Sunday, 31 July 2016

North Korea Holidays and Festivals

There are only two major festivals in North Korea, both of which visitors are allowed to attend – the Spring Dragon Boat Festival and the Mass Games May through October. Other celebrations and North Korea holidays are held to mark the birthdays of the Great Leader Kim il Sung and the Dear Leader Kim Jung-il.

Kim Il Sung Birthday Celebration
The celebration of the life of North Korea's founding father, Kim il Sung, is held every year on April 15. The capital, Pyongyang, sees military parades and parties, while smaller events take place across the country.

May Day

International Workers' Day is celebrated in North Korea, as it is elsewhere in world, on May 1, with Pyongyang seeing a huge folk festival in Toesongsan Park along with sporting events and parades.

Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon boat races are as popular in North Korea as they are in China, with the annual Dragon Boat Festival taking place at the beginning of spring in early June. A visit to the major event in Pyongyang is an approved tour activity.

Victory Day

This important festival on July 27 marks the day on which the Korean War armistice was signed, and involves mass dancing and military parades.

Liberation Day

Liberation Day is a national holiday in North Korea, held on August 15 as part of the huge Mass Games festival in Pyongyang's main stadium.

Workers' Party of Korea Foundation Day

This event celebrates the founding of North Korea's Workers' Party, a cornerstone of the country's ruling elite. Held on October 10, it is a chance to see one of the country's Mass Dances as well as the last days of the famed Ariring Mass Games in Pyongyang.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Friday, 29 July 2016

Lesotho Holidays and Festtivals

Lesotho holidays are centered around Christianity and the rich heritage and culture of the country. There are also celebrations of independence, and events linked to the troubled times leading up to the political stability of the present day. The two favorites in all Basotho are the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival and King Moshoeshoe I's Day.

Moshoeshoe's Day

On March 11, Bosotho people get together in celebration of the life and reign of Moshoeshoe the Great, Lesotho's first king who died in 1870. A great leader and talented diplomat, the king was responsible for the preservation of much of the cultural heritage still thriving today, as well as the establishment of Christianity through his welcoming of European missionaries.

Family Day

Family Day in early March is a celebration of one of the pillars of the country's culture. Family get-togethers involve workers returning to their villages for the day to eat, drink and have a great time.

Easter

Easter week, usually in April, is the year's most important religious festival, with all the usual parades, church attendances and family get-togethers. Most Basotho take their Christianity very seriously, with Easter Sunday a day of pure joy.
Morija Arts and Cultural Festival
The favorite event in Lesotho, the Arts and Cultural Festival, is held every September or October for five days in and around the capital. It is a feast of theater, poetry, dance, music, song, crafts, art exhibits, and everything in between. The festival showcases performances of jazz, modern music, African movies, and much more, and draws tens of thousands of visitors.

Independence Day

Independence Day, which falls on October 4, celebrates the country's release from British colonialism and its emergence as a free state. The day is a national holiday, celebrated all over the little country with traditional events, costumes, songs, dance, and musical performances. The city streets and villages come alive with revelers, while the Lesotho Royal Family greets foreign diplomats and important visitors from other African countries.

Lesotho Jazz Festival

The Lesotho Jazz festival takes place in the capital every December, attracting musicians from other southern nations as well as from all over Lesotho. Jazz is popular all over Africa, with this event focusing on music as an integral part of social development. Set in the heart of the tourist season, the event draws spectators from many countries.

Christmas

Almost all Basotho are Christians, with the faith's religious holidays celebrated in true African fashion with church services, family gatherings and the glorious full-voiced African harmonies used in full effect in a capella Christmas hymns. Midnight mass on Christmas Eve is a not-to-be-missed experience.

New Year

The welcoming of the New Year takes place with typical African enthusiasm, involving street celebrations, fireworks at midnight and parties all over town.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

FESTIVALS IN SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is one of the countries that are never free form lively festival a whole year round. Visitors will have an exceptional experience for witness its bright and colorful tradition of Sri Lanka if they stumble on the festive period. Most festivals in Sri Lanka are related to religion and depend on the lunar calendar, encompassing Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Christian festivals. Apart from the religious holidays, Sri Lankan people also enjoy their national holidays, proving well the entertainment -lover-mind of people in this country. The followings are some major festivals of each religion in Sri Lanka.

