Category: Festivals & Celebrations

Palm Sunday 2017

Just after Palm Sunday Service, iPhone photo by JMorton

Palm Sunday 2017

Today is Palm Sunday, the start of the Holy Week, where the crisis of the cross is imminent.

Let us take this Holy Week as a time to ruminate the lives we lead.

To start with, here is a wonderful food for thought:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

~ Martin Luther King Jr

Valentine’s Day Playlist

Photo by PH Morton

I Pink Roses, photo by JMorton

Valentine’s Day Playlist

Valentine’s Day is almost upon us.  Those who would like to celebrate this auspicious day for lovers, here is a tip for background music for the day and night.

  1.  To Make you Feel My Love – Neil Diamond
  2. Make It With You – Bread
  3. You Belong To Me – Bob Dylan
  4. You’re Still The One – Shaina Twain
  5. One Night – The Corrs
  6. I love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis
  7. Kiss Me – Sixpence None the Richer
  8. L O V E – Joss Stone
  9. The Wonder of You – Elvis Presley
  10. Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
  11. Only You – The Platters
  12. When A Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
  13. Suddenly – Billy Ocean
  14. I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen
  15. What Took You So Long – Emma Bunton
  16. Kiss Kiss – Holly Valance
  17. Whenever, Wherever – Shakira
  18. King & Queen of Hearts – David Pomeranz
  19. Love is All Around – Wet Wet Wet
  20. Midnight Blue – ELO

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.

Cheers.

Twelve Days of Christmas

It seems there is precedence to giving and receiving excessive amount of gifts and presents during the Christmas season as defined by my childhood favourite Christmas carol/rhyme, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Partridges: 1 × 12 = 12

Doves: 2 × 11 = 22

Hens 3 × 10 = 30

Calling birds: 4 × 9 = 36

Golden rings: 5 × 8 = 40

Geese: 6 × 7 = 42

Swans: 7 × 6 = 42

Maids: 8 × 5 = 40

Ladies: 9 × 4 = 36

Lords: 10 × 3 = 30

Pipers: 11 × 2 = 22

Drummers: 12 × 1 = 12

Total = 364

The receiver would be responsible for many geese, swans and has to fork out for cows to keep the maids in employment.

She has to move out of her small flat into a mansion with many rooms, where she can escape when the  cocophony of drums and pipes gets too much as well as the house party she has to throw for the raving ladies.

What can the ‘true love’ be thinking?!!! 🙂

Twelve Days of Christmas, art from www.forbes.com

Twelve Days of Christnas, art from www.forbes.com


Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree2

On the second day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the third day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the fifth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the sixth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the seventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the ninth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the eleventh day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
Eleven Pipers Piping
Ten Lords a Leaping
Nine Ladies Dancing
Eight Maids a Milking
Seven Swans a Swimming
Six Geese a Laying
Five Golden Rings
Four Calling Birds
Three French Hens
Two Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Spatial Cherry Blossoms from Japan

Apparently Japanese scientists are flummoxed by the flowering of a cherry blossom, which was grown from seed, few years before it was expected to bloom.

This very special cherry tree is truly spatial. The seed from which it has grown from had been to space and back.

This is big news  to the Japanese people because cherry blossom has a notable place in their hearts.  Afterall Japan is known as the land of the cherry blossoms; the blooming of cherry blossoms are agogly  awaited, watched and celebrated as a festival all over Japan.

The festival is called Hanami, which literally means viewing flowers, but it is not just for any flower. It is predominantly meant for the cherry blossoms.

The traditions started fairly early in the Japanese history. Upper classes and the aristocrats used to picnic under the cherry blossoms which might had been such a wonderful experience as it inspired them to write fulsome poems.

The tradition caught on and everyone started participating and having fun. People would bring food and drinks and eat under these majestic trees. The very intricate tea ceremony is also performed under the trees.

The Hanami festival is not a set date in Japan as a whole. The celebration is determined by location, location, location! The blooming is usually forecasted and may vary from year to year.

Some regions have the flower watching as early as January and some as late as May. The blooming of the cherry blossoms is determined by areas and weather/temperature, of course! 😉

The Hanami festival, although predominantly about the gorgeous cherry blossoms have encompassed and celebrated more of the modern Japanese life.

JPJhermes, on patrol

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Cherry b

 

‘Cherry tree from space’ mystery baffles Japan

AFPBy Shigemi Sato | AFP – Fri, Apr 11, 2014

A cosmic mystery is uniting monks and scientists in Japan after a cherry tree grown from a seed that orbited the Earth for eight months bloomed years earlier than expected — and with very surprising flowers.

