Tag Archives: Entertainment

Season of Joy 4 – Little Drummer Boy

Season of Joy 4

Little Drummer Boy

View this carol on YouTube (lyrics included): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fji9CRtf29s&feature=share&list=UUmI3ZvZVSfN28HOBM9pOnDQ

Scroll down and sing along: Lyrics are below the pictures.

Little Drummer Boy (22)

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (21)

A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (20)

Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (3)

To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Little Drummer Boy (4)

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

When we come. 

Little Drummer Boy (6)

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (8)

I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (11)

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (12)

That’s fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, 

Little Drummer Boy (13)

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,

On my drum? 

Little Drummer Boy (14)

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum

The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum 

Little Drummer Boy (16)

I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum

I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, 

Little Drummer Boy (17)

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum.

Little Drummer Boy (18)

Title: XS-   LITTLE Drummer Boy — | Christmas Music | Free Royalty-Free Downloads for YouTube Videos
Artist: Jason Shaw
Playlist: Happy Holidays
Copyright: Jason Shaw. Licensed to the public under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ Verify at http://www.audionautix.com
Advertisements

Hula Hoop

Hula Hoop

The hula hoops exact origins are unknown. Many hold the mistaken belief that it was invented in the 1950’s, as mass marketing gained it international popularity at that time. It is a popular toy, typically measuring 71 cm or 28 inches in diameter for children and 1.02m or 40 inch for the adult sizes that is twirled around the waist, neck or limbs.

Hula hooping has actually been in use as a form of exercise going back as far as 5th century Greece. Back then the traditional materials used for the construction of hoops included: willow, grapevines, stiff grasses, flexible rattan and strong vines. Hoops in the present day, however, are usually constructed of plastic tubing and often filled with rocks or materials that serve as weights to carry the hoop around the body. In 13th Century in Scotland hoops were in use by adults as a popular recreation or in religious ceremonies. According to their medical records, the doctors back than utilized this as recuperative treatment for patients with dislocated backs and those that had suffered heart attacks. Then in the 19th Century, the term “hula” was added to the toy name, drawing upon the similarities of the movement of the hips in the traditional dances of the Hawaiian Islands and those of the hooping enthusiast.

In recent years there has been a re-emergence of hula hooping, hoop dance or simply hooping. An international Holiday of World Hoop Day has become the celebrated event worldwide. On World Hoop Day, when the year, month and day all share the same number (2007-07-07 to 2012-12-12) hoopers dance in every city and country to raise money and donate hoops to others who can’t afford them. Many modern hoopers make their own hoops out of polyvinyl chloride, polyethylene, high-density polypropylene, or polypropylene tubing. The polyethylene hoops, and especially the polyvinyl chloride hoops, are much larger and heavier that hoops of the 1950’s. The size and the weight of the hoop are specific for the individual use. Heavier, larger hoops are more often used for slow hooping and body tricks while lighter, thinner tubing is used for quick hand tricks. These hoops are usually covered in a fabric or plastic tape to increase traction and ease the amount of work in keeping a hoop twirling around the dancer.  To make it colourful some use glow-in-the dark, patterned, or sparkling tape, or have the clear tubing filled with plastic balls, glitter, water and such to produce delightful visual and audio effects.  LED technology now allows hoops to light up at the flick of a switch, delighting audiences worldwide.

Here are some interesting facts from Wikipedia: “The record for the most hoops twirled simultaneously is 132, set by Paul “Dizzy Hips” Blair on November 11, 2009.”

“The longest verified record holder is Aaron Hibbs from Columbus, Ohio who broke the record at 74 hours and 54 minutes between October 22, through 25, 2009”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to see a video of The Yate Dance and Acrobatic Team from Shenzhen, China performed at the International Stage at the CNE on Aug 21, 2012, Toronto: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YENbjmgMPmo&feature=share&list=UUmI3ZvZVSfN28HOBM9pOnDQ

Enjoy the rest of the Summer.

The Dragon People

The Dragon People

What do all these people have in common?

