Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

February 3, 2011 the first day of the
Chinese new year – Year of the Rabbit..

Chinese New Year Celebration

Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holiday, which is celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese

Year of the Rabbit

The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first month in the Chinese Celebrate the Chinese New Yearcalendar and ends on the  15th and is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had a high influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries or regions with significant Han Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, and has, to varying degrees, become part of the traditional culture of these countries.

The Chinese calendar has been in continuous use for centuries and in use at the present, which goes back only some 430 years.

According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or “Year” in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red, so the villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. They also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From these days onwards the Nian never came to the village again.

Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use the comment way of calling the years by numbers they are using animal signs for the 12 cycles to dating the years. They represent a cyclical concept of time, rather than the Western linear concept of time. The Chinese have adopted the Western calendar since 1911, but the lunar calendar is still used for festive occasions such as the Chinese New Year.

Each of these 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac rule a year, but months, days and hours are also associated with specific animals. The 12 animals are  Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig (or Boar) and have different personality traits, likes and dislikes, which all people born under the same year share. Each animal denotes different characteristics and is said to influence the course of life. It is not the size of this animal that makes sense for the whole year, but its inner nature.

The Year of the Rabbit is said to be a peaceful one, with those on either side of it (Tiger and Dragon) known for global unrest and change.

So let’s see what the Year of the Rabbit is bringing us. Happy New Year to all our friends.

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Layang Layang at the South China Sea with MV Black Manta

Visit and dive around Layang Layang,  an island situated 300 km north of the coast of Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo. A part of the disputed Spratly Islands, the island is also claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, and is occasionally known in English as Swallow Reef.

Layang Layang is situated in very deep waters with the drop off outside the island’s reef falling away to approximately 2000 metres. Given its location in the middle of nowhere, the ocean waters are clear and unpolluted. Deep water marine species such as Hammerhead sharks visit this location. Whale Sharks also frequent the atoll. The corals are in pristine condition and with no fishing permitted, the fish life is abundant.

Available from April to June 2011

Sabah Scuba Diving Adventure – Liveaboard

(7 days / 6 nights)

Route: Kota Kinabalu – Layang Layang – Dallas – Mariveles reef – Layang Layang – Usukan Bay Wreck – Kota Kinabalu

 

Itinerary:Dive the ultimate Layang Layang

Day 1:    Afternoon arrival in Kota Kinabalu airport and transfer to the Marina, check in 
              on board of MV Black Manta around 02.00 pm, departure for your scuba 
             diving exploration, overnight onboard
Day 2:    Full day diving excursion around Layang Layang
Day 3:    Full day diving excursion around Dallas Reef
Day 4:    Full day diving excursion around Mariveles reef
Day 5:    Full day diving excursion around Layang Layang
Day 6:    Full day diving excursion around Usukan Bay wreck
Day 7:    Afternoon arrival at the Marina in Kota Kinabalu, check out and transfer to airport

more details

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Merry Xmas crosses culture lines

BANGKOK, December 21, 2010 by TTRweekly 

The decorations are up, the carols are playing and Santa has been seen scuba diving in Japan, delivering presents on a motorbike in Seoul and being thrown out of Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

Christianity may not be Asia’s main religion, but Christmas cheer is in evidence around much of the region, even if eating and shopping are often the main attractions.Christmas Spirit around Asia

The shop tills are ringing in Buddhist Bangkok and Muslim Kuala Lumpur, where stores are festooned with tinsel and fairy lights.

More than 100 children in Santa suits recently joined a Christmas carnival at a major mall in the Thai capital.

In Japan, Santa has made a splash in Tokyo aquariums, feeding marine life and performing with dolphins.

At one, an electric eel is generating power for the Christmas lights.

Visitors can help by stomping a floor panel, which generates additional electricity to power a blue light on the Christmas tree, as a robotic Santa looks on, singing Christmas songs and wriggling his hips.

“They stomp, with the tree flashing blue and white, and Santa singing all the time,” said Enoshima Aquarium spokeswoman Asako Inoue. “It’s a very cheerful event.”

In South Korea, 50 post office delivery men wearing Santa Claus outfits are delivering presents by motorbike to poor children in Seoul, where even the 22-metre-tall “Hammering Man” sculpture is wearing a red hat.

South Korea will also display Christmas lights near its tense border with North Korea for the first time since 2004 following the regime’s deadly artillery attack last month, military officials said.

While Christians make up a mere two percent of India’s billion plus population, Christmas has become a popular festival there and shops are cashing in by selling gifts such as Santa Claus masks.

Christmas Decoration in Bangkok / ThailandIn China, malls, office buildings and restaurants in major cities are decking their halls with bright lights, Christmas trees and robotic Santa’s as retailers latch on to the holiday’s sales potential.

The season is a vital time of year for the country’s myriad toy-makers and other manufacturers and exporters who for years have served as Santa’s workshop.

But the Chinese authorities failed to see the funny side when dozens of mainly foreign residents dressed as Santa Claus descended on Tiananmen Square, scene of mass pro-democracy protests in 1989 that ended in a bloody army crackdown.

As they gathered for a photo, police intervened and told them to leave, the participants said. The Global Times quoted one drunken Santa as saying: “China stole my Christmas.”

In Cambodia’s northwestern tourist hub of Siem Reap, a hotel has unveiled a giant Christmas tree made up entirely of local fishing materials such as bamboo rods and hand-woven nets.

“We typically import a live fir tree for Christmas celebrations but this year we thought we would move away from convention and feature a tree with a stronger local context,” said Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor general manager, Robert Hauck.

Carols were sung in English and Khmer to mark the hotel’s tree lighting ceremony. The lyrics were modified to give a local flavor, with Santa Claus arriving by tuk-tuk instead of a sleigh.

The festive mood is evident in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur with huge Christmas trees decorated with bright colored bulbs in major shopping malls.

Christmas cuisine such as roast turkey and lamb is popular with food-loving Malaysians and supermarkets and restaurants are doing brisk business.

“I am catering for a big party consisting mainly of non-Christians. They are excited about the roast turkey and baked potatoes,” said Ivy Arigesamy, a restaurant owner in the capital Kuala Lumpur.Santa Claus in Kuala Lumpur

“Last year I had roast turkey orders from Muslims. They like to eat it but they do not know how to cook it.”

Restaurants in Taiwan are also enjoying some Christmas cheer.

“Nearly 90% of the seats at our seven restaurants have already been booked for Christmas Eve,” said Cindy Lo, a spokeswoman for the Grand Formosa Regent Taipei, a leading hotel in the island’s capital city.

Christmas displays are going up in Vietnam, with snowmen more than two meters (seven feet) tall outside one bar in Ho Chi Minh City.

On Le Loi Street in the city centre, streetlights are decorated with large snowflakes, and children wait to have their picture taken with Santa outside the Saigon Centre shopping mall.

Lam Kim Anh, 54, arrived on a motorbike with her four-year-old granddaughter for the photo shoot with Mr. Claus, who was decidedly leaner than normal and wore a suit of royal blue velvet.

“We are not Catholic so we don’t celebrate Christmas but I’ll get her a present anyway,” Anh said. “I just like the crowd and the environment.”

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