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MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

Tomorrow is 22nd September and chinese the world over will be celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival or better known to most as Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival to the younger generation;  (traditional Chinese: 中秋節), is a popular harvest festival celebrated not only by Chinese but Korean, and Vietnamese people.

Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated every year on the 15th day on the 8th month of the lunar calendar. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest.This year happened to fall on the 22nd September, Wednesday. To many, this is the day the family gather to eat mooncakes and kids will play with lantern. I’m not too crazy about eating mooncakes because they are so very sweet. There are many variety offered to cater to every taste. Mocha flavor, green tea, durian etc. You name it, they’ll create it. How did this festival comes about ?

During the early years of the Qin rule, chinese people practice praying to the sun in spring and moon in autumn. The Mid-Autumn Festival derived from the tradition of worshipping the moon. The forefathers believed that the harvest depended on the Moon Goddess. Without her showers of rain and constant changes to reflect the season s, it would be impossible to have a bumper harvest. The rites and rituals for moon worship were usually done on a grand scale.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the others being Chinese New Year and Winter Solstice, and is a legal holiday in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as  putting pomelo rinds on one’s head ; carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns ; burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang’e (Chinese: 嫦娥 ); planting Mid-Autumn trees; collecting dandelion leaves and distributing them evenly among family members and etc.

The ancient believed that the sun was yang and the moon was yin. Hence, the deity that lived in the moon had to be a female fairy. Every culture all over the world have their own myth and legend regarding the moon. For the chinese it’s the tale of Chang-e flying to the moon that has been circulated since the Han Dynasty and she has been associated with the moon ever since. Below is a concise version.

The Legend of Chang-e

Once there appears to have 10 suns in the sky causing people to suffer. The divine archer Hou Yi shot down 9 of them and was banished to earth with his wife Chang-e to live as mortals. Later, Hou Yi acquired an elixir of immortality, but as he had changed for the worse after living on earth, Chang-e drank the potion and flew to the moon alone.

For a more on the legend read here.

So how did mooncake becomes part of the celebration ?

Legend has it that it originated towards the end of the Song Dynasty when the Mongols invaded China. The common folk suffered under their rule and hence planned to revolt. To keep their plans from being discovered, the hid messages in round cakes which were sent to every family. On the 15th night of the 8th month, the people rose up in revolt and killed the Mopngol invaders as they slept. Mooncakes are eaten on this day every year to commemorate this event. The round mooncakes of the past have since evolved into the present-day mooncakes with fillings. Mooncakes are round, symbolising reunion and completeness. Therefore, eating mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival represents the family’s togetherness and living in sweet harmony.

As to how lantern are associated with Mid-Autumn Festival, I am still not sure. Since I can’t find any reference to it accept that it’s part of the custom or ritual to light lantern and float sky lanterns. Normally, children are the one most happy, parading their lanterns.

Whatever the case, enjoy your mooncake. Psss…. try not to buy mooncakes that overdo on packaging. As we enjoy this day, please remember that reducing our over indulgence on unneccesary packaging can slowdown the process of turning our earth into a garbage minefield. Go for minimalist packaging and you can still enjoy the festival. Whatever the day, festival it maybe, practice your 3R – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle.

HAVE A WONDERFUL MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL.

green bitch/witch


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I never heard of Chinese Valentine Day until I was way pass my puberty. Eventhough I’m from a chinese family, I’m english-educated and so do not follow too much the stories, legends or customs of old. My family celebrated the basic festivals like Chinese New Year, Mooncake/Mid-Autumn Festival, Qing Ming Festival, Lantern Festival and Dumpling Festival are being observed.

I fully understand about it after watching a tvb drama (accidentally because I don’t normally watch chinese drama) called “The Legend of Love”.  The drama tells of a very tragic yet magnificient love story ala ‘Romeo & Juliet’. In this case, she is a weaving maid from heaven and he is a cowherd. Force to be separated and only to met once a year (on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month). This day is also known as the Weaving Maid Festival. Known as many name such as Qixi Festival (Chinese: 七夕節; pinyin: qī xī jié; literally “The Night of Sevens”), also known as Magpie Festival.  It also inspired Tanabata (aka. Shichiseki [七夕]) in Japan, Chilseok (칠석) inKorea, and vi:Thất Tịch in Vietnam. Only in recent decade it’s been call The Chinese Valentine’s Day.