Hint: This year 2012 is also a year of Dragon.

Still guessing?

Answer: They are all born in the year of Dragon. Those born in the Dragon year, besides being fortunate (the Chinese name “lung” is a sign of luck), are also honoured and well respected.

Here is some character traits associated with the Dragon Personalities:

Dragons are free spirited persons always being free and uninhibited, for conformation is a Dragon’s curse. Restrictions snuffs out the ample creative spark that is always ready to flare.  Dragons feel that all rules and regulations pertain to others and not to them.

The Dragon beings are beautiful creatures; their natural instinct is to be colourful and flamboyant. An extroverted bundle of energy, gifted and utterly, utterly irrepressible, in fact, everything Dragons do is on a grand scale: big ideas, ornate gestures, and extreme ambitions. Because they are confident and fearless in nature, they will always overcome any challenge and are inevitably successful in rising to the very pinnacle of any profession. A note of caution: Dragon people need to be aware of their ambitious nature however, for too much enthusiasm can leave them fatigued and unfulfilled.

Though they are always ready to give any assistance whenever the need arises they are also proud and loathe accepting any form of aid from others.

The Dragon’s originality is the most impressive and outstanding of all his characteristics. The Dragon is quite imaginative and always able to see new paths where others may run into brick walls. Dragons are very adaptable and are fit for various occupations, especially those occupations that allow them to bathe in the limelight. Dragons work hard, but would rather give orders than receive them. Therefore to be content, they should avoid jobs that encompass too much routine, and opt instead for the positions in which their self-reliance can be an asset. Some of the occupations best suited for the Dragon are Computer analysts, Inventors, Engineers, Architects, Lawyers, Philosophers, Psychoanalysts, Brokers, Managers, PR People, Advertising agents, Sales people, Officers in the military, Campaigners for Charities or Politicians. In any of these occupations the Dragons will often take a radical approach.

Not the most domesticated of the Animal signs, Dragons may be more content out and about rather than stuck at home. Nevertheless, blessed with imagination and artistic sense, they may enjoy decorating their home or anywhere else where their extravagance can be expressed and duly appreciated. A Dragon’s home is usually large and majestic in accordance with his personality, providing ample space for that fiery temperament or sudden emotional eruptions that are typical of their character.  Keep in mind also that Dragons are egotistical and love to be the center of attention; modesty is not one of their assets. Add to that the Dragon temper and you have a commanding, domineering and authoritative chief. They do hate unsolicited advice and can be hopelessly tactless and insensitive to their lovers and spouses. It takes someone who is easygoing yet has a thick skin to be the Dragon’s partner because, despite their sentimental characters, Dragons can be moody and insensitive. All the same, Dragons are loved so much because they are generous, charismatic, irresistible, and so brave that standing beside them banishes fear. They generate excitement and turn heads anywhere they go. They are free-spirited and impulsive and can help others achieve their dreams. Others love to be around Dragons because they have a way of making people feel better.

True enough, the Dragon’s generous personality gives them the ability to attract friends easily, but they are rather solitary people at heart. A Dragon’s self-sufficiency means that he or she has no need for close bonds with other people. Dragons are quick to fall in love, but do not surrender their independence easily leaving most of them to live life by themselves. Yet, a smart, witty, and funny companion may intrigue the Dragon long enough to make him want to get married and, once the Dragon becomes committed, they will be fiercely loyal and most unlikely to ever leave.

Many people will want to run when the Dragon’s temper is provoked. Chinese horoscopes are very specific about which partnerships have the potential to be successful in love and in business. Yet, though destiny can point us in the right direction, we must still make all efforts to maintain loving relationships.

In a scenario where Dragon marries another Dragon, they need to learn to share the spotlight; once this is accomplished, they will live in absolute bliss. Furthermore nothing is beyond their reach.

A Dragon and Snake union: A clever, crafty and quick-witted relationship as they fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

Dragon marrying a Horse: In this case you share a powerful sexual chemistry.

