iTunes Subscription
Social Groups
Powered by Squarespace

Tiradentes, April 21

On April 21, 1792 Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, better known as Tiradentes was put to death in Brazil for organizing a resistance movement against the Portuguese government.  Shortly after his death Brazil gained it's independence.  Now this date is a national holiday in Brazil.




Lao New Year, April 13-15

laos_landscape_in_vang_viengToday, April 13 is the start of Lao New Year a three day festival.  Like many of the other New Year festivals, there are many customs related to cleansing your surroundings and of visiting others.  On top of the the cleaning of the houses all images of the Buddha as also cleaned.

The festival is split with different days having different meanings and traditions associated with them.  The first day is the last day of the old year when the cleaning is mostly done, the second day is the day between years when most visiting is done and the third day is the beginning of the new year itself.

In of the more well known traditions is people sprinkle on others, this is done lightly on the elderly and the monks in a sign of respect but those who are younger may have a sprinkle that is contained in a bucket.  While not as manic as that of the Thailand traditions typically you may get quit wet.  But if you happen to be around any of these celebrations take it as a compliment and wishes of good luck for the coming year if someone chooses to "sprinkle" water on you.

Another of the traditions is to tie a white string around the wrist of another person.  The information that I found indicated this is equivalent to a greeting card in the United States though it seems to be a stronger wish of good fortune.  There is a ceremony that goes with this tradition and the message is given verbally.  For the good fortune to be effective you should wear the string for three days.

According to wikipedia the traditional greeting are "souksan van peemai" or "sabidee pimai"

I think I had a very good start to my Lao New Year as last night I attended a screening of Nerakhoon ( in Nashville with the Laotian American Outreach ( group in Nashville.  After the film we went to a restaurant where I heard a number of stories of how many of the people could relate to the events as they were similar to their life.  If you are like most people in the United States and know little about the Lao people and what they have gone through I highly suggest watching this film.  I have read a number of times in different places about how friendly the Lao people are and if my experience is typical I have to agree they are one of the friendliest in the world.

So here is to wishing all a Happy Lao New Year!



Juan Santamaría Day, April 11

juansantamariaJuan Santamaria is a national hero in Costa Rica who is remembered on April 11.  The story goes that this young boy from the lower class volunteered to burn down a fort being occupied by William Walker and his troops.  Walker had come to Central America to seize power for himself and was looking to take over Costa Rica.  Several men had attempted to do the same and all had died.  Juan is said to have asked only that his mother be taken care of if he should die.  While running up to the fort Juan was mortally wounded but did manage to throw the torch he was caring which lit the fort a flame.  This drove the solders out and eventually lead to the capture and execution of Walker.  The reason for April 11 was this is the day this happened in 1856.

It took many years for Juan to be remembered and today there are arguments among academics as to the validity of the story but the people of Costa Rica believe in their hero.



St. Piran’s Day

It has been over a year now that I started this blog so we are coming back around to days I have already covered.  I would like to go into more detail on those I covered previously or bring other holidays to light but I also am trying to balance getting things balanced in my life as well and have not been able to devote as much time to this as I would like.  So I am cheating a little and posting a link to my original post on St. Piran's Day.

Have a great day and hope to have new content soon.

Jeffrey J Johnson

Dragobete, February 24th

dragobete_bWhile I have taken a short break from writing my blog and missed Valentines Day it seems appropriate that I would start back up with another holiday that celebrates love, not only that but also one that I think many of the people who may read this blog would not know about thus maybe even more appropriate then Valentines Day would have been.

In Romania what is sometimes considered the first day of spring is known as Dragobete's Day and happens on the 24th of February.  This is an ancient holiday and comes from a mythological figure similar to Eros or Cupid.  Dragobete watches over love and helps to insure that it lasts.  Known as the day when birds marry and nest the thought was this extended to people as well.  As with many holidays that have been celebrated for many years there are numerous traditions and superstitions that are associated with it and vary depending upon region.  Most of these traditions revolve around love in some way.  Play engagements would be arranged, snow collected and turned into water for a love potion to be used the rest of the year by girls, no work was to be done, things like this.
One tradition I read about was, assuming the weather was nice children would go off singing into the woods and at noon the girls would start to run back to town.  The boy that liked a particular girl would chase her and assuming he could catch up with her (probably with her "not" being fast enough to get away) they would have a long kiss.  This would indicate they would be a couple for at least a year.

In the evening there is dancing and revelry for this is a time to celebrate love in all forms.


Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 22 Next 5 Entries »