On the eve of the seventh day of the seventh month, the Cowherd Star (Altair~ s the brightest star in theconstellation Aquila and the twelfth brightest star in the night sky) would be seen in the northeastern region in the sky, and opposite in the northwest would be the Weaving Maid Star (Vega~brightest star in the constellation Lyra, the fifth brightest star in the night sky and the second brightest star in the northern celestial hemisphere). This year 2010, it falls on the 16th August.

The story or legend of this pair goes something like this (very concise version) ~ The Weaving Maid was the Queen Mother’s daughter. She came to earth one day and met the cowherd. The fell in love and were married, and had a son and a daughter. When the Queen mother took the Weaving Maid back to heaven, the cowherd give chase but was stopped by the milky way. The magpies in the sky then formed a bridge for them. The Queen Mother finally agreed to let them meet each other on the eve of the seventh day of the seventh lunar month on the Magpie Bridge.

On this night, young ladies would pray to the Weaving Maid and Cowherd. The Womenfolk in the ancient time would thread a seven-holed needle. Being able to accomplish it quickly meant that one had  skillful hands. They would also capture spiders and place inside a box. They would open the box the nest day, if the cobwebs inside were dense, means that they had gained in dexterity.

To all lovers out there, whether you’re chinese or not, may this Chinese Valentine Day bring you closer together. Be thankful for the person next to you every second of your life.

MAKE LOVE NOT WAR. REMEMBER THAT ‘LOVE MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND’

green witch/bitch

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source : Julie L.

source : Julie L.

Zhong Yuan Festival or more commonly known as Hungry Ghost Festival (中元节) is a traditional chinese festival celebrated by chinese all over the world.  In the chinese lunar calendar, it falls on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month.

The chinese traditions belief that on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. During the Qing Ming Festival, the living descendants pay homage to their ancestors and on Ghost Day, the deceased visit the living.

On the fifteenth day the three realms of Heaven, Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Originally, Zhong Yuan Festival was a day to rememberance of ancestors. After Buddhism was introduced to China the festival took on a Buddhist flavour and become known as Yu Lan Pen Jie (chinese translation of the sanskrit term ullamban, meaning ‘to be suspended in suffering’. According to legend, this festival originated with the attempt of Mulian (Maudgalyayana, one of Buddha’s disciples) to save his mother.

Maudgalyayana’s mother had died and fallen into hell, where she had to compete with hungry ghosts for food. Maudgalyayana had the power of clairvoyance and could see her plight. He tried to send her food, but when it reached his mother’s hands, it would burst into flames. The Buddha taught him to makr offerings of food to placate the other ghosts so that they would not snatch food from her.”

Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss stick, paper form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. Elaborate meals would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Zhong Yuan/ Ghost Festival includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations.

Since young, everytime when Hungry Ghost Festival month draw near, many tend to stay home as not to met any wondering spirit.

Source : Julie L.

Source : Julie L.

Light a candle to remember those who has gone before us.

green witch 😉

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hertage-celeb

With just a blink of an eye, a year has past since GeorgeTown & Malacca was listed UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. How time flys ……. There’s a celebration to commemorate the 1st anniversary. The highlight is this weekend 25 – 26 July (Sat & Sun). If you are free make a trip there and enjoy the cultural heritage celebration.

There will be stage performances, arts and crafts; the streets and historical monument will be the theatre sets. The idea is to encourage visitors to walk about the city from one performance to another. Admission is FREE to almost all the performances and venues.

Below is the schedule for the 2 days event.