Over the years, popular Buddhism has absorbed a number of Hindu customs together with a galaxy of local gods. The awesome of these deities is the god Skandha or Katharagama whose shrine is in the deep south. Katharagama is a terrifying figure, and he exacts a heavy price from those whose petitions He grants. Those who have been cured of grave illnesses, or whose prayers for children have been answered, must redeem their vows with an offering of pain. Sometimes they have to walk across burning coals, but the most common penitence is to be dragged around the streets swinging from a bar to which they are attached by savage iron hooks struck into the flesh of their backs.

In fact, any single day in the Buddhist calender is of equal importance to the Christmas day in Christian calender, it has to be the day of Wesak. All over the country, temples in the villages and cities announce the dawn of Wesak, with peals of bells and drum beats. Shops selling large and small lanterns, candles, various electric lighting sets, and papers of any imaginable color abound. The devout, clad in pure white, with no make-up or jewelry, make their way to the temple to spend the next twenty four hours in quiet contemplation. No solid food is taken after mid-day meal on this day.

New Year , which is celebrated about the 13th - 14th of April, is a very special time in Sri Lanka. The larders are full since the harvest has just been collected, the trees are full of flowers, the homes are freshly painted and it is time for festivities. Everything during this time must be performed at precise times (nakatha), and in the prescribed way. The lighting first fire in the hearth, start of work, first transaction, first application of oil to hair, first meal, to name a few.
Since Sri Lanka is predominantly Buddhist country, Buddhist festivals are more frequent. In fact, full moon day of every month is regarded as a religious observance for the Buddhists; it is called Poya Day. However, the main full moon days reminiscent to the religious important events are:-

Duruthu (January): The full moon day of January marks the first visit of the Buddha to Sri Lanka. In memory of this visit, a procession consisting of well-decorated elephants, dancers, and drummers is held for three nights at Kelaniya (10 kilometers from Colombo).

Vesak (May): This full moon day is a day of the great significant for the Buddhists around the world for it marks the Birth, Enlightenment, and Decease of the Buddha. The Buddhist houses on the island are decorated with bright Vesak lanterns. The alms halls offer free meals to passer-by and Buddhists go to temples or shrines for religious observance.

Poson (June): Poson commemorates the day Buddhism was introduced into Sri Lanka by Arahat Mahinda. There are processions held in many parts of the country in reminiscence to this celebrated Buddhist apostle who took Buddhism to the Island. But the celebrating centers on this day are at Anuradhapura and Mihintale.

Esala (July/August): July to August is a month of religious celebrations in several parts of the country, but the biggest and most famous is the Festival of the August Moon or Kandy Perahera at Kataragama in the eastern part of the country. In Kataragama, colorful processions are held for two weeks with an amazing "fire walking ceremony" to express respect and sacrifice to the God Kataragama, regarded the Warrior God.

Unduvap (December): This full day is a memorial day of Sangamitta, Asoka's daughter, who brought a sapling from a scared Bodhi Tree in India to Sri Lanka. The tree grown from that sapling still stands in Anuradhapura today.

Hindu Festivals

Hindu festivals also fill the festive periods in Sri Lanka with its distinctly colorful ceremonies, making the Hindu shrines across the country full of emanating faith and happiness of people. Major Hindu festivals are:-

Vel (July/August): This Hindu festival is held to honor the War God Skhanda in Colombo. The city's main streets are used for the magnificent processions of colorfully decorated chariots, accompanied by music and dance.

Deepavali (October/November):

Also known as the festival of lights, Deepavali festival takes place in late October or early November. Thousand of oil lamps will be lit to celebrate the victory of good over evil and the return of Rama (the legendary character of the Hindu epic Ramayana, believed to be an incarnation of Vishnu) after his period of exile. Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth is worshipped on the third day of the festival.

Muslim festivals

Muslim community is quite isolated from other ethnic group, their celebration are not then displayed to public. Most of Muslim festivals are also closely connected to religion. The main Muslim festivals are the Milad-un-Nabi or the birth of the Prophet Mohammed in December, Id-ul-Fitr marking the end of the holy fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the Haj festival when Muslims make their pilgrimages to the holy Muslim shrine in Mecca.

National festivals

When it comes to national festivals, the most expecting, most colorful, and most vibrant festivals of the nation is the traditional New Year Festival. The festival is when the two major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and the Tamils jointly celebrate this happy time, but in different styles according to their original tradition.
Although the conventional New Year is the 1st January, traditional New Year (Avurudu) of the Sinhalese and the Tamils occurs in the 13th or 14th April each year according to their lunar calendar.