The four-year-old sapling — grown from a cherry stone that spent time aboard the International Space Station (ISS) — burst into blossom on April 1, possibly a full six years ahead of Mother Nature’s normal schedule.

Its early blooming baffled Buddhist brothers at the ancient temple in central Japan where the tree is growing.

“We are amazed to see how fast it has grown,” Masahiro Kajita, chief priest at the Ganjoji temple in Gifu, told AFP by telephone.

“A stone from the original tree had never sprouted before. We are very happy because it will succeed the old tree, which is said to be 1,250 years old.”

The wonder pip was among 265 harvested from the celebrated “Chujo-hime-seigan-zakura” tree, selected as part of a project to gather seeds from different kinds of cherry trees at 14 locations across Japan.

The stones were sent to the ISS in November 2008 and came back to Earth in July the following year with Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, after circling the globe 4,100 times.

Some were sent for laboratory tests, but most were ferried back to their places of origin, and a selection were planted at nurseries near the Ganjoji temple.

By April this year, the “space cherry tree” had grown to around four metres (13 feet) tall, and suddenly produced nine flowers — each with just five petals, compared with about 30 on flowers of the parent tree.

It normally takes about 10 years for a cherry tree of the similar variety to bear its first buds.

The Ganjoji temple sapling is not the only early-flowering space cherry tree.

Of the 14 locations in which the pits were replanted, blossoms have been spotted at four places.

Two years ago, a young tree bore 11 flowers in Hokuto, a mountain region 115 kilometres (70 miles) west of Tokyo, around two years after it was planted.

It was of a variety that normally only comes into flower at the age of eight.

Cosmic rays

The seeds were sent to the ISS as part of “an educational and cultural project to let children gather the stones and learn how they grow into trees and live on after returning from space,” said Miho Tomioka, a spokeswoman for the project’s organiser, Japan Manned Space Systems (JAMSS).

“We had expected the (Ganjoji) tree to blossom about 10 years after planting, when the children come of age,” she added.Kaori Tomita-Yokotani, a researcher at the University of Tsukuba who took part in the project, told AFP she was stumped by the extra-terrestrial mystery.

“We still cannot rule out the possibility that it has been somewhat influenced by its exposure to the space environment,” she said.

Tomita-Yokotani, a plant physiologist, said it was difficult to explain why the temple tree has grown so fast because there was no control group to compare its growth with that of other trees.

She said cross-pollination with another species could not be ruled out, but a lack of data was hampering an explanation.

“Of course, there is the possibility that exposure to stronger cosmic rays accelerated the process of sprouting and overall growth,” she said.

“From a scientific point of view, we can only say we don’t know why.”

Wakata is back aboard the ISS, where he is in command of the station.

The astronaut took part in a video link-up on Thursday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, chatting about his daily life hundreds of kilometres above the Earth.

Diana, Princess of Wales

To celebrate International Women’s Day, I got to thinking who I think are the most iconic women over the century. Diana, Princess of Wales tops my list.

I started to search online for info about her and I found the photos below and a video about her. Watching the video, made me miss her. It is as if she had not been gone for that long. I still remember her as if it was yesterday.

Diana, with all her foibles, was quite an admirable woman. She did so much to promote Great Britain worldwide. It is all about image and the image of elegance and fashion were pretty powerful.  She has surpassed her royal status to a world icon.

Her legacy is now continued by the way she brought up Princes William & Harry.

Diana, Princess of Wales

Retrospective of Princess Diana
DIANA-INTRO-1-RX_1725540a

Diana-Princess-of-Wales-007

diana-princess-of-wales-by-mario-testino-at-kensington-palace-2

diana-princess-of-wales-by-mario-testino-at-kensington-palace-8

NPG P716(12); Diana, Princess of Wales by Terence Daniel Donovan

 

Enter The Red Dragon….With the Year of the Horse

11 things to know about Lunar New Year

By Grace Huang, for CNN
January 30, 2014 — Updated 0048 GMT (0848 HKT)
Contrary to popular belief, Chinese refer to the 15-day festival as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year -- not Chinese New Year.Contrary to popular belief, Chinese refer to the 15-day festival as Spring Festival or Lunar New Year — not Chinese New Year.
1. Chinese don’t call it Chinese New Year
  • Chinese government expects 3.62 billion people to travel during Lunar New Year
  • If you were born in the Year of the Horse, red underwear is a must
  • In China, single ladies can rent “fake” boyfriends to fend off family interrogations

(CNN) — It’s that time again: Lunar New Year.

