Christmas Quiz to see how well you know Italy in general and specifically at Christmas.
1. At Christmas time nativity scenes are displayed in many churches and piazzas. Crafting these ornate works of art by hand remains an artisanal tradition in many parts of the country. In some towns and farms real people wear costumes to create the scene, including village crafts. What is the Italian name given to a Living Nativity Scene?
a) Gruppo di persone b) Presepe Vivente c) Scena del letto d) stalla dell’asino
2. Which is the largest of the Italian Lakes?
a) Como b) Garda c) Maggiore d) Trasimeno
3. The San Nicola festival commemorates the 1087 arrival of St. Nicholas’ remains, in which Italian town?
a) Rome b) Bari c) Portofino d) Ancona
4. What is the name of the sweet soft cake prepared and enjoyed during Christmas and New Year festivities in Italy?
a) Cannoli b) Panna cotta c) Tiramisu d) Panettone
5. Who is the kind witch who tried to follow the Three Kings to Bethlehem, but couldn’t find him, so each year gives sweets to children on the Eve of Epiphany?
a) Befana b) Esmerelda c) Maria d) Benigna
6. Musicians come down from the mountains at Christmas time to play traditional folk tunes in the towns, typically wearing bright red jackets and broad-brimmed hats with red tassels. What is the name of the bagpipe looking instrument that they play?
a) Pecora b) Chitarra c) Ciaramella d) Zampogna
7. After the family dinner on Christmas Eve, many Italians head to midnight Mass at their local church. In one area thrill-seekers ski down the slopes at midnight carrying torches to welcome Christmas. Where does this take place?
a) Cortina d’Ampezzo b) Mount Etna c) Pescara d) Cinque Terre
8. The official end of the Christmas season isn’t until the Day of the Epiphany. On this day you may also see a procession of the Three Kings (Magi). What date is that?
a) 27th December b) 1st January c) 6th January d) 10th February
9. Which is the largest island of Italy, with an area of 9,927 square miles?
a) Sicily b) Sardinia c) Ischia d) Capri
10. At Christmas time festive lights are projected on to the stone houses with the cone shaped roofs in Alberobello, Puglia. What are these houses called?
a) Julie b) Testa di gelato c) Cappello di Babbo Natale d) Trulli
11. Who is the current Prime Minister of Italy?
a) Matteo Renzi b) Paolo Gentiloni c) Sergio Matterella d) Silvio Berlusconi
12. Italian Ministers named 2017 as the “Year of the Villages”. What will 2018 be the year of?
a) Art Cities b) Italian food c) Earth Dog d) Prosecco
13. Christopher Columbus was born in which Italian Port?
a) Taranto b) Venice c) Genoa d) Naples
14. Which of the following isn’t a style of building found in Italy?
a) Palazzo b) Masseria c) Baroque d) Sangiovese
Christmas in Rome
15. Which is Italy’s longest river, with a length of 652km?
a) Tiber b) Arno c) Tevere d) Po
16. Many Italian families like to play a game similar to Bingo on Christmas Eve. What is it called?
a) Tombola b) Scopa c) Basset d) Bruno
1. b) Presepe Vivente 2. b) Garda 3. b) Bari 4. d) Panettone 5. a) Befana 6. d) Zampogna 7. a) Cortina d’Ampezzo 8. c) 6th January 9. a) Sicily 10. d) Trulli 11. b) Paolo Gentiloni 12. b) Italian food 13. c) Genoa 14. d) Sangiovese 15. d) Po 16. a) Tombola
Ten questions about Christmas in Spain.MJ: “Hello, I have a few questions about Christmas in Spain, could you help me to find out more please?”
dQ: “Sure, go ahead”.
MJ: “Well, here's the first question: What kind of gifts are given at Christmas?”
dQ: “In Spain, we generally speak about Christmas in the plural so as to differentiate the 25th of December from the 6th of January. The 25th of December is exclusively a religious holiday. Gifts for children include toys, technology, mobile phones and maybe some clothes. Dad almost always receives a hideous tie (just kidding!)”
MJ: “Thank you. Next question: Does the whole family decorate the Christmas tree together?”
dQ: “In Spain, the Christmas tree tradition is spreading more and more, but what is more popular is the Nativity Scene: depicting the birth of Baby Jesus with figurines representing the Holy Family, the Three Kings, the Shepherds, the Angels and the Animals...