25-7-2009 • Sabtu / Saturday

9.00am – 2.00pm Free Boat Ride – Lim Jetty, Weld Quay

9.00am – 11.30am “Street of Harmony” Heritage Walk “Street of Harmony” – Meet at Town Hall, Jalan Padang Kota Lama

9.00am – 5.00pm Penang Heritage Exhibition – INTI International College Penang, 1Z Jalan Bukit Jambul

10.00am – 5.00pm Food, Craft, Art & Music Festival – Dewan Sri Pinang, Lebuh Light

10.00am – 10.00pm Art International Festival (Art workshop, art forums & drama performance) – Town Hall & Wawasan Open University

11.00am – 7.00pm Exhibition on the Acheen Street Mosque History and Islamic Traditional Culture – Acheen Street Mosque, Lebuh Acheh

3.00pm – 5.00pm Gostan Forward a solo performance lecture by Marion D’Cruz – Penang Heritage Trust, 26 Lebuh Gereja

5.00pm – 10.00pm Food Stalls and Craft Demonstration – Islamic Museum Park, Lebuh Acheh

5.00pm – 7.00pm “Street of Harmony-Heritage Zone”

5.00pm – 9.00pm Hokkien Puppet Theatre – Cheah Kongsi, 8 Lebuh Armenian (Open House, 9.00am)

5.30pm – 9.30pm Teochew Opera – In front of Goddess of Mercy Temple, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling

5.00pm – 10.00pm Islamic Musical Performance – Acheen Street Mosque & 35 Lebuh Queen

5.00pm – 10.00pm Little Penang Street Market Craft and Food Corner of Little Penang Street Market – Lebuh Armenian

6.00pm – 10.00pm Open House – Meng Eng Soo Temple, Jalan Pintal Tali

6.30pm – 10.30pm Showcase of Teochew & Chinese Culture (Dragon Dance, 24 Seasonal Drum, Teochew Opera,Traditional Games, Chinese Dance & Teochew Delicacies) – Inside & in front of Teochew Association, 127 Lebuh Chulia

7.00pm – 10.00pm Indian Dance and Classical Music – Next to Kuil Arulmigu Mahamariamman, Lebuh Queen

8.00pm – 10.00pm Multi ethnic street performance – “Street of Harmony – Heritage Zone”

8.00pm – 10.30pm “Road to Dawn” Film Screening “Road to Dawn” – Penang Chinese Town Hall, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling

9.00pm – 10.30pm George Town Sebagai Tapak Warisan Dunia UNESCO Closing Ceremony of The 1st Anniversary George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site Celebration – Khoo Kongsi, Lebuh Cannon

gtherimapSource: UNESCO Heritage Brochure

26-7-2009 • Sunday

8.30am – 11.00am Chingay Competition – Jalan Padang Kota Lama

10.00am – 5.00pm Food, Craft, Art & Music Festival – Dewan Sri Pinang, Lebuh Light

10.00am – 10.00pm Art International Festival (Art workshop, art forums & art auction dinner) – Town Hall & E & O Hotel

10:00 am – 5:00pm Little Penang Street Market – Upper Penang Road
www.littlepenang.com.my

This will be our third anniversary and also part of Penang’s celebrations of the first anniversary of the World Heritage Site listing for Georgetown. So lots will be happening, including the usual fabulous range of more than 60 stalls showcasing all sorts of wonderful things, plus live performances and gallery presentations. There will be an emphasis on “Our Heritage, Our Future”, so part of our programme will see various children’s groups performing traditional and contemporary pieces.

10.30am Malay and Indian traditional dancing
11.30am A medley of Chin Woo and other dances
12.00pm Children from Sungai Pinang perform drama, dance and music
12.20pm Children from Kumpulan Warisan Jemari present a medley of Malay performances
12.30pm Children from YWCA presenting a medley of heritage dances
1.00pm Rozz and the Frequency
2.30pm Wayang Kulit at 2.30pm presented by the Bayu group
3.00pm Gostan Forward a solo performance lecture by Marion D’Cruz – Panggung Sasaran, USM

Below are some links for those of you who would like to more about GeorgeTown.

http://igeorgetownpenang.com/

www.lestariheritage.net/penang/index.html

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1223

and get the UNESCO Heritage Brochure here.