The precise days and times of celebration of the end of the old year and the beginning of the New Year are determined by the astrologers. The auspicious time is marked by the entry of the Sun from the zodiac sign of Pisces (the last phase of the Sun cycle) to Aries (the first phase of the Sun cycle). The festive period continues for about a week. The festival also coincides with the end of the harvest season and the beginning of new season. People enjoy the brand new day of the New Year by cleaning their house, buying their new clothes, and eating special meal in a union of family members. Unlike the long, continual Sinhalese New Year celebration, Hindu Tamil New Year is confined to the first day of the Year and is over within hours.

*culled from www.silkroadgroup.com

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Democratic Republic of the Congo Holidays and Festivals

The Democratic Republic of the Congo holidays include the usuals – New Year's Day, Labor Day and Christmas – plus local events commemorating heroes and significant dates in history.

Commemoration of the Martyrs of Independence

This annual celebration is held every January 4th. Also known as Martyr's Day, the Commemoration of the Martyrs of Independence is held as a double event to remember the victims of violence against human rights and also the martyrs of justice.

National Heroes' Day

Referred to as "Heroes' Day," this public holiday is celebrated annually on January 17. It commemorates the death of Patrice Lumumba, the Congo's popular leader. It is one of the two festivals that commemorate Lumumba's fight for human dignity in the region.

National Liberation Day

The Congo observes National Liberation Day every year on May 17. This is a public holiday, so all offices and most businesses are closed. It pays tribute to the efforts of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo rebel group who fought the government during the second war. MLC was led by Jean-Pierre Bemba, the son of Bemba Saolona, a Congolese billionaire. Street parades and cultural shows are held.

Independence Day

Independence Day is celebrated every June 30.

Parents' Day

The world observes Parents' Day every August 1, but in the Congo, it is considered a public holiday. Locals are enthusiastic about giving greeting cards and gifts to their family.

Youth Day

The Congo celebrates Youth Day on October 14. During this national day, different organizations host sporting events and other festivities for young people.

Army Day

An observed as a national holiday, the country honors its military forces every November 17.

Christmas

Unlike most Western countries, the Congo treats Christmas as a religious festival. It is less commercialized, so presents are uncommon. On Christmas Eve, churches stage musicals with at least five to six choir performances and nativity plays. Some communities enjoy festivities until dawn when Christmas Day services start at 9:00 a.m. Families typically prepare a feast at home, and for those who can afford it, pork and chicken are staples.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 25 July 2016

Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Holidays and Festivals

Although the Falkland Islands holidays and religious events don't differ greatly from those celebrated back in the UK, the archipelago does host a number of enjoyable and unique festivals. Camp Sports Week is a great time to savor traditional life on the islands, while both Liberation Day and Falkland Day prove how much pride the people of this territory have.

New Year's Eve

One of the calendar's most exciting evenings sees people spilling out of bars and house parties around Stanley and Camp as they celebrate the past twelve months and welcome in a new year. Stanley's locals are out in full force and firework displays are often held in the camp areas.

Camp Sports Week

Traditionally celebrated at the end of the sheep shearing season, Camp Sports Week in February is a time when the local Falkland Island families get together, relax and host barbecues for a few days. Numerous events, such as horse racing and dog trials are held annually and it's a great way to experience rural life.

Standard Chartered Bank Stanley Marathon

For a more active event, head over to the Falkland Islands during March and sign up for the world's most southerly marathon. The course offers some fantastic scenery to keep runners occupied along the way and while it's known for being fairly challenging, it is not only a great workout, but a fantastic way to discover the Islands.

May Day/May Ball

For centuries, May Day, which falls on the first of the month, has been celebrated by the British emigrants on the Falkland Islands. While not quite as popular as it once was, the locally-orientated festival is centered around the symbolic Maypole and includes Morris dancing and the crowning of a May Queen as one of the highlights. The festival dates back to the pagan beliefs of the Anglo-Saxons.

Liberation Day

A proud and symbolic day for Falkland Islanders, June 14 celebrates the end of the Argentine occupation of the archipelago. A memorial service is held at Christ Church Cathedral, followed by a military parade and ceremonial laying of the wreath at the Liberation Monument.