Dragon marrying Rabbit or Sheep: Despite the sexual attraction, eventually you’ll find too many differences to overcome.

Dragon marrying Monkey: You share similar opinions and goals that destine you for happiness.

Dragon marrying Dog: A truly tumultuous affair-not recommended for peace of mind.

Dragon marrying Pig: A caring and deeply affectionate relationship.

Dragon marrying Rooster: You make a beautiful couple, but your egotism blinds you.

Because people born in the year of the Dragon are so bent on furthering their careers, they usually put off having and raising children until late. Parenting doesn’t come very naturally or easily to the Dragon. However, when Dragons do become parents, they approach it with the same enthusiasm as their other endeavors. They are proud parents and tend to boast about the accomplishments and good looks of their children. Dragons, noted for their benevolence, tend to shower their children with toys and spending money. It has been remarked that they substitute material things for quality time with their children. Even so, Dragons take parenting seriously and are quite protective of their children’s welfare. Should anything upset them, or should anyone wrong them, the Dragon will prepare to fight and avenge the people who have hurt or belittled their offspring.

Like their adult counterparts, children born in the Year of the Dragon have vivid personalities and are independent from birth. Noisy and active, parents should stimulate their imaginations as soon as possible. Their imagination and inquisitive natures can be troublesome for the Dragon child and can often land them in a heap of trouble at school which can cause teachers and other parents to deem them troublemakers or naughty.

Sometimes Dragon children are loners who daydream and drift to into their own world of make-believe. They are creative and are able to entertain themselves for hours on end. They don’t mind playing by themselves, often inventing games and puzzles while doing so. All the same, Dragon children are responsible children who love to take on and complete as many tasks as possible for it gives them a sense of accomplishment. They do however demand careful attention and special handling in order to bring out the best in them. Their creativity and talents must be encouraged, even if it means spending extra time in certain school subjects in order to help them master the subject.

As we mentioned earlier, Dragons are usually popular people, but because of their personalities, they seem to gather as much criticism as they do esteem. Due to their tumultuous temperaments, Dragons are not the most sensitive friends to those in need of a shoulder to cry on; however, those who truly know the Dragon know he is a loving soul who will become your best ally in times of need. Once the dynamic Dragon has given his friendship, he will not let his friends down and will never falter in his allegiance to his companions. To a Dragon, a friend is a friend for a lifetime. Incredibly honest, Dragons are known for sincerity and are trusting souls. Because of this honesty Dragons don’t realize others may not demonstrate or uphold the same codes of ethics. Making the discovery that they placed their trust in someone who is dishonest makes the Dragon person quite sad, yet much more perceptive for future encounters.

Dragons are compatible with, and are best friends with, Rats and Monkeys. There is an easy bonding with the Snake and few problems; not much understanding with the Ox and Sheep and Rabbit. Tigers present a challenge but also many thrills. When it comes to the Horse and Pig there are complications with their different attitudes and dragons have some difficulty in getting along with them. Dogs meanwhile are considered a mortal Enemy for Dragon folk.

Dragons are attracted by the bizarre. No self-respecting Dragon desires to walk in a tourist’s footsteps. Instead, they take a lot of gratification in finding hidden destinations, or, closer to home, locations off the beaten track. But Dragons also need thrills, which they might find by taking an unplanned winter break to go skiing or a spontaneous rock climbing trip in the spring. They may even test their bravery by daring to ride the highest roller coaster in the world. Dragons are also sentimental at heart, so conquering their childhood haunts, or taking a second honeymoon would bring immense pleasure too.

Dragons also like to spend money and are most charitable. They do not know the meaning of the word “accumulate,” and making money does not intrigue them as it may others. Many Dragons will take big chances with their finances, sometimes betting on their shirt and losing it right off of their backs. Yet, they were born with the Midas touch, and it very rare that a Dragon remains poor for long. Dragons will always be straightforward in financial dealings and can always be trusted.

Other characteristics are as follows: Innovative, Enterprising, Flexible, Brave, Passionate, Conceited, Tactless, Scrutinizing, Unanticipated and Quick-tempered.

