Category: Customs and Traditions

Snuff Bottle – Qing Dynasty

Snuff Bottle, V&A Museum, photo by JMorton

Snuff Bottle – Qing Dynasty

The above object caught my attention immediately, not only because it was exquisitely beautiful but I remember I have a similar one at home, which Peter got me as a gift a couple of years ago.

I thought it was a perfume bottle.  It was only during a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum two days ago that I learnt it was a snuff bottle, which was used during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).

Smoking a tobacco was prohibited during the Qing Dynasty, therefore nicotine loving Chinese and Mongolian people had resorted to sniffing powdered tobacco contained in snuff bottles.  Inhaling finely ground tobacco was allowed as consumption was deemed medicinal at that time.

The snuff bottles were constructed as tactile as possible as they are carried by hand replacing the snuff boxes favoured by Europeans.  There were really beautiful, work of art, snuff bottles as they were a symbol of your position, how high up you were in society.  Sharing a snuff during the 16th century China was a form of greetings.

Wonderful to learn new things.  I now know that my ‘perfume bottle’ is actually a snuff bottle.  Where is the tobacco?!!! 🙂

An Enlightened Buddha Day to All

Whoever sees me sees the teaching.
– Buddha


Snails on Buddha’s head, Photo by PH Morton

Buddhists celebrate their most important festival of Vesak, known as Buddha Day, today. Many Buddhists will be giving gifts to the needy and doing charity work. From donating blood at hospitals to visiting orphanages and care-homes, they’ll make a special effort to bring happiness to those most in need.

Buddha Day is celebrated annually on the full moon of the ancient lunar month of Vesakha, which usually falls in May or June. The day commemorates the birth of the Buddha-to-be, his enlightenment and his final “passing” into nirvana; marking the end of the reincarnation cycle. This is the point at which a person sees and understands the true nature of things and where their desires end.

An Enlightened Buddha Day to All

ivory-happy-buddha_39Some Buddhists will visit the temple to meditate, reflect on their life and make offerings to monks; many taking time out to chant and listen to sermons. The day usually involves bringing food to offer and share, as well as supplies for the temple and symbolic offerings for the shrine. The traditional Bathing the Buddha also takes place which involves pouring water over the shoulders of statues of the Buddha to purify the mind from greed and hatred.
While celebrations vary from house to house, it’s common to release caged birds as a symbolic act of freedom, construct wooden lanterns for processions, and dress in pure white. A traditional sweet porridge dish called kheer is often eaten as well.
GlobalGranary wishes you a HAPPY BUDDHA DAY!
16 August 2015
Legend of the Snails on Buddha’s head
Nathan, my 6 years old grandson said to me that those swirly bits on top of the head of the Buddha (see above photo) were snails.   He further clarified that the snails were there to keep the Buddha cool whilst meditating.  I must admit I have never heard of that before so I googled it and found that Nathan was right.
The legend has it that the Buddha was so deep in meditation that he was unaware of the bright sun.  A snail realised what would happen so he slowly climbed on the robe of the Buddha and up his head.  He was followed by another 107 other snails, which covered the Buddha’s head in rather symmetrically aesthetic way.  When the Buddha came out of his trance, he noticed what had happened and became eternally grateful for the selflessness of the snails, who gave their lives so the Buddha did not get sunburn, thus, many of Buddha’s statues show the honoured snail martyrs.

Mothering Sunday 2016

Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.
– Erich Fromm

Mothers Day 2016

Jean’s Mother’s Day, photo by PH Morton

Mothering Sunday 2016

Today is Mothering Sunday in the UK and also at some parts of the world.  We at GlobalGranary would like to wish those celebrating this auspicious occassion  a happy and loving Mother’s Day.

As has been a tradition with us since my son was born many years ago, we celebrate mother’s day annually. (Well I did carry him for more than nine months and as my own mother used to say ‘giving birth is being one foot in the grave! hahaha).

This year’s celebration is no different.  It just gets better.

My grandson, Nathan, secretly told my husband that he has a little present for his Grandma for mother’s day, see above photo.  Thank you, Nathan.  Love, love them.

I would like to thank my beloved son, James, my lovely daughter-in-law, Stacey and my adorable grandson, Nathan for the presents and lovely card.  I love them.  I love my scatch card as well.  Yippeee I won £2.00; I can feel that it is only a matter of time before I win the £100K.  Fingers’ crossed 😉

I love receiving presents but there is nothing to replace being surrounded with family during the course of the year and I am happy to say that my loving family is always there for me, in time of joy and sometimes sadness (infrequent 🙂 )

To those who have not been intouch with their mothers yet.  Give them a call.

I know the Philippines celebrate Mother’s Day the same date as the USA but all the same, I would like to wish my mother a Happy Mothering Sunday.


Happy New Year 2016

Fireworks explode around the London Eye wheel, the Big Ben clock tower and the Houses of Parliament to mark the beginning of the New Year in London, Britain, January 1, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Fireworks explode around the London Eye wheel, the Big Ben clock tower and the Houses of Parliament to mark the beginning of the New Year in London, Britain, January 1, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Happy New Year 2016

God knows we could all do a brighter, brand new year as 2015 has been full of natural disasters; some areas in Great Britain have suffered and continue to suffer flooding.  There are also the fear of terrorists attacks any day and anywhere in this world.