Falkland Day

Although it is no longer a public or national holiday, Falkland Day, held on August 14, celebrates the first noted discovery of the islands by John Davis in 1592. It also celebrates the noisy return of the elephant seals and black-browed albatross to the islands to breed.

Halloween

Similar to celebrations held in the US, Halloween is the perfect excuse to dress up and act like a child on the night of October 31. Plenty of the local establishments throw costume parties and a wide range of themed baked goods are available in all of the local bakeries.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Friday, 22 July 2016

Nicaragua Holidays and Festival

Nicaragua holidays include a number of festive celebrations, including New Year's Day and Christmas Day, but it is perhaps the country's unique events that make for the more interesting displays of culture. From the culinary Crab Soup Festival to the religious events of Diriamba, there is an event for every type of traveler to enjoy.

Diriamba

Also known as the festival of San Sebastian, this takes place on January 19-20 every year, and is a religious feast celebrated by all Nicaraguans. Even though it is now a Roman Catholic festival, it combines the traditions of indigenous and Spanish roots. The dances, songs, and costumes reflect the indigenous culture that predates the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.

Palo de Mayo

Literally translating to the "May Pole," this festival is held throughout May on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Even though it derives from a traditional British activity, signifying the remnants of Britain's presence there, this truly Caribbean adaptation sees vibrant rhythms and colorful processions blended in with the traditional feast.

Crab Soup Festival

This festival is held annually on the Corn Islands every August. It celebrates the release of the 99 slaves on the island by the Queen of England during the nineteenth century, and has turned into the biggest celebration on the islands, heralding their heritage.

Fiesta del Toro Venado

This festival typically falls in the last Sunday of October, in the region of Masaya (close to Managua and Granada). It is a Nicaraguan dance festival that begins at noon, and ends at sunset, and is based on superstitions similar to Halloween. People create and wear masks for the processions.

Purisima / Grieria

The two similar festivals are parades and processions celebrating the Immaculate Conception in the early weeks of December in the lead up to Christmas. They are held in the cities of Granada and Leon, and provide a true spectacle which most of the townspeople come out to enjoy.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Benin Holidays and Festivals

Benin has a rich and vibrant culture, and a religion which informs the daily lives of many inhabitants. There are several festivals linked to culture and if travelers are in the right place at the right time, they would be privileged to experience. The Behin holiday called Voodoo Day happens countrywide in January and is quite the sight, while the Quintessence Film Festival in Ouidah in the same month is a hit with cinema-lovers.

Voodoo Day

Voodoo Day happens on January 10 every year and is viewed by the people of Benin in the same vein of importance as the Christian Christmas or the Muslim Eid. This public holiday attracts believers from all over West Africa and the world to celebrate the unique and often misunderstood Voodoo religion. There are several ceremonies, the most controversial of which is the sacrifice where a priest rips a chicken's neck off with his teeth. While not for the squeamish, this is quite something quite unique to witness in Benin.

Quintessence Film Festival

An annual film festival held in Ouidah, the Quintessence Festival is simply a celebration of local and international cinema that takes place in early January. Most of the films are in French with English subtitles. There is also a special selection of African films, of which the organizers are especially proud.

Gelede Festival

Taking place during the dry season between March and May, Gelede is a festival which honors mothers in the community and to pay respect to their female elders. One of the more vibrant festivals in Benin, choreographed dances, singing, music, and drumming are loved by all. The men don large masks and walk around to amuse the women. The city of Cové is especially known for its public displays during the period.

Waba Festival

The Waba festival is a recent initiative in order to facilitate and promote collaborative work between the visual artists in Benin. Held from June 5 to 9 in the galleries in Porto Novo and Cotonou, the event showcases works from around the country. The hope is to popularize art and start a more passionate dialogue between all sections of society about the role that art plays. Exhibitions are open to the public and are well worth a visit.

International Festival of the Dahomean Cultures

One of the last festivals of the year, the Dahomean Cultures runs for 10 days in December and is tasked with highlighting and celebrating the cultural diversity of Benin. Taking place in Abomey, the event showcases traditional songs, dances, folklore, and stories of the ancient Dahomey Kingdom and the many groups around the country.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Comoros Holidays and Festivals

Festivals are often tied to religious observances, particularly Islamic celebrations that follow the lunar calendar. Comoros holidays include Independence Day and the anniversary of the death of President Said Mohamed Sheikh. Comorians observe two new years, the first which marks the start of the year, and the second, which follows the Islamic calendar. Traditional celebrations often involve music, dancing and cultural performances.