Dragons take thrilling risks and burn the candle at both ends so they are fortunate to be blessed with good health. Among the heartiest of the Animal signs, they can suffer bad health as a result of stress. Symptoms of their personalities often stem from emotional outbursts and can range from tension headaches to depression to hypertension. Dragons can remedy these problems by maintaining their cool, implementing a routine in their daily lives, and utilizing exercises such as yoga or tai kwon do that soothe the mind and spirit as well as tone the body.

Some of the likes and dislikes of the Dragon personality:

Color Preference: Greenish-Blue

Gems and Stones: Opal, Sapphire, Amber

Suitable Gifts: Tarot cards, camera, a copy of the I-Ching, mirror, a family crest, a mobile phone

Hobbies and Pastimes: Computer programming, public speaking, fossil hunting, astrology

Dragons Dislike: Taking orders, unnecessary bureaucracy, discounted ideas, people who don’t give 100%

Now here are the people in the photo, have fun matching their names:

Maya Angelou, Joan Armatrading, Joan Baez, Sandra Bullock, Bing Crosby, Salvador Dali, Charles Darwin, Chiristian Dior, Placido Domingo, Fats Domino, Sigmund Freud, Che Guevara, Joan of Arc, Immanuel Kant, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Edgar Allan Poe, Vladimir Putin, Keanu Reeves, Isabella Rossellini, George Bernard Shaw, Alicia Silverstone, Ringo Starr, Shirley Temple, Andy Warhol, Raquel Welch, and Mae West

Other notable Dragon Year people are:

Jeffrey Archer, Joan Armatrading, Count Basie, Roseanne Barr, Maeve Binchy, Juliette Binoche, Alexandra Burke, Michael Cera, Courteney Cox, Russell Crowe, Roald Dahl, Neil Diamond, Bo Diddley, Matt Dillon, Kirk Douglas, Faye Dunaway, Colin Farrel, Dan Fogler, Bruce Forsyth, Calista Flockhart, Graham Greene, James Herriot, Paul Hogan, Boris Johnson, Sir Tom Jones, Wyonna Judd, Courtney Love, Elle Macpherson, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Nick Nolte, Julia Ormond, Sharon Osbourne, Al Pacino, Gregory Peck, Pele, Nikki Reed, Ryan Reynolds, Sir Cliff Richard, Martin Sheen, Dinah Shore, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Dave Stewart, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Maria von Trapp, Louis Walsh, Mark Webber, and Reese Witherspoon. Just to name a few.

The End

 

 

Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne

Sing along to Auld Lang Syne here: http://youtu.be/cAQWKEznbiU

Auld Lang Syne  (My Version)

At the conclusions of the old year, after the seconds are counted down and the stroke of midnight resounds, there is always one song loudly sung by people of all ages, races and creeds to usher in the New Year.

Usually everyone joins hands with the person next to them to form a great big circle. At the beginning of the last verse, everyone crosses their arms across their breast, so that the right hand reaches out to the neighbour on the left and vice versa. When the song ends, everyone rushes to the centre while still holding hands, shrinking the circle, and then everyone turns under their arms to end up facing outwards with their hands still joined. Sound like fun?

Did you know that Auld Lang Syne is actually a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788? The poem later on was set to the tune of traditional folk song. From its humble beginnings it was always deemed an appropriate song for New Year, for it symbolizes “endings and new beginnings”. It is therefore also sung at graduations, funerals and as a farewell to persons leaving on a journey. The literal English interpretation of the title “Auld Lang Syne” can be any one of these: “Old long since” or, more idiomatically, “Long long ago”, “Days gone by” or “Old times.”  The song begins with a rhetorical question as to whether it is right that the old times be forgotten, and encourages one to be mindful of long-standing friendships. In the publication of “Select Songs of Scotland”, by Thomson in 1799, the second verse of “Old Lang Syne” about greeting and toasting, was moved to its present position at the end.