Red packets of money will change hands and dragon dances will roar through the streets as people around the world, predominately of Chinese descent, usher in the Year of the Horse.

Beyond the usual Lunar New Year traditions, however, is a holiday full of interesting quirks and customs.

1. Locals don’t call it Chinese New Year

In China, the festivities are known as spring festival (春節) or Lunar New Year (農曆新年) — the new year is determined by the lunar calendar.

And the Chinese aren’t the only ones who observe it.

From late January to mid-February, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other countries celebrate Lunar New Year.

2. Traffic is chaos

Lunar New Year is basically like having an entire country throw a family reunion — all at once.

Traffic Armageddon inevitably strikes.

In China, the Spring Festival travel rush period (chunyun) is the country’s, if not the world’s, biggest season of human migration.

Whether pushing their way into packed buses, buying black-market tickets from scalpers or standing for hours on a crowded train, travelers do whatever it takes to see loved ones.

With commuters and migrant workers returning home, the government expects 3.62 billion journeys to take place this year, according to Xinhua news.

In Korea last year, nearly 30 million people visited their hometownsby car, bus, train or plane, according to the Korea Expressway Corporation.

3. It’s not just one day

Lunar New Year lasts 15 days, starting from January 31, 2014.

This year its last day falls on Valentine’s Day.

It’s an action-packed holiday — you can bet on horse races, watch parades, bargain in bazaars and fight for prime worship spot at the temple.

What\'s with the bucket, pal? No cleaning allowed on the first day of Lunar New Year.
What’s with the bucket, pal? No cleaning allowed on the first day of Lunar New Year.

4. It’s a season of superstitions

During LNY, you live like a college student on the first day — which means no showers, laundry or cleaning.

Above all, there’s no taking out the trash — doing so is said to wash away your luck and prosperity.

You hang out with family (especially in-laws) on the second day, which is considered the beginning of the year.

On the third day, visiting friends and family is frowned upon, because it’s a day prone to arguments.

On the seventh day, it’s time to party in celebration of everyone’s birthday.

 

5. You can rent a boyfriend

Lunar New Year can be rough for singles, especially females.

Many family reunions are highlighted by dreaded interrogations of singles who haven’t settled down.

Now there’s a solution — boyfriend rentals.

China’s largest online retailer, Taobao, has a section for fake boyfriend rentals, so parents and relatives can finally stop nagging.

Renting a bogus marriage prospect ranges from RMB 500 ($82) to 8,000 ($1,321) per day.

The package comes with “a free embrace, hand holding and a goodbye kiss on the cheek,” as well as a list of additional specific service charges.

According to People’s Daily, dinner costs RMB 50 ($8) an hour and a trip to the movies is RMB 30 ($5) — double if it’s a thriller.

 

6. Odd linguistic customs are observed

In Parts of China, there are a few things you can and can’t do over the Lunar New Year holiday — simply because of how they sound.

Footwear purchases are off limits for the entire lunar month, as the term for shoes (haai) sounds like losing and sighing in Cantonese.

You can however, turn the Chinese character for luck (fu) upside down to make “dao” (which sounds like arrival) and put it on your door to bring in good fortune for the new year.

 

7. Firecrackers are for scaring away monsters

Legend says the half-dragon, half-lion monster “Nian” comes out of hiding and attacks people (especially children) during the Lunar New Year.

His weakness? Sensitive ears.

In the old days, people would light bamboo stalks on fire to frighten the monster.

Nowadays, you can watch spectacular fireworks display along the Hong Kong waterfront or play with firecrackers in a Beijing hutong.

Red undies keep bad luck at bay. Even so, she looks like trouble.
Red undies keep bad luck at bay. Even so, she looks like trouble.

8. Red undies are critical for some

Red is associated with luck and prosperity, but it’s used mainly for protective purposes.

In addition to being spooked by loud noises, “Nian” is frightened by the color red, which explains all the red you see on Lunar New Year decorations.

For those born in the Year of the Horse — turning 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84 and 96 this year — red undergarments are a must.

Not because that pesky LNY monster has X-ray vision, but because red undies supposedly fend off misfortune in this unlucky year.

Interestingly, the Cantonese term for pants (fu) sounds exactly like the word for wealth.

9. It’s a time for sweets

Food is central to all Chinese festivals, but sugary snacks are especially important for LNY, since they sweeten up prospects for the coming year.