New Year

Both New Year's Days (January 1st and the Islamic New Year) are celebrated with much gusto in the Comoros. The Islamic New Year is of particular interest as it is marked by a wide range of activities that embrace the local culture and traditions, including religious rituals.

Independence Day

Comorian independence is celebrated every July 6 to commemorate the nation's freedom from colonialism. Like other events on the islands, the festivities are marked with good food, cultural presentations and merriment.

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha or the Feast of the Sacrifice is a celebration of Abraham's willingness to give up his son (Ishmael) in obedience to God. It is an annual Islamic holiday observed by Muslims around the world and Comoros is no exception.

Eid al-Fitr

This feast marks the conclusion of the month-long fast (Ramadan) and is celebrated with all kinds of rituals, prayers, gifts, and lots of ceremonial food.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is observed by the Roman Catholic minority living in the Comoros with festive gatherings of friends and families.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 18 July 2016

Central African Republic Holidays and Festivals

The Central African Republic holidays are not unique to them, but it celebrates the usual holidays with the rest of the world. Independence Day and National Day are widely observed and both are marked by lively parades and traditional song-and-dance performances, particularly in the capital city.

New Year's Day

January 1 is a public holiday and is celebrated with gatherings by families and friends. Key cities like Bangui become particularly lively.

Anniversary of Barthélemy Boganda's Death

Considered a hero, Barthélemy Boganda was one of the Central African Republic's leading national politicians. He died on March 29, 1959 when his aircraft exploded midair over Boukpayanga about 99 miles west of Bangui. He passed away just before the legislative elections and is commemorated annually.

Easter Monday

Also known as "Egg Nyte," the day after Easter is observed as a holiday by Christians, particularly the Roman Catholics. On the liturgical calendar, Easter Monday is the second day of the octave of Easter Week.

Independence Day

This public holiday commemorates the Central African Republic's proclamation of independence from France on August 13, 1960. The day is celebrated joyously, as everyone is thankful for the freedom from slavery. Festivities are held in major cities including the capital, Bangui.

Feast of the Assumption

August 15 is the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is marked a public holiday. While it is traditionally a Roman Catholic event, the day is considered a multi-faith holiday in the Central African Republic. Processions are organized and holy masses are held throughout the day along with prayer gatherings.

National Day

The Central African Republic celebrates its national day on December 1. The day is marked by sports festivities, speeches, parades, and other activities throughout the nation. There are boat races along the Ubangi River. Military officials, soldiers and political leaders attend the parade in the capital along with the locals. Music, traditional dances, and food are in abundance.

Christmas Day

Christmas in the Central African Republic is celebrated December 25 and is observed as a cultural and religious holiday.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Aruba Carnival

You have not lived until you have experienced the spirit of Carnival as it is celebrated in Aruba!

Carnival means weeks of events that bring you colorfully decorated floats, contagiously throbbing music, luxuriously costumed groups of celebrants of all ages, King & Queen elections, electrifying jump ups and torch light parades that wind their way through the streets at night, the Jouvert morning: the Children's Parades and finally the Grand Parade.This has got to be the greatest party ever!

Where else can you find Antillean "tumba" music, the Calypso and steel bands of the English Caribbean, the salsa beat of Latin countries plus marching bands and a smattering of Dutch oom-pa-pa? The 2 month long celebration culminates with the all-day Grand Parade on Sunday, with everyone and everything all decked out.

Be sure to put on your shades, there will be an awful lot of glitter out there! Monday is an official holiday for everyone to recoup and recover! You can relax at the pool with daiquiris to replace all that precious liquid you lost jumping around.

But just when you think it is all over, there's the Farewell Parade and the burning of Momo, indicating the end of Carnival and the beginning of Lent. Symbolically, Momo's ashes are used on Ash Wednesday.

All in all, we think this is the perfect time for people to come visit us in Aruba. But so does everybody else! So make your reservations well in advance to come celebrate carnival the way we do, right here in Aruba!

*culled from www.visitaruba.com

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Making and Coronation of the Yoruba Oba!


The institution of the Oba in Yorubaland is still very entrenched and powerful. The role of the Oba is that of the father figure of the community. He (she) also has a spiritual covering over his (her) people. Bearing these in mind choosing the king places a huge a responsibility on kingmakers.

