Easter in Ethiopia and Spain, India’s turtle nesting, mammoth meatball

Apr 5, 2023 Episode 145

Unusual Easter traditions in Ethiopia and Spain, India’s Olive Ridley turtle nesting season, Netherland’s woolly mammoth meatball

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week – Easter in Ethiopia and Spain, India’s Olive Ridley turtles are nesting, and mammoth meatballs are here!

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!” 


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!

I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder – otherwise known as my… mama!

MAMA: Hello, I’m Lyndee Prickitt.

LEELA: This week…

Happy Easter everyone! You won’t believe the differences in how its celebrated around the world – we have special reports from Spain and Ethiopia.

In India its nesting season for the beloved Olive Ridley turtles – we’ll go to the beach for more on the story.

And a mammoth meatball is unveiled in the Netherlands and it’s not just big, oh no.

Plus, I know you’ve all been waiting for it – we’ll reveal what last week’s April Fool story was. Turned out, we REALLY did fool you! Ohh yaa!


LEELA: Alrighty then, let’s dive on in. First up, it’s…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: On Sunday Christians around the world will be celebrating Easter.

LEELA: And it’s not just a big spring holiday with lots of cnady and Easter Egg hunts.

MAMA: Oh, no. For Christians it is all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

LEELA: And resurrection means coming back to life, in case you didn’t know.

MAMA: Thank you. Well, last year we produced a special report giving you the low-down on this religious holiday that also has pagan roots.

LEELA: And most importantly explained why we have an Easter Bunny and not an Easter Chicken for a festival that has an egg hunt at the center of it!

MAMA: I know, crazy right?! So do visit our website or go back in your listening app library toEpisode 94 to learn all about the history of Easter. But this year – we wanted to know how other cultures celebrate this festival.

LEELA: So, we tapped into our network of kid correspondents and guess who’s moved to Ethiopia in East Africa?

MAMA: Alina Tidwell, who used to be in Maryland, near Washington, DC in America.

LEELA: That’s a big move. And did you also know it’s one of the oldest Christian communities in the world?!

MAMA: Take it away Alina

LEELA: Go Alina.

ALINA: Thanks, Leela!

Yes, I now live in Ethiopia – which is nothing like DC.

Did you know Ethiopia is considered to be one of the oldest Christian countries in the world?

But Ethiopian Christians are Orthodox Christians, which is a little bit different.

For a start, they celebrate holidays, like Christmas and Easter, more than a week later than I usually do.

And there’s no Easter bunny or egg hunts for candy.

Ohhhh, no. In fact, Easter is prettyserious.

So, because they believe they should suffer like Christ did before he died – they fast or observe Lent.

That means about six weeks before Easter, they don’t eat any animal products, including dairy and eggs.

And the closer it gets to Easter, the fasting becomes more strict.

The Thursday before everyone begins eating food for sadness.

Basically, they just eat bland boiled wheat.

After that no food or drink is allowed until Easter morning.

That’s tough! Luckily, the kids don’t have to do this.

But there is a little bit of fun – a kind of slumber party for the adults!

Yep, Easter Saturday they all sleep at the church and at 3 am Easter Sunday morning, the fast is broken and everyone shouts and cheers, with loud ul-u-lating.

And that’s gonna wake me up

In Ethiopia I’m Alina Tidwell, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks so much, Alina!

MAMA: And in case you didn’t know ululate means howl or wail as an expression of strong emotion, typically grief.

LEELA: It’s fairly common in Africa and parts of Asia.

MAMA: But – Ethiopians ululate with their tongue tapping the roof of their mouth, while most people in Arabic speaking countries ululate with their tongue moving side to side.

LEELA: Well, I had no idea.

MAMA: Stick with me, kid. We’ve got all sorts of fabulous facts. For instance, any idea how they celebrate Easter in the Catalonian region of Spain?

LEELA: With yummy food, I would think!

MAMA: That depends – is chocolate a food?

LEELA: Oh, yeah!

MAMA: Well, then let’s cut across to our Barcelona correspondents Nina and Marcky Granena to find out about this delicious twist on Easter.

NINA AND MARCKY: One of the best things about Semana Santa.

That’s what we call “Spring Break” here in Catalonia, Spain.

One of the best things is, of course, la mona de pasqua! For those of you who don´t know what it is, I can sum it up for you in three words. Amazing. Easter. Chocolate.

La Mona de Pascua is like a statue, or a landscape, or even a soccer ball, made entirely from chocolate.

Your godparents give it to you on Easter Monday.

And then you break off pieces and eat it all week!

There are many different theories about the origins of la Mona de Pasqua.

Some people say it’s Latin, others say it’s Greek.

Well papa says mona means “present” in Arabic.

And in the olden days, Moors who had converted to Christianity, would give their landlords a present after Easter, and it was called la Mona.