HAPPY 1ST ANNIVERSARY GEORGETOWN & MALACCA.

green witch;)

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Urmm… never knew or heard about World Refugee Day before now.  What is a refugee ?  The 1951 Refugee Convention establishing UNHCR spells out that a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

There seems to be alot of days celebrated by UN that should be put on every single one of us earthling’s calendar. Like everyone else, World Refugee Day came to my attention because of Angelina Jolie (must give credit where it is due).

“The refugees I have met and spent time with have profoundly changed my life.
Today I want to thank them for letting me into their lives.”

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie

The United Nations’ (UN) World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 each year. This event honors the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

People honor the spirit and courage of millions of refugees worldwide on World Refugee Day. It is a day to recognize the contributions of refugees in their communities. Organizations such as Amnesty International and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) often get involved in various activities for the day. They may include:

  • Activist protests against using former prisons to detain migrants and asylum seekers.
  • Screenings of films about the lives of asylum seekers living in a western country.
  • Organization members visiting asylum seekers in detention to offer moral support.
  • Letters or petitions to governments on the treatment of asylum seekers in detention.

Some communities dedicate an entire week that includes World Refugee Day to encourage people to think about the lives of refugees and the human right to a secure place to that one can see as “home”.

As an expression of solidarity with Africa, which hosts the most refugees, and which traditionally has shown them generosity, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 55/76 on December 4, 2000.

In this resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, and that the Organization of African Unity (OAU) had agreed to have International Refugee Day coincide with Africa Refugee Day on June 20. The Assembly therefore decided that June 20 would be celebrated as World Refugee Day from 2001 onwards. This day was designated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to bring attention to the plight of approximately 14 million refugees around the world.

unhcr

The UN Refugee Agency’s (UNCHR) logo is often associated with the day. The colors used are either white on a blue background or blue on white background. The logo features olive branches that symbolize peace surrounding or protecting two hands facing each other, and in the middle a figure of a person protected by these hands. The logo is sometimes featured with the words “UNHCR”, followed by “The UN Refugee Agency” in smaller text to mark the logo.

Who do UNHCR help?
*  Refugees
*  Returnees
*  Stateless People
*   Asylum seekers
*  Internally misplaced people
*  People with disabilities, women, children, older folks

Read more here.

To UHHRC and Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie, everyone who has made a difference to all fellow human being on this day, wishing you all A great World Refugee Day 2009 and keep up the good work. You show us that there are still kindness and humanity in this world.

green witch

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april18

On 18 April 1982 on the occasion of a symposium organised by ICOMOS in Tunisia, the holding of the “International Day for Monuments and Sites” to be celebrated simultaneously throughout the world was suggested. This project was approved by the Executive Committee who provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organise this day.

The idea was also approved by the UNESCO General Conference who passed a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18 April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”. This has been traditionally called the World Heritage Day.

World Heritage is the shared wealth of humankind. Protecting and preserving this valuable asset demands the collective efforts of the international community. This special day offers an opportunity to raise the public’s awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it, as well as draw attention to its vulnerability.

ICOMOS, the International Council for Monuments and Sites makes a number of suggestions on how to celebrate the World Heritage Day:

  • Visits to monuments and sites, and restoration works, possibly with free admission
  • Articles in newspapers and magazines, as well as television and radio broadcasts
  • Hanging banners in town squares or principal traffic arteries calling attention to the day and the preservation of cultural heritage
  • Inviting local and foreign experts and personalities for conferences and interviews
  • Organising discussions in cultural-centres, city halls, and other public spaces
  • Exhibitions (photos, paintings, etc)
  • Publication of books, post-cards, stamps, posters
  • Awarding prizes to organisations or persons who have made an outstanding contribution to the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage or produced an excellent publication on the subject.
  • Inaugurate a recently restored monument
  • Special awareness raising activities amongst school children and youth
  • Promotion of “twinning” opportunities between organizations, defining areas for co-operation; exchange of speakers; organisation of meetings and seminars, or the editing of joint publications.