In most Yoruba communities there are more than one ruling house to choose from. While the choice of the king could rotate among the ruling houses, some towns or cities don't have that privilege. Rather than praying and fasting over who becomes the next Oba, these communities go spiritual but in another manner. They don't consult the imam nor do they ask the clergy for divine inspiration. Yes! its 2014, but some communities still believe it's ''better keeping it real''.

Historical records state all ruling houses in Yorubaland take their origins from five (5) routes i.e. titles namely Aleyeluwa, Owa, Adimula etc. The titles of the kings which are represented by unique names are linked to the source of the crown (the authority to rule).

In Mushin, Lagos state, there are two ruling houses with one of the houses tracing its source from the ancient kingdom of Benin, while the other brought its crown from Ile-Ife, the spiritual home of the Yoruba race.

The choice and coronation of the kings in Yorubaland still has its origin in the Ifa divination and other deities. In the ancient town of Oyo, choosing the Alaafin requires its unique process of enquiring from Orunmila. This enables the Oyomesi, the kingmakers to make ''the right choice''. In the heart of Osunland, the Atooja of Oshogbo (the king) emerges through the help of the deity of river Osun.

After such divinations the inquisition follows, though not as thorough as the Spanish's own. The aim of the investigation is meant to crosscheck what the divination may have revealed. The investigation presents the democratic process of choosing the head of a community. When the final choice is made, the Oba still does not rule absolutely. His regime is under checks and balances.

When the selected prince or candidate who eventually becomes the Oba has been chosen unanimously by the kingmakers, he is in some instances shown to the community in form of a parade around the town. The aim is to ensure that ordinary folks have an input or say in whom eventually rules over them.

The choice and coronation of the Ooni of Ife the ''representative of God on earth to the Yoruba race'' is significant in the sense that there is the recognition that although different Obas had and still have political power over their respective kingdoms and empires, spiritual power is believed to reside in Ile-Ife, it is this spiritual power that makes it possible for them to rule successfully over their kingdoms and empires.

For instance the coronation of the current Ooni, Olubuse II on Saturday, 6th December, 1980 like that of the 49 preceding Oonis is believed to have been ''specifically chosen and ordained by the gods''. However, this coronation was different from previous coronations of an Ooni as it was the first to take place in independent Nigeria.

The coronation of the Ooni and other Yoruba kings are usually celebrated as carnivals which stretch over a number of days. Each day of the ceremony signifies something special to the community. From masquerades making special appearances to age groups parading the town or city.

Some days are set aside for deities.
Interestingly the Oba is meant to be the father of all religions practiced in his locality. This means apart from taking part in traditional rites of passage, the Oba must also identify with both the Muslim and Christian communities whilst they put up elaborate coronation ceremonies to welcome their new king.

*Story by Olugbenga Adebanjo

Saturday, 16 July 2016

ODARA, VENGEANCE AND REVELATION OF OUR DREAMS

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Abracadabra talks about the ills in Africa that poor people have been going through in the hands of successive governments and that it is high time that our African leaders find solution to these various problems confronting the poor people.
Orente is a dance hall song which talks about a beautiful girl named Orente thar the musician is showering a lot of praises on in a delibrate attempt to woo her.
Iyawo talks about the bride getting married to be well behaved to her husband when she gets there eventually. And to be respecful to her husband's friends and her in laws.
Ore warns us to beware of the kind of friends we keep because no friends, no foes. The remaining two songs are a capella of Ore song and instrumental of Orente song.
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ALL LINKS:
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Oman Holidays and Festivals

There are a number of Oman holidays and events to boost tourism in the country. Many of these feature its rich culture and arts. The Muscat Festival held during its peak tourist season of January is the largest festival held in the capital showcasing the best in culture and the arts. Salalah has its own version held during its own peak season, Khareef season (mid-year).

Muscat Festival

The Muscat Festival is one of the biggest events, perhaps the biggest, in the country's tourism and cultural calendar. Held every January and February, the festival showcases Omani culture and heritage through artistic and cultural activities. There is also a circus and a large concert featuring local and international musical artists.

Traditional Boat Races

Also happening early in the year are boat races and sailing competitions to celebrate Oman's seafaring traditions. A Dubai–Muscat Regatta is held every January which see boats sailing from Dubai through the Straits of Hormuz toward Muscat. Boat races are also held in February wherein traditional boats such as dhows compete for a prize.