Robert Burns had sent the copy of the original song to the Scots Musical Museum with the remark, “The following song, an old song, of the olden times, and which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript until I took it down from an old man”. Suffice to say some of the lyrics were indeed “collected” rather than composed by the poet. The ballad “Old Long Syne” printed in 1711 by James Watson shows incredible similarity in the first verse and the chorus to Burn’s later poem, and is almost certainly copied from the same “old song”. The rest of the poem can be attributed to Burns himself; however, there is some speculation as to whether the melody widely used in Scotland and the rest of the world today is the same one Burns had originally used. One thing is for certain it is a very contagious song. The song sang on Hogmanay or New Year’s Eve quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread like wildfire to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots, including English, Irish and Welsh immigrants, settled around the world they took with them this old tradition. In America, the Canadian band leader Guy Lombardo in 1929 used it in his New Year’s Eve celebrations through his annual broadcasts on radio and television. The song soon became his trademark and the rest, as they say, is history.

Here’s an interesting list of Auld Lang Syne’s adaptation in some of the Non-English speaking countries:

Mexico: The song is sung in Spanish – “No es mas que un hasta luego, no es mas que un breve adios, muy pronto junto al fuego nos reunira el Senor”. (Interpretation: It is a just “see you later”, a brief farewell, soon around the fire and the Lord will bring us together). It is popular both at farewell parties and at the end of Scout gatherings, usually around a big fire.

Chile: The melody is sung in Spanish as a funeral farewell song, especially in the Catholic Church: “Llego la hora de decir adios, digamos, al partir, nuestra cancion”, meaning –“It is time to say goodbye, let’s sing, while we leave, this song”.

Peru: There is a song called “Jipi Jay” with the same melody: a happier sentiment.

India: The melody was the direct inspiration for the popular Bengali song “Purano shei diner kotha”, meaning- memories of the Good Old days.

China: The song is sung for friendship. It is also sung at graduations and funerals as the meaning infers the ending of a relationship. Here it is a sad song.

Thailand: The song “Samakkhi Chumnum” (Together in unity), which is set to Auld Lang Syne melody, is sung at New Year, after sports and Boy Scout Jamboree.

France: The song is called “Ce n’est qu’un au revoir mes frères” (Translation: This is just a goodby my brothers), and is usually sung for farewells.

Germany: The song is called “Nehmt Abschied Bruder”

Denmark:  In 1927 the song was translated by Danish poet Jeppe Aakjaer.  The song “Skuld gammel venskab rejn forgo” (Translation: Should auld acquaintance be forgot) is an integral part of the Danish Hojkole tradition.

Finland: The Auld Lang Syne is known under the name “Taa ystavyysei raukene”. (Translation: This friendship shall never end. The verses go on to say, translated, “but will last forever. Great then is our joy, once we meet again. Our roads may separate, the memories will remain. So thank you for everything and bye farewell”).

Hungary: The same tune, the song “Regi, regi dal” (Translated: Old, old song), is sung by school-leavers at their graduation.

Greece: Here the song carries the meaning again of “Song of Farewell” and is used for ending ceremony of Boy Scout Jamborees.

Japan: “Auld Lang Syne” tune is used in a song is called “Hotaru no hikari”(Translation: Glow of a firefly) The lyrics depicts a series of hardship images that the assiduous student endures in his relentless pursuit for knowledge, starting with the firefly’s light, which the student uses to keep studying when he has no other light sources.  It is played in graduation ceremonies and at the conclusion of the school day. Many restaurants and stores play it to usher customers out at the finish of business day. NHK also plays it during New Year’s Celebration.

Taiwan:  The melody is usually associated with the funeral services.

Belgium: It is sung among students during typical cantus (which is a medieval ecclesiastical chant, a melody or style of singing used in the medieval Christian church). A Dutch adaptation, “Ik zeq je qeen vaarwel mijn vriend, wij zien elkander weer, (Translated: I will not say goodbye, my friend, we will meet once again), is far more popular however among the general population of Netherlands and Flanders.