Yes, and back in the olden days, those monas were not made out of chocolate.

This I did not know.

Yeah, they were made from bread. And they had eggs in them.

Oh yes! Eggs symbolize rebirth and that’s what Spring is all about.

And even today, in most parts of Spain, the Monas you get are cakes, rather than chocolate statues.

Another great thing about Catalonia, I guess.

From Barcelona this is Nina Granena and Marcky Granena for Newsy Poolozie!

LEELA: O. M. G. That sounds amazing. Yum. Can we do Easter in Barcelona next year, please, pretty please with a huge Monas on top?

WORLD WRAP STING – LEELA: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell! Which means… it’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds.” 

MAMA: Donald Trump becomes the first US president to ever be criminally indicted as in charged with a crime. Trump pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to boost his election chances when he ran for office in 2016.

Finland becomes the 31st member of the NATO security alliance, or club. This doubles the length of member states that border with Russia and is a big setback for Russia’s President Putin, who’d repeatedly complained of NATO’s expansion before his invasion of Ukraine.

The “biggest ever” black hole is found we’re talking 33 billion times the mass of the sun. It was detected using something called gravitational lensing. Luckily it exists in a galaxy far-far away from us about 2.7 billion light years from Earth.

And happy birthday cell phones. Any guesses how old this life-changing technology is? Well, engineer Martin Cooper made the first phone call fifty years ago on a Motorola mobile – of course it looked more like a brick, but still, what a half a century of tele-tech it’s been!

LEELA: Well thank you so much for that – let’s do a bouncy spring version today – that whippity-whappity-zippity-zappity wrap of what’s making headlines elsewhere in the world, Mama.

MAMA: I Love it! Anytime, Leela. And now it’s time for…

NATURE STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The call of nature. Get on your safari suite. Or squeeze into your scuba gear. And get ready to hop into a jeep. Or submarine. Submarine. Because Mother Nature is calling! Nature.”   

LEELA: So, Mama.

MAMA: So, Leela.

LEELA: While it might be spring in the US and Europe, in most of India it’s well and truly summer. And that means…

MAMA: You’re telling me. That means heat, sweat and lots of watermelon.

LEELA: Right. And for most India students it’s also exam season. But that’s not all.


LEELA: Ohhh no, Here’s a clue – it’s something turtally awesome!

MAMA: Oh… I think I know what you’re getting at… Does it also happen to be turtle nesting season?

LEELA: It sure is! For those of you who don’t know, the endangered olive ridley turtles flock to the beaches of India’s coastline every year from late January, in fact, all the way through April, to lay eggs.

MAMA: Yeah, and these turtles lay something like over half a million nests every year just on Indian beaches!

LEELA: And as each of their nests contains around 100 eggs – well, that’s a lot of turtle eggs every year.

MAMA: Wait a minute – 500,000 times a 100 – whoa, that’s like…

LEELA: 50 million! For more on this, let’s cut across to our south Indian correspondent, Sahasra Sridhar.

SAHASRA: Thanks, you guys!

You’re right – the olive ridley turtles do lay a lot of eggs.

But that doesn’t mean they’re easy to find, let me tell you.

I should know – as I’m really fortunate to have actually seen some nests and held the sweet little sea turtles myself!

See, the Ridleys waddle as far onto the beach as they can, dig a burrow to lay their eggs in, then kick sand over the whole patch and pat it down.

Meaning we have to look carefully for turtle tracks, find the covered area then dig – and dig – to find the nests.

Oh, and did I mention, the nests are shaped like a pot with a hollow neck about a foot deep, with the eggs at the bottom?

So, when we collect the eggs, we need to stick our hand deep – deep – into the nest and try tofish them out.

Get it, fish them out?

Sadly, despite so many hatchlings, it’s estimated that only one in a thousand turtles survive till adulthood!

Why, you ask?

Well firstly, dogs and birds on the beach nab them. Yes, for dinner!

Sometimes even humans pick them up and try to keep them as pets, which is disastrous as they need to expose their body to water, or they’ll dry up and die.

But even in the ocean there are predators, never mind oil spills and pollution, which suffocate them.

So, it’s no surprise they’re vulnerable with some populations of them actually endangered.

So, if you ever get a chance to ever go on a turtle walk in your area – please do!

In Chennai, this is Sahasra Sridhar, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Sahasra.

MAMA: Yeah, thanks a lot! By the way, any idea why they’ve got their funny name?

LEELA: Actually, no.

MAMA: Well, from the coloring of their heart-shaped shell, which starts out gray but becomes olive green once the turtles are adults.

LEELA: And the ridley bit?

MAMA: Oh, that’s easy Ridley means a small turtle from tropical seas.

LEELA: Ah, who knew! I thought the turtle sold riddles. I’m learning so much this episode.