Traditional holiday treats include nian gao (rice pudding), babaofan (eight treasure rice), jau goks (crispy dumplings), candied fruits and seeds.

10. It has its own movie genre

China and Hong Kong have a film genre called “hesuipian” devoted to Lunar New Year.

The films are usually illogical, uplifting comedies, with a focus on families and happy endings to make viewers feel warm and fuzzy. Similar to Christmas movies, really.

Holiday favorites include the “All’s Well, Ends Well” series (the 1992 classic stars Stephen Chow and Maggie Cheung), “Fat Choi Spirit” and “It’s a Mad Mad World.”

11. Customs are flexible

Customs and superstitions aren’t set in stone.

There’s room for flexibility in interpretation and application.

Banning shoes for the entire lunar month?

That depends on how you read the rules — the word for shoe might sound like sighing, but it also sounds like harmony (hexie).

Not showering for the sake of Lunar New Year?

Many pass on that for obvious hygienic reasons.

In the end, Lunar New Year is really about having a great time with family and friends, so many opt not to sweat the details.

The Chinese New Year: Superstitions and Traditions

lanternAs the New Year is being welcomed by the Chinese and other believers around the world, traditions and, yes, superstitions are also observed and practised.

Below are some of these traditions:

The Chinese New Year: Superstitions and Traditions

For good luck remember these three things:

Look to the future rather than back to the past year/s.

Do not mention a dead relative, friends or acquaintance on New Year’s day.

DO NOT CRY ON THIS DAY as you will be crying all year round.  Did you know that children who are misbehaving  are tolerated at this day.  For one day they are not shouted at or threaten with a good smacking because crying children will cry all year round.  LOLlantern s

………………

Other New Year’s Superstitions:

Chinese traditions have it that knives and scissors must not be used on New Year’s day as this might cut off fortune.

 

Happy Hanukkah from Golders Green

IMG_0310

The Hanukkah Menorah at Golders Green – Photo by PH Morton

We live near Golders Green in NW London for many years; there has been a strong Jewish community. We like the Jewish bakeries, delicious chollah bread, bagels and cakes 🙂

In December when we celebrate Christmas, Jews celebrate  Hanukkah ( dedication) also known as Chanukah or Chanukkah; This is the festival of Lights and Feast of Dedication.  Hindus also have a  festival of lights called Diwali in October.    Hanukkah commerates the redication of the Holy(second) Temple in Jerusalem around the second century BC, during the time of the Maccabean Revolt. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev relating to the Hebrew calendar,  which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the western used Gregorian calendar.

The alighting of the nine branch Menorah (candelabrum) one candle, bulb etc is lit each night over the eight day festival. The ninth branch (attendant) of the menorah is either  above or  below the other eight and is the general purpose light.      

 

Maligayang Pasko From The Philippines

 

I love Christmas in the Philippines. It is celebrated in such a big way. Many establishments and private abodes are already decorated with the glory of Christmas as soon as the wind of September blows its way. The rule of thumb is that when the month ends in “er” it is Christmas time. Hooray, Merry Christmas!!! Maligayang Bati (Happy Hello?!!)

We celebrated Christmas in the Philippines last year after 26 years of Christmases in London. Peter was with me and he seemed to have enjoyed it as much as I did. It was rather a bit of a panic to start with as the whole population of Fullon Street en masse came knocking at our door to wish us a Happy Christmas.

Peter had the time of his life after the initial confusion. It was a different experience for him as Christmas in London is more solemn or rather quieter especially if you do not have much relatives. On Christmas day you tend to be cut off as no public transport is available. You have to rely on taxis which charge the earth (no peace on Earth there) on Christmas day. Lucky for us, we have always love Christmas just being together and if we are lucky our beloved James, Stacey and little Natnat would come round.

Anyway back to the Philippines; we had Noche Buena to welcome Christmas. Mind you we have Noche Buena in London too but not as grand as the ones in the Philippines.

The food was fantastic. We had cakes from Red Ribbon, from Goldilocks and from Pritil Market. We had kakanen etc. My sister-in-law was such a great cook, she made us a fabulous feast fit for the gods or rather for God’s Birthday. I’ll look up picture of the feast and post it here later. It became a laughing ritual that every time we eat something, Peter had to take a photo of the food before it journeyed into our respective esophagus. We had a full house; all the relatives in the house. Peter could not believe how many relative, through me, he has. He was really, really chuffed. He loved being surrounded by smiling people trying to talk to him in part English, part Tagalog and part giggles. 😉

To be continued….. much more to say. hehehe

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