Category: Festivals/Celebrations

Qixi Festival (Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day)

Qixi Festival (Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day)

Global Granary would like to wish you all a Happy Chinese Valentine’s Day!  Jiayou

Yep, me too.  I find it rather ‘strange’ to be celebrating Valentine’s Day today.  Valentine’s Day is on 14th February every year.  🙂

Today, however, is the Qixi Festival, also known as Qiqiao Festival.  This festival is celebrated just like the St Valentine’s Day, where lovers go on dates, giving presents like chocolates and flowers.

The Qixi Festival originated from one of the poems from the Shijing collection of Odes and Songs dating back from 11th to 7th century BC.

The poem is a narrative of the saga of the romantic but forbidden relationship that develops between a human and a goddess.

Niulang was a poor cowherd boy, who lived with his brother and brother-in-law.  He was a male Cinderella, maltreated and abused to the point of being thrown out of the house.

Niulang then met an old man, who told him that there was a job going for a resourceful cowherd.  Niulang was so grateful to the old man, who was, in fact, a supernatural being.  He brought Niulang to the heavens to look after sick cows.

In no time, the bovines where thriving.  The old man was grateful to the young man.  He noticed thought that Niulang looks lonely.  As a reward for the hard-working man, he introduced her to a beautiful girl, who spends her day weaving.  She is a goddess incognito and her name is Zhi Nu.

It was love at first sight for both of them.

A marriage between a mortal and a deity is strictly prohibited.

But they did not care; they were in love and got married, had two kids and would have lived happily ever after if the goddess’ grandmother did not find out.

The grandmother, Wang Mu Niang Niang, thought her granddaughter was contentedly weaving infinite yarns 🙂 in a corner of the heavens; she did not know that she was playing wifey to some mortal.

She was incandescent with rage that with her hairpin she scratched a wide ribbon in the heavens separating Zhi Nu from her mortal family.

Zhin Nu and Niulang with their children cried so much that their tears flowed into the chasm between them creating a river.

It might be pity or it might be a wish for some peace and quiet from all the cryings that a great flock of magpies forms a bridge so the family can be reunited for a day.

So it was then decided that on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month each year, the magpie will help to reunite the family.  That is why today is also known as Magpie Day.

 

 

 

 

 

2018 – Year of The Dog

2018 – Year of The Dog

You belong in the Years of the Dog if you were born in the year: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 and next one will be in 2030.

Nostalgia

2018 is a Fire Dog Year.

Lucky numbers are: 3,4 & 9

Lucky flowers:  Rose (you can’t never go wrong with this delicately scented blossom), oncidium, cymbidium, orchids.

Lucky colours are green, red and purple.

 

2016, Year of the Monkey

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2016, Year of the Monkey

Today is the start of the year of the Monkey.  For some reason, this very Chinese cultural tradition has been adopted in the Philippines that it has become a national holiday.  It never used to during my time in the Philippines.

I supposed it was proposed and ratified by the government of the Aquinos because of their close tie to the large Chinese community in the Philippines.  And yes the first Chinatown outside of China 🙂 can be found here in the Philippines.  It is located in exotic  Binondo.

Anyway the start of the Chinese new year is celebrated in a big way.  It is the time to best attract prosperity and wealth.

Chinese household usually clean their homes inside and out  just before the new year.  They prepare their lucky money envelopes and display fruits and round circular objects, candies and goodies on their dining table.

They also serve lots of sweet cakes, which my particular favourite is the tikoy.  Simply delicious.

The superstitious beliefs in connection with the start of the new year do not stop here.  They have more things to consider that can put your head and mind in a whirl.

Apparently, people born in the year of the monkey are quick-witted, sociable, enthusiastic, innovative and self-assured.  The downside, I am afraid, is that they can be jealous, suspicious, cunning, arrogant and selfish.

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Love Wish Tree

Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.
~Michael Leunig

True love stories never have endings.
~Richard Bach
….
Valentines day tree For you see, each day I love you more
Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
~Rosemonde Gerard

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be.
~Robert Browning
…..
Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
~Marcel Proust

Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of all growths.  No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.
~Mark Twain

…..
My heart to you is given:
Oh, do give yours to me;
We’ll lock them up together,
And throw away the key.
~Frederick Saunders

Hope all your love wishes/ dreams came true this St Valentine’s Day.  If they have not, keep looking!  🙂  Life is full of opportunities and rewards to those who seek!

Camel Beauty Contest

This is a most unique beauty contest, which is the Camel Beauty pageant held during the Al Dhafra Festival.

Though we are used to watching women parade in their national costumes that get more bizarre each year and skimpy swimsuits, there is something really beautiful and graceful about the camels; they have a certain dignity about them.

And the prize is serious money. The winner can be bought for as much as £2Million ($3,291,800.00 US Dollar) But then again, the winner is seriously beautiful which is judged by its eyelashes, humps, height, colour, and good manners!

I want to go see this festival, I think I shall add it to my bucket list.

By Zein Ja’Far, Sky News Producer

It is one of the world’s most unique beauty pageants.

Every year people travel thousands of miles, from across the Gulf, to the Western Region of the United Arab Emirates to attend the prestigious event.

But you won’t find any designer dresses, tiaras or make-up artists here because they’ve come to seek out the region’s next top camel.

The Al Dhafra festival is in its seventh year and seeks to celebrate and promote culture.

The highlight is the camel beauty pageant which sees thousands of contestants strut their stuff in two competitions: one for the light-coloured Asayel breed and another for the dark-skinned Majahim.

Camel beauty pageant
The Al Dhafra festival is in its seventh year

They’re judged on a range of criteria from the size of the head, length of its neck and the shape of the hump. And big is most definitely considered beautiful.

But looks aren’t everything and points are also awarded for model behaviour with the very best camels sold for up to £2m.

Khamees Mohammad al Sharee, a camel owner who regularly attends the festival, explains how the winners are picked.

“There is a special committee, appointed by the authorities, which judges the competition. They place all the camels together in one pen and decide.”

For many people in this part of the Middle East the protection of pure-bred camels is integral to the preservation of their history and traditions.

Camel beauty pageant
The festival seeks to celebrate and promote Bedouin culture

These “desert ships”, as some refer to them, historically provided Bedouins with a source of milk and transportation. They’re also seen, more recently, as a potentially profitable business investment.

And it’s not just millions of pounds worth of cash prizes and cars that entice people to come. It’s a matter of national pride with camel-owning families from the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and other Gulf states all competing.

It’s also attracting interest from further afield. For South African, Danielle Tennant, it was her first experience of a camel beauty pageant.

“As we arrived we were ushered in and we were given a personal guide. We tried some amazing Arabian coffee and we’ve been taken around to the stalls.

“It’s been quite fascinating to think it’s another whole interest, a passion people have.”

As well as the beauty pageant the Al Dhafra festival, which runs for two weeks, also hosts camel races, saluki races, falconry competitions and a traditional Emirati market.

 

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