But I do have this positive feeling that 2016 will be a good year.

Happy New Year to one and all.  Wishing you all great health, immense wealth, and massive doses of joy and happiness.

Try to grab and hold on to opportunities that come your way.

Do not sweep away your good fortune today.  Put all those dustpan, brush and brooms, vacuum cleaners away.  Forget dusting today.  It is the new year.  Let the wind of change swept throughout your homes.  Open the window and doors for a few minutes and welcome it.

It all sounds hocus pocus but then again always remember: Nothing ventured nothing gained.  What can you lose?!!!

Have the best 2016.

Be happy, it is a choice!

Sewing Kit Essentials

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

Sewing kit, photo by PH Morton

We have forgotten the art of mending through sewing.  If it is ripped, we throw.  If the seams had unravelled, we go to a professional tailor.  But why?  Sewing is the easiest to do.

Many shops providing mending and alterations are springing up left right and centre; they have cornered the market, knowing people have no desire to mend their own clothes if it can be helped. Aware of this, tailorshops sometimes charge a small fortune for their services.

Surely basic sewing was part of Home Economics (HE) lessons at school?  I used to be rather indifferent to the lessons but I found out now how relevant it is to go about your everyday life, no matter what your station in life. 🙂

It is therefore convenient and money efficient to have a sewing kit at hand, so that you can make a favourite dress, skirt or trousers last that much longer.  Darn minor wear and tear.  You could also start a new sewing project.  It could be a start of small cottage industry 😉

What should be in the sewing kit?

Sewing Kit Essentials:

Set of needles in various sizes, i.e. thickness

A pair of sharp scissors

Threads of various colours, especially white, black, beige and brown

A needle threader, even if the eyes are still sharp, a needle threader is still very useful.

A thimble – some materials are thick and hard to sew.  They can be a pain to your digits.  This is when a  thimble come into their own.

Dressmaker’s pin.  They are so useful, especially when you need to shorten a skirt, dress or a pair of jeans or trousers.

A tape measure.

Button collections


Valentine’s Day 2015


Today we are obliged to be romantic
And think of yet another valentine.
We know the rules and we are both pedantic:
Today’s the day we have to be romantic.
Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.
You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.
And saying that has made me feel romantic,
My dearest love, my darling valentine.

– Wendy Cope

Valentine's Gift 2015 Photo by PH Morton

Valentine’s Gift 2015
Photo by PH Morton

I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Valentine’s Day 2015

I had such a lovely Valentine’s day. Peter really went out of his way to make the day extra special. What I wanted, I got! What I asked for, I received!

It was a Happy, fun day.

As a treat to Peter as it is his day too 😉 I have got a Leche Flan now chilling in the fridge for him later. I can’t believe how much he loves Leche Flan.

I have got more dinnerware and kitchenware added to my growing collection, thanks Peter. I love them so much.

I also love the chocolates and looking forward to having them later. I am still full up from our big Chinese lunch.


Here are the photos of the leche flan I made for Peter.  It was a winner in taste and looks.

For the leche flan recipe, please click here!

Wedding Proposals for the Masses

More and more people, especially celebrities, are choosing to have that most romantic of occasion – popping the question –  to be recorded, seen and observed by the masses as it was happening.

Marian Rivera & Dingdong Dantes

Marian Rivera & Dingdong Dantes

Philippines’ Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes (with the sobriquet of Royal Couple), who have been going out for a number of years and have been secretly engaged since 2012 couldn’t help themselves from indulging their sense of romance, and right in front of several millions of television viewers and internet users they went through the whole caboodle of being officially engaged, which was initiated by Dingdong going down on one knee brandishing an impressive Harry Winston bling to his lady love, who giggled and teared up throughout the preambling proposal.

Awww They are now slated to get wed towards the end of the year.

Heart Evangelista & Chiz Escudero

Heart Evangelista & Chiz Escudero

Not to be outdone, Senator Chiz Escudero popped the question to Philippines’ sweetheart, Heart Evangelista, a couple of days ago in front of blazing cameras of the press, family and friends as well.  Heart with her heart on her sleeve cried throughout the proposal.  Awww

Another couple is expected to follow suit, perhaps toward the end of the year but certainly no later than next year. We are talking of Angel Locsin and Luis Manzano of course.

All the weddings will be grand affairs, with no expense spared and of course, those who care will get to know every nitty gritty of the ceremony and celebration. It is sure to be covered by all local magazines and television entertainment and news programs.

To be fair, there is precedence to all these thorough coverage. European royals used to announce engagements as detailed as they can.

There was also a time when tradition had it that the new bride and groom’s first night had to be witnessed to ensure that the marriage was consummated. The next day, the sheet they slept in during their first night as man and wife would be hang into the castle/palace balcony, showing a stain of blood to announce that the bride was a virgin and is no longer. LOL

I hope the celebrities do not go this far! But then again virgin brides are now thin on the ground, even in the Catholic Philippines!