On our local front, Perak Heritage Society (PHS) will be celebrating World’s Heritage Day 2009 in Gopeng. It is in conjunction with the official opening of No.28 Jalan Eu Kong, a yet to be named history and culture centre. Make the day free and join in the heritage walk.

gopeng-poster-a4-ecopy

“The Perak Heritage Society (PHS) supports hometown heritage and the efforts of the Gopeng history centre in creating a space for the appreciation of the town’s history, for both locals and visitors. We hope that other shophouse owners in Gopeng will get inspired to renew their buildings and put it to economic uses, to create employment opportunities to the young and stop the drain of human resources.

 On this day, various heritage sites in town will share the joy of the occasion and welcome visitors. The PHS will offer a self-guide map to Gopeng with walking trails (at minimal cost), as well as guided walk on request for a donation yet to be set.

 The official opening ceremony begins at 10 am. It will be followed by light refreshments for invited guests, then a guided walk. “

– Law Siak Hong (President, Perak Heritage Society)

For those of you who still have questions regarding this event can contact Mr. Law -Phone enquiries: 017.506 1875.

Spread this news to family members and friends. The more the merrier. See you there. Be apart of history.

green w.i.t.c.h.

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A post on festival that are celebrated by chinese the world over. Many of the young may not know why it is being celebrated. I must say, I don’t celebrate this festival. The last time I had tang yuan was like berzillion years ago…OK I’m old. I remember fondly the moment because my granny was still alive. After her death we never celebrate it at all. Same with my hubby, he last had tang yuan when his mom was alive. This year I will attempt to make my own. Why ? Because every festival is to be celebrated and remembered. Sharing a bowl of tang yuan and making it together lighten the mood. Forget your worries and live for that moment of togetherness.

Chinese festival dishes usually have auspicious and meaningful names and the tang yuan is no different. The Chinese word tang (meaning ‘soup’) sounds like tuan which means reunion, while yuan means round, signifying “yuan man” (complete). The entire phrase tang yuan therefore symbolises “tuan yuan” (family reunion), and eating tang yuan on DongZhi represents family reunion and harmony, and also signifies family unity and family prosperity.

The chinese had determined the point of Winter Solstice by observing movements of the sun with a sundial. It is the earliest of the 24 seasonal division points. The beginning of Winter Solstice normally falls during each December 21 or 22 according to the Gregorian calendar.

The Winter Solstice became a festival during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) and thrived in the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279).

The Dongzhì Festival or Winter Solstice Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest.

The origins of this festival can be traced back to the Yin and Yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram fù

Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get together is the making and eating of Tangyuan or balls of glutinuous rice, which symbolize reunion. Tangyuan are made of glutinuous rice flour and sometimes brightly coloured. Each family member receives at least one large Tang Yuan in addition to several small ones. The flour balls may be plain or stuffed. They are cooked in a sweet soup or savoury broth with both the ball and the soup/broth served in one bowl.

Why not prepare your very own authentic tang yuan from the recipe below.

tangyuan
PLAIN TONG YUEN

Ingredients:

2 cups glutinous rice flour
3/4 cup hot water (approximately)

Preparation:

1. Put the flour in a large bowl and using chopsticks, mix the hot water in a little at a time.
2. Knead the dough in the bowl until it is soft and smooth. If it feels a little dry, wet your hands and knead again. Then put the dough into a plastic bag and let it rest for a short time.
3. Remove one quarter of the dough and break off gum-ball size pieces about one-inch in diameter. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
4. Put them one by one into twelve cups of rapidly boiling water, stir a few times to prevent sticking, and boil for 7 to 8 minutes until they float; then cook one more minute, drain and serve in a light soup.

Approximate nutrient analysis, per person when 12 people are sharing these dumplings; this analysis does not include the soup ingredients. Each serving has 74 calories, 17 g carbohydrate, 1.5 g protein, 4 mg sodium, trace of total fat, no saturated fat, and no cholesterol.

As for the soup or syrup it’s actually up to indiviual, some like sweet broth and others prefer savoury. So… what are you waiting for, get to the kitchen. Prepare your own rather than going out to buy the dough or ready-make one which may have “who knows what in it”. Go natural and do it yourslef. Get the whole family involve. The family that work and play together stays together.

here’s wishing all chinese everywhere on earth. Happy Winter Solstice.

green wiTch

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