Sinbad Classic

A much awaited event organized by the International Game Fish Association is the Sindbad Classic. This event sees game fishing enthusiasts from all over the globe battle it out in a deep sea fishing contest in the waters of Oman.

Salalah Tourism Festival

While July and August may be too hot for a visit in northern Oman, these months are great for Salalah and the surrounding areas. During this time of the year, the region experiences Khareef season, a time when monsoon rains bring in life to the land, making for stunning tropical landscapes. This high tourist season is the time when cultural celebrations and parades are held in and around town to entertain both locals and tourists.

Cultural Theater Program

The Cultural Theater Program is an arts and culture festival organized by the Ministry of Tourism. Various performances such as folkloric music and dancing are held from December through to March at the Al Flayj Castle Theater and the Al Morooj Theater, both in Salalah.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

ALL LINKS

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https://www.reverbnation.com/olaleone
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Friday, 15 July 2016

Papua New Guinea Holidays and Festivals

Much of the Papua New Guinea holiday and festival calendar is taken up with cultural events. This is primarily due to the fact that Papua New Guinea has more than 700 different tribal cultures existing within the country. The Mount Hagen Show is a tremendous event that has been celebrated for more than 60 years. Another dynamic event is the famous Goroka Show, an impressive festival that lasts two days and draws almost 150,000 visitors to the central-Highland town of Goroka.

Mt Hagen Show

No other attraction or event puts Papua New Guinea's magnificent culture on show than the Mt Hagen Show. First held in the 1950s, this event takes place every July at the Kagamuga Show Grounds. Mt Hagen comes alive with thousands of performers, while spectators come to marvel at the dancing, music, and colorful atmosphere.

Tumbuan Mask Festival

First beginning in 1995, the Tumbuan Mask Festival puts the ever-impressive mask making culture of PNG into the spotlight. Rabaul, the largest city's island region, hosts this festival for three days each July.

Crocodile Festival

Held in the region of East Sepik, this fascinating festival celebrates the significance of crocodiles to PNG. The Sepik River, one of the region's purest waterways, is home to a plethora of saltwater and freshwater crocodile communities. The Crocodile Festival takes place over two days in August, and aims to highlight the conservation needs of the stunning but scary reptile.

Enga Cultural Show

Enga Province is rich in cultural splendor, and tourists should not miss the Enga Cultural Show if in the PNG in August. Visitors get an insight into local culture through dance performances, music, arts and crafts workshops, and ritual performances, all held within the Enga Show Grounds.

Goroka Show

For three days in September, Goroka hosts one of the largest events in Papua New Guinea's calendar. Established in the 1950s, the Goroka Show draws in more than 140,000 people every year. Kundu drums can be heard throughout the event, and thousands of dancers throng to the beat.

Hiri Moale Festival

Used to commemorate the traditional trading routes between several south-west villages, the Hiri Moale Festival takes place within the city of Port Moresby, especially around Ela Beach and the Sir Hubert Murray Stadium. Music, canoe racing, dances, and an arts and crafts competition make up most of the September activities.

Morobe Province Agricultural Show

This interesting show takes place within the city of Lae, Papua New Guinea's second-most populated urban area. A range of agriculture and agriculture-related displays can be enjoyed at the event, including poultry, traditional architecture, rural subsistence farming displays, and school group exhibits. The festival is held across three days in September.

Papua New Guinea Arts and Cultural Festival

Held over two days in November, the Papua New Guinea Arts and Cultural Festival is a national celebration of the country's vast cultural make-up. A host of traditional performances, dance, and music are complemented by modern displays, as local artists also get an opportunity to share their talents. The celebration is centered around the Port Moresby's Sir John Guise Stadium.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Thursday, 14 July 2016

ẸYỌ FESTIVAL, LAGOS: MEMORIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD

I was in primary school when I first witnessed the Ádámu Òríșà play, popularly referred to as the Ẹyọ masquerade festival. Growing up in the downtown area of Ẹpẹtẹdo on Lagos Island, where I lived with my grandparents in one of the numerous agbo 'le (compounds) afforded me the chance of seeing the preparation for the festival.

In truth, for a child not yet in his teens, what I did see (and could have seen), were not much. What I saw was what was on display for all to see: the basic paraphernalia and regalia to be donned by the initiates of the Ádámu Òríșà.

These items included:

(1). the white robe which looks like an ágbádá

(2). Aró palẹ, a generous piece of white cloth usually wrapped around the waist, overflowing to cover the feet totally and trailing along.