The family work together to construct the Nativity Scene (or the Portal of Belén as it is referred to by Spanish people). Children must place the figures of the three kings away from the scene and advance them a little bit each day until the 6th of January, when they finally reach the manger where the baby Jesus lays.”
MJ: “Can I ask a personal question?”
dQ: “Yes, of course.”
MJ: “How do you feel at Christmas? Are you excited and happy, or does it signify a problem?”
dQ: “Let's see, for religious people it is an exciting and joyful festival, so of course they are very happy because it commemorates the birth of Jesus. For the rest of us, it is a time to be with our families, which is something that Spanish people especially love to do: the whole family around the table, twenty or thirty people shouting and singing carols. Christmas also signifies a few days off school and work. Of course there are people who are lonely for different reasons and feel sad... but the overall picture is of joy, anticipation (with the Christmas lottery, for example...) and happiness, especially for children. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Christmas is a holiday that focuses on children, they are the center of attention.”
MJ: “So is Christmas in Spain more focused on religion or Santa and gifts?”
dQ: “Oh, oh... do not talk about Santa! For us, and thanks to globalization, the "commercialized" Christmas Figure is Papa Noel, who comes on the night of the 24th December and leaves gifts for children. Spain is a country with a long Christian tradition, and more specifically, Catholic, so for many people the holidays are a time of reflection and religious celebration. An example is the Midnight Mass called Misa del Gallo (literally rooster’s mass) on the 24th December (Nochebuena for us) where believers gather in the church and celebrate a very special Mass with carols and a very cheerful atmosphere. It is also true that you can see a change in the sense of secularization of morals and there is a large group of people who do not celebrate Christmas as a religious thing but as a celebration of family and children.”
MJ: “Thank you. A question that makes me very curious: what is it like to have two holidays at Christmas (the 25th December and the 6th January)?”
dQ: “For children it is perfect because hopefully they can get presents on the 25th December and the 6th January, the Epiphany, el día de Reyes (Kings Day). The action of giving gifts on Christmas Day is something that has been introduced into the customs of the Spanish quite recently, the tradition is Kings Day, but television and movies from the U.S. have influenced the way that Spanish people think and behave.”
MJ: “Are there different types of gifts on both holidays?”
dQ: “Kings Day is a special tradition: when a child has not been good during the year, instead of receiving gifts, the Three Kings give coal. Nowadays, you can find coal confectionery in shops, to play a trick on the little ones who first see only coal and are scared, but then discover the gifts...”
MJ: “Coal confectionary, how strange! Speaking of food: What is your favorite thing to eat at Christmas time?”
dQ: “In the different regions of Spain's, there are various special dishes for the holidays, but I think the most popular dishes on Christmas Eve, which is the Christmas meal of choice for us are: baked fish and / or roast lamb. For dessert in Spain we have some confectionary from the Arab tradition: nougat called turron, hard and soft (with almonds, honey...) and shortbread, which are only consumed at Christmas time.”
MJ: “How do the Three Kings dress?”
dQ: “The Three Kings generally appear as rich princes from the east (kind of Arab in style) and on the afternoon of the 5th of January, there is a parade through the streets with camels, page boys and mountains of candy being thrown into crowds of wide eyed children.”
MJ: “How do people decorate the inside and outside of their houses?”
dQ: “Another curious thing about globalization is the Christmas decorations: colored garlands, poinsettias, figurines of Santa Claus climbing up the balcony, the Christmas tree (natural or artificial) with lights and colored ball-balls and a star on top ... But the most traditional and I would say that the most general is the Portal of Belén, as I said before.”
MJ: “Thank you. And finally: Do children hang stockings?”
dQ: “In your country children usually hang stockings from the fireplace, because Santa Claus slides down the chimney to leave gifts. In Spain we have a small problem: Most houses don’t have a fireplace, so children usually put their clean shoes by a window on the night of the 5th of January with some nougat on a plate for the Three Kings to eat and bit of grass or straw and some water for the camels.”
dQ: “How’s that? Have I answered all your questions or do you have more?”
MJ: “No I think you’ve told me everything I need to know! Thank you very much.”
Keywords: spanish culture,christmas in spain,spanish traditions,christmas traditions in the world,spanish christmas traditions