Netherlands:  The tune is known for the Dutch football song “Wij houden van Oranje” (Translation: We love Orange) performed by Andre Hazes.

Poland: The “Braterski Krqq (Brotherly Circle) song is set to the same melody. The Polish scouting movement traditionally sings it as the second last song during their meetings. The well known lyrics, translated mean, “By another campfire on another night we’ll see each other again”.

Zimbabwe: The tune is sung in Shona as a farewell, funeral song, “Famba zvinyoronyoro, tichasanganiswa muropa ra jes.

Sudan: The song was translated into Arabic in 1951 by Ahmed Mohammed Saad and is usually used in New Year celebrations and at graduation ceremonies.

~

When I was younger and didn’t know the words very well, I simply hummed the tune, sometimes mouthing some of the words. In case there are those of you who still don’t know the lyrics to this song, I’ve taken the trouble to write three versions of it. See which one appeals to you best.

1.  English 

“Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
but we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS”

2.   Id Long Syne, by James Watson (1711):

“Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
on Old long syne.

CHORUS:

On Old long syne my Jo,
in Old long syne,
That thou canst never once reflect,
on Old long syne.

My Heart is ravisht with delight,
when thee I think upon;
All Grief and Sorrow takes the flight,
and speedily is gone;
The bright resemblance of thy Face,
so fills this, Heart of mine;
That Force nor Fate can me displease,
for Old long syne.

CHORUS

Since thoughts of thee doth banish grief,
when from thee I am gone;
will not thy presence yield relief,
to this sad Heart of mine:
Why doth thy presence me defeat,
with excellence divine?
Especially when I reflect
on Old long syne

CHORUS

(Several further stanzas)

3.   Burns’ Original Scots Verse:

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my jo (or my dear),
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS”

 

 

Happy New Year Everyone

(2012)

New Year’s Customs and Superstitions

New Year’s Customs and Superstition

Slideshow of Seasonal Pictures from 2011 in Review.

Click here: http://youtu.be/f6GqcoFT0Ao

New Year’s Customs and Superstitions

At one time in (Scotland .Ireland, Wales) the Highlands, traditionally on ”Hogmanay,” or New Year’s Eve,  a young man  dressed  in cow-hide and , attended by youths who carried sticks to which a piece of cow-hide was attached, visited  one b y one, all the houses in the neighbourhood.  Upon reaching each home, he would run around it three times with a trail of other youngsters close behind.  As they circled the house they would make a great noise and beat against the walls of the house. Naturally when they were invited in, the leader would then say, “May God bless the house and all that belongs to it, cattle, stones and timber!  In plenty of meat, of bed and body clothes, and health of men may it ever abound!”

This odd old custom is now been adapted into what is known as “first-footing.”  When people visit houses just after midnight, to wish old acquaintances and friends a happy New Year and to bestow  on them gifts (that include red-herrings and coins for brining good luck), they must pay heed to who enters the house first.  For instance, if a dark-haired man is the first person to cross the threshold of a house after midnight on New Year’s Eve, plenty of good luck will come all during the year.  It is not unusual therefore for a member of the household, that happens to have dark hair, to go outside and come back in again just after midnight, so as to ensure this good fortune.

Outrages as this may seem in our modern day, some still hold the old belief that if a woman, or men that are squint-eyed, flat-footed, or red-haired, are the “first-footers”, in other words be the first to go in after midnight, it would mean bad luck for the inhabitants of that home.  Meanwhile, a man with a high instep or one who comes on a horse is considered especially lucky. An amusing thought made me smile, imagining a rider (mounted on a stallion) fighting the traffic in our densely populated cities to manifest at someone’s doorstep, what a pandemonium that would create.

Here’s a harmless one: the moment the hour has turned midnight, the head of the household must open the front door in order to allow the Old Year to pass out and the New Year to come in.