Bygone Era : Customs & Traditions

Manners are the happy ways of doing things; each one a stroke of genius or of love, now repeated and hardened into usage, they form at last a rich varnish, with which the routine of life is washed, and its details adorned. If they are superficial, so are the dew-drops which give such a depth to the morning meadows.

There was a time when good manners and right conduct maketh a man or a woman. More often than not, good manners are deemed old-fashion.

Project Gutenberg has published several books that allow us a glimpse of the past, let us take a look, shall we?!!!

Bygone Era : Customs & Traditions

Women wear a costume appropriate for the afternoon, and keep their hats and gloves on.


Meeting a woman to whom he has been introduced at an entertainment, he should wait until she bows first.

After bowing to a woman, the man may join her, and with her permission may walk a short distance with her.

He should not stand in the street and converse with her any length of time. She may excuse herself and pass on. He should not feel affronted.

If he meets a woman he does not know accompanied by a man he does know, both men bow.

The man accompanying her should bow to every man or woman to whom she bows.

WOMEN. A woman’s bow should be dignified— a faint smile and a gentle inclination of the head.

Women bow first to men when meeting in the street. A man may bow first if the acquaintance is intimate.

When walking with a man, and they meet another unknown to her, but known to her escort, both men bow. If she meets a friend, man or woman, unknown to her escort, he bows.

Unless an introduction has taken place at any function, no recognition is customary. It is the woman’s privilege, however, to decide for herself whether she will recognize the guest or not.

A man bowing and joining a woman on the street must ask permission to do so. She is at perfect liberty to gracefully decline.

If a man stops to talk on the street, she may excuse herself and pass on. If she continues the conversation and he stands with his hat in his hand, she may request him to replace it. Such conversations should be brief.



images (1)CHAPERONES. For a small ball given in a private house, the hostess need not invite the mothers of the young women, and the young women can properly attend, knowing that the hostess will act as a chaperone.


 INTRODUCTIONS. When a man is introduced to a
       woman at a ball, he should ask her for a


images (2)

Courtesy toward his hostess and consideration
for his friends demands that a
man who can dance should do so.


 To accept an invitation to a ball and then
       refuse to dance shows that a man is lacking
       in good breeding.


CARRIAGE. A man should provide a carriage in which to call for the woman he escorts and her chaperone.
images (3)The overcoat, hat, and cane are left in the dressing-room, and the guest removes one or both gloves as he pleases—remembering that he must offer his ungloved right hand to the hostess.


In driving, if impossible to raise the hat, he should touch it with his whip.


SHAKING HANDS. Guests on being presented to the hostess should shake hands. If guest takes leave of hostess, they should shake hands. If the hostess is surrounded by guests, a pleasant nod of farewell is admissible.




tea-in-art-mary-cassat-afternoon-teaAn afternoon tea is a simple entertainment. Refreshments are generally served to the guests. An innovation lately introduced has become quite popular —namely, young women, invited for the purpose, wait upon the guests, bringing in one dainty at a time.

An afternoon tea is called a formal afternoon tea when engraved cards have been issued, naming set date.

Hydrangea Also Known As Hortensia

I have been reading about Hydrangea and I must say it is a very interesting plant. It is not only a beautiful shrub with verdant leaves but provide a long lasting bouquets of little flowers in a huge flowerhead.

We have got a few in our garden, we have got the pink variety. Apparently the pink variety has a very romantic meaning which I really love, so much so that I think I or we shall only have pink hydrangea in our garden (unless other colours of hydrangeas have equally romantic meaning, 😉 lol). The pink hydrangea means “You are the beat of my heart,”. Awww

Hydrangea Also Known As Hortensia, The Facts:

It belongs to a genus of between 70-75 species

It originated from southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. 

Hydrangea flowers from early spring to late autumn.

Hydrangea has at least 600 known cultivars, meaning there are 600 plant varieties that have been produced in cultivation by selective breeding. 

Hydrangea usual flowers are coloured white, but the PH of the soil changes their colour.

Hydrangea can be moderately toxic, so be careful with young children and pets.


Despite its mild toxicity, some varieties of teas are made from hydrangea, specifically the hydrangea serrata.  This species produce phyllodulcin, a natural sweetener.  Japan make Ama-Cha, literally means sweet tea from the hydrangea serrata.  Ama-cha is then used in a festival celebrating Buddha’s birth, which is thought in Japan to be  8 April.  The ama-cha is poured over the statue of the Buddha to commemorate his birth, re-enacting the acts of  the 9 dragons pouring amrita over him.  Japan use ama-cha as a substitute for amrita.

Korea also make herbal tea from the hydrangea serrata but a more prosaic version without dragons and bathing buddha.  It is called sugukcha  or ilsulcha.

From our photo above, I noticed that the hydrangea planted directly on the ground flowers first than the one on the pot.  I remember buying an identical cultivar, but the one in the pot has turned lighter in pigmentation compared to the more verdant ground dwelling hydrangea.