Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lunar New Year - The Icons

Lunar New Year for Chinese people is celebrated every year in welcoming the new day of a year. There are some icons of this celebration.

Red Packets

Giving Hongbao (Red packets or Red envelopes) during Chinese New Year is another tradition. A Red packet is simply a red envelope with money in it which symbolizes luck and wealth. Red packets are typically handed out to younger generations by their parents, grandparents, relatives, close neighbors and friends. Money given like this may not be refused and the pretty envelope makes the present seem less vulgar. The immediate family give presents to children on New Year's Eve. This is called Ya Sui Qian, meaning "suppressing age money," which is supposed to stop children from getting older. This comes from the belief that everyone becomes one year older on New Year's Day. Red is the lucky color and will bring good luck to the person receiving the present.

Kitchen God's Day

On the 24th day of the last lunar month the Kitchen god returns to heaven to give a report to the Jade Emperor (in Chinese mythology the Jade Emperor is the ruler of heaven) about the family's activities over the past year. This day is marked by acts of appeasement to the Kitchen god so that he will give the Jade Emperor a favourable report.

Traditionally images of the Kitchen god are burned as a symbolic act of departure. Often some gold or silver money will also be burned for travelling expenses. In some households the lips of the Kitchen god are brushed with honey or a sugar solution just before the image is burned - this will increase the likelihood that only sweet things will be said by the Kitchen god. From the 24th the Kitchen god will be absent from his shrine in the kitchen, and during this time it will be cleaned in preparation for his return on New Year's Eve.

Door Gods

During the build up to Chinese New Year Door Gods are placed on the external doors of houses. This is an age of tradition dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 AD). The Emperor Taizong is said to have fallen ill, and had a dream in which ghosts came to the palace in search for him. He recounted this tale to his officials the next day, and the story quickly spread through the Imperial Court - such matters were not taken lightly. The emperors top two generals, Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong, both of whom had fought to establish the Tang dynasty stood guard outside the emperor's bedroom door.

The emperor slept soundly in the knowledge that he was protected by these two generals, and had no further dreams of the ghosts. However, after a few nights the emperor became concerned for the generals. He ordered that two paintings be made, one of each general. Once completed, the emperor had these hung on the door to his room, and relieved the generals.

This tale soon became widely known, and in their eagerness to share the protection of these "Door Gods" the common people made their own paintings and placed them on their doors. the tradition has continued ever since.

Source : http://www.chinavoc.com/festivals/spring/springf02.htm#packet

See Also : Mooncake, Mid autumn festival

Monday, August 30, 2010

Origin of Lantern Festival

Lantern Festival is one of Chinese celebrations that is celebrated every year. There are many different beliefs about the origin of the Lantern Festival.But one thing for sure is that it had something to do with religious worship.

One legend tells us that it was a time to worship Taiyi, the God of Heaven in ancient times. The belief was that the God of Heaven controlled the destiny of the human world. He had sixteen dragons at his beck and call and he decided when to inflict drought,storms, fafmine or pestilence upon human beings.Beginning with Qinshihuang, the first emperor to unite the country, all subsequent emperors ordered splendid ceremonies each year. The emperor would ask Taiyi to bring favorable weather and good health to him and his people. Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty directed special attention to this event. In 104 BC,he proclaimed it one of the most important celebrations and the ceremony would last throughout the night.

Another legend associates the Lantern Festival with Taoism. Tianguan is the Taoist god responsible for good fortune. His birthday falls on the 15th day of the first lunar month. It is said that Tianguan likes all types of entertainment. So followers prepare various kinds of activities during which they pray for good fortune.

The third story about the origin of the festival boes like this. Buddhism first entered China during the reign of Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han Dynasty. That was in the first century. However, it did not exert any great influence among the Chinese people. one day, Emperor Mingdi had a dream about a gold man in his palace. At the very moment when he was about to ask the mysterious figure who he was, the gold man suddenly rose to the sky and disappeared in the west. The next day, Emperor Mingdi sent a scholar to India on a pilgrimage to locate Buddhist scriptures. After joumeying thousands of miles,the scholar finally returned with the scriptures. Emperor Mingdi ordered that a temple be built to house a statue of Buddha and serve as a repository for the scriptures. Followers believe that the power of Buddha can dispel darkness.

So Emperor Mingdi ordered his subjects to display lighted lanterns during what was to become the Lantern Festival.

Source : http://www.chinavoc.com/festivals/lantern.htm

See Also : Mooncake, Mid autumn festival

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kelly Rowland Simply Deep Pop Music Cd Review

Richly talented Pop artist Kelly Rowland has released her latest album titled Simply Deep and Wow! It's good.

Unfortunately, it's not everyday that I get a CD from an artist that I can just pop in and comfortably listen to from beginning to end. There is usually a song or two that I just can't force myself to get through. Not at all the case with Simply Deep. Every track is enjoyable and was pretty easy for me to listen to from start to finish.

One of the nicer things about a CD like this is with this level of talent even if Pop isn't your favorite style you still can't help but appreciate the greatness of the artist.

I'm of the opinion that Simply Deep is certainly Kelly Rowland's best work in a few years. A totally enjoyable CD and an outstanding release. What I call must have music. I give it two thumbs up because it's a collection that even the casual Pop fan can appreciate and enjoy.

While this entire album is really very good the truly standout tunes are track 3 - Haven't Told You, track 2 - Dilemma, and track 14 - Make U Wanna Stay.

My Bonus Pick, and the one that got Sore [...as in "Stuck On REpeat"] is track 11 - Everytime You Walk Out That Door. Great track!

Simply Deep Release Notes:

Kelly Rowland originally released Simply Deep on October 22, 2002 on the Columbia label.

CD Track List Follows:

1. Stole 2. Dilemma - (featuring Nelly) 3. Haven't Told You 4. Can't Nobody 5. Love/Hate 6. Simply Deep - (featuring Solange Knowles) 7. Strange Places, (Love Lives In) 8. Obsession 9. Heaven 10. Past 12 11. Everytime You Walk Out That Door 12. Train On The Track 13. Beyond Imagination 14. Make U Wanna Stay - (bonus track, featuring Joe Budden)

Personnel includes: Kelly Rowland (vocals); Nelly, Solange Knowles, Joe Budden. Producers include: Jany Schella, Anders Barren, Bam & Ryan Bowser, Sean Hosein, Dane Devillier.

Source : http://www.floweradvisor.com.sg/lifestyle/interests/music/55253/kelly_rowland_simply_deep_pop_music_cd_review/

See Also : lebaran, hari raya, ramadan gift