And don’t forget to have the house cleaning, dusting, vacuuming and so forth completed well before the New Year’s Eve, to avoid the sweeping of good fortune from your house.  That’s right, no sweeping after the festivities, and definitely not on the first day of New Year. Hide all the vacuum, mops and brooms so as to prevent accidental breach.  You must do the same with knives and scissors, for any use will cut your luck for that following year. Don’t worry these restrictions are there only for one day.

We all have digital, electronic clocks these days that require no particular attention; however in the olden days, it must have been quite a task to go around and wind up all clocks in the house immediately after the New Year began, so as to endow the house with good fortune in the coming year.

On New Year’s Day if,  upon rising, a girl should look out of her bedroom window and see a man passing by, she may reckon  to be married before the year is finished.

In order to ensure good fortune in love, freedom from ill health and general prosperity all during the year, you should on New Year’s Day, dance in the open air and around a tree.   (This is also considered a good cure for the hangover and I imagine a good laugh for all your neighbours.)

Finally, children born on New Year’s Day aside from the general distinction, it said to bring great fortune and prosperity to all members of that household.

 

Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a New Year filled with peace and happiness.

Wreath- History and Symbolism

Wreath- History and Symbolism

Wreaths are usually made from evergreens boughs, as the evergreen, lasting through the severest winters, represents strength and endurance.  When bay laurel is used, it becomes a laurel wreath.

Wreath applications vary greatly. They can be used as a headdress at weddings, be part of festive attire, or be a floral tribute at funerals. They are also used in many cultures around the world as cheerful headdresses and as part of the merrymaking attire at ceremonial events.

The history behind wreaths dates back thousands of years. The source of much of the symbolism comes from Greek mythology and involves Apollo, Zeus’s son and the god of life and light, who fell in love with the nymph Daphne.  When Apollo pursued her she fled and asked the river god Peneus to help her. Peneus turned her into a laurel tree.  From that time onwards Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head.  This became associated with the attributes of Apollo:  victory, status, and achievement.  It became one of the most common symbols used to represent achievement. In Greece at the Pythian Games, dating back to the 6th century BC., the victors were rewarded with the laurel wreaths.  The modern Olympic medals are engraved with the design of sprig of laurel to pay homage to the first Olympic Games.  An even more recent example would be the minted coins for the 2004 Olympic games (held in Athens Greece), whereupon the victors were crowned with an actual laurel wreath.

In the Greco-Roman world, wreaths represented a person’s occupation, their achievement, status or rank.  The wreath was a symbol of excellence in government, literature, arts and education and in Roman society.  Greek and Roman Kings and Emperors have always donned the laurel wreath, later embellished with gold and gems, for it represented sovereignty.

The modern day wreath is made to resemble a ring, constructed of an assortment of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs and various other materials depending on your creative imagination.

For the Christians the wreath has come to symbolize Advent. A special kind of wreath, called an Advent Wreath, is used to mark the passage of the four Sundays of the Advent season or the “coming of Christ”, in Christianity.  The first known association with the Advent wreaths dates back to the Lutherans in Germany in the 16th Century.  In 1839 Johann Hinrich Wichern used a wreath made from a cart wheel to educate children about the meaning and purpose of Christmas, as well as to help them measure its approach. Starting with the fourth Sunday before Christmas, he placed a white candle in the wreath and for every day in between he placed a red candle. The Advent wreath was constructed of evergreens to represent the everlasting life that was brought through Jesus and the circular shape of the wreath represented God, with no beginning and no end.

Symbolism of wreaths and the meaning has undergone quite a change over the years. Now during the holiday season when families and friends enjoy general get-togethers, parties and feasts, the wreath is simply used to adorn the main door of the home or office and has come to symbolize welcome for visitors and invited guests.

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Belly Dance

Belly Dance by the Orient Dance Co. of Toronto

The Orient Dance Company of Toronto performs at the International Stage at CNE in 2011. Their objective is to share and nurture the growth of the Chinese Dance culture, and to promote its exchange with other dance cultures throughout Canada. This minority dance, like a belly dance,  is performed to Turkish music.

Click here to see the video: http://youtu.be/XzDdvGzWf1Q