MAMA: Right? To be honest – me too!

[SOURCE: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/olive-ridley-turtle plus on-the-ground reporting.]

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: Oh, this is not just an oddball, it’s a MEAT-ball and a very odd one at that, never mind gigantic.


LEELA: So you remember we did a story a few weeks ago – in Episode 135 about the wooly mammoth being resurrected – which we know from our Easter story is something coming alive again.

MAMA: Well, to be clear, the DNA of an old wooly mammoth is being used to try and genetically recreate another modern-day version. But, as we reported, that’s gonna take a few years so…

LEELA: Oh, this isn’t about the mammoth’s return, but the meat inspired by it!

MAMA: Whaaaat?

LEELA: So, a museum in the Netherlands just revealed a giant meatball – as in the kind you eat with spaghetti – made from flesh of a woolly mammoth.

MAMA: Why has that not really cleared anything up?

LEELA: Because this is LAB-MADE meat.

MAMA: Ahhh, gotcha.

LEELA: The meatball was created by an Australian “cultured meat company,” called Vow as in they vow to make meat in a lab by using the DNAof an extinct woolly mammoth.

MAMA: Interesting.

LEELA: To be precise – the meatball was made of sheep cells inserted with a regular mammoth gene called myoglobin, which is responsible for the smell, color and taste.

MAMA: Leela, are you sure we haven’t been duped, as in tricked? Are you sure this wasn’t an April Fool’s story last week that the Lucky Dip Machine spit out?

LEELA: I’m sure. The company swears it’s no April Fools’ joke. It says it wants people talking about cultured meat – AKA: lab-meat, calling it a more sustainable alternative for real meat.

MAMA: Well, I guess they didn’t pull the wool over your eyes then. Get it?

LEELA: Oh, Mama. You can’t resist the bad mom – jokes, can you?

MAMA: Nope. But neither can you actually. Well, thanks for that report, Leela. Speaking of April Fool’s it’s time for us to reveal our scam story last week as we presented five wacky world news stories – four which were real and one was an April fools.

LEELA: Yes. And, boy, did we fool you listeners!

MAMA: We asked y’all to contact us with your guess about which one was the spoof story.

LEELA: In fact, we even said we’d give away a free T-shirt to the three of who got it right.

MAMA: But of all the entries we had, we are stunned that only 2 of you got it right.

LEELA: So, congratulations to Krystal from California and Jacob from Dubai.

MAMA: And the rest of you would you like know which story was the spoof?

LEELA: Drumroll, pls.


LEELA: No, of course it wasn’t Facebook and Insta getting sued by its own county. That’s for real.

MAMA: Nor was it the snake café in Malaysia.

LEELA: Real sadly. And horrible.

MAMA: It wasn’t the 2,400-year-old flushable toilet found in China either.

LEELA: They really did find that – though, it no longer works.

MAMA: And as crazy as it sounds making dresses from spare auto-parts, that’s real too.

LEELA: Honestly, I’m not sure you could make that one up, it’s so weird. So, the Newsy Pooloozi April Fool’s story of 2023 was…

MAMA AND LEELA: Pungent paints.

LEELA: Yes, we made that up.

MAMA: And while it sounds plausible – paint that leave a canvas smelling for 3 months like roses, freshly cut grass, apple pie, coffee…

LEELA: Or even fish – ewwww!

MAMA: It isn’t real. But I like that y’all have such faith in innovation and creativity that you think it could easily be true.

LEELA: Personally, I like that we… fooled ya!

[SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/giant-meatball-extinct-mammoth-unveiled-netherlands-2023-03-28/


FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…” 

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – MAMA: On Sunday Christians around the world will be celebrating Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What’s resurrection mean?

Coming back to life

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – The East African nation of Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. When they stop fasting on Easter morning many start to ululate. What does that mean?

To howl or wail as an expression of strong emotion, typically grief.

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – It’s nesting season for the olive ridley sea turtles in India. Each of their nests contain around how many eggs?


LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – And how did these adorable sea turtles get their name?

Olive for their shell color and ridley because it means tropical sea turtle.

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – Researchers and lab-meat experts make a giant meatball using the DNA from an extinct wooly mammoth. The meatball was made of sheep cells inserted with a singular mammoth gene, which is responsible for the smell, colour and taste, which is called what?


And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip Blog page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i.com, Pooloozi spell is like p-o-o-l-o-o-z-I and take this quiz online in your own time!

LEELA: And that almost brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: If you enjoyed this dip in the coolest pool of news and information then HIT that subscribe button on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Alexa or wherever you get your podcasts.

MAMA: While you’re at it… Give us a good rating. Or better still, leave us a review! Go on – we’ll read it out loud next week if you do…

LEELA: Alrighty then, see you next week in the happy, splashy giant Newsy Pooloozi!