(3). Àgá or akẹtẹ, a sombrero type of hat designed in the color(s) of the particular Ẹyọ group.

(4). Iboju , a see-through veil for the face.

(5). Gloves and socks.

(6). Ọpá nbatà , a wooden staff like a totem pole.

The ọpá nbatà held a unique fascination for me then as I watched it being 'prepared.' Got from the palm tree, the staff is carefully smoothed and soaked in some liquid solution for a certain period. Symbolic patterns or totems are then drawn out on it. The markings are carefully etched out with a razor blade.

Another fascination of mine with Ẹyọ was arò (the chant). When they get into their elements dancing and chanting, they dart at the watching crowd with their ọpá nbatà, finishing off the chant with a loud "Yeeee suuuaaa!" The frightening target quickly says "Agogoro Ẹyọ!" and the Ẹyọ replies, "Mo yọ fun ẹ, mo yọ fun ra mi." I wanted to be able to chant the arò. Weeks after the festival, we would play hitting each other with our arms holding imaginary ọpá nbatà and screaming, "Yeeee suuuaaa!"

The àgá is what identifies the particular groups to which the masquerade belongs. There are five main groups known as Ẹyọ Òríșà and a couple of other Ẹyọ representing the numerous Igá (courtyards) on the island. An Igá is usually a palatial courtyard in each agbo 'le where the head of the compound lives.

In terms of hierarchy, the most senior Ẹyọ is the Adimu . Unlike the other groups, there is only one Adimu and he wears a black hat. On a chosen Sunday, the Òríșà Adimu (spirit of Adimu) will emerge with his staff in public. This means that it is official that the festival will take place coming Saturday. The rest of the big 5: Làbà (red hat), Ónikó
(yellow), Ọlọgẹdẹ (green), and Ageré (purple) will also go public from Monday to Thursday in that other.

Origin: Disputes.....

It has been claimed that the Ẹyọ festival was first staged somewhere in Ikoyi by traders from Badagry, before it was moved to Lagos Island in the mid-19 th century. However, it has been disputed by those who claimed that the festival was introduced to Lagos Island in 1750, by two personalities from Ibefun and Ijebu communities in present-day Ogun state.

However, the first recorded Ẹyọ festival in the annals of history was held on February 20, 1854 by Oba Dosunmu for his late father Oba Akitoye. The next one was held 21 years later on April 13, 1875. While it was held thrice within one year in 1895. Ẹyọ festival is not an annual or regular festival like most others. It is only held on special occasions and based on requests to the Ádámu Òríșà cult.

Importantly, there are taboos associated with the festival. During the festival motorcycle and bicycle movement is prohibited. Cigarette smoking, wearing of sandals or flip-flops and the plaiting of hair by women in a particular style known as Șukú are also outlawed. Flouting the taboos usually leads to being beaten with the ọpá nbatà.

The last Ẹyọ festival was held in 2011 for late Chief Yesufu Abiodun Oniru (1864-1984). The Lagos state government was involved with the celebrations and it attracted a whole lot of local and international audience who gathered at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Onikan to witness the spectacle. I did not get to see the 2011 event, but my childhood memory of Ẹyọ festival lingers on…

*culled from www.lostinlagos.com

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Luxembourg Holidays and Festivals

Luxembourg's culture is heavily influenced by the country's strong Catholic beliefs with traditional, religious celebrations still a major part of the Luxembourg holiday calendar. Music and film festivals are also common throughout the year, and Discovery Zone and the Summer in the City are popular with both locals and tourists.

St Blasius

Similar to Christmas caroling, on February 2 young children go door to door singing the song of St Blasius, usually carrying a liichtebengelcher (a wooden rod tipped with a small light). Although the custom began as the poor begging for food, kids are greeted with candy or money.

Buerg Sunday

Held on the Sunday after Shrove Tuesday, burning the Buerg is another traditional Luxembourgish custom which has been maintained over the years. The
Buerg is a huge bonfire, comprising hay, logs, and brushwood topped with a crucifix. Not unlike Guy Fawks in the UK, it tends to be a community event, complete with tasty servings of mulled wine and barbecued meats.

Octave

The most revered religious event on the calendar, Octave is an age-old pilgrimage to Luxembourg Cathedral, dating back to 1666. Over the final two weeks of April, people from all over Luxembourg and regions of Belgium and Germany flock to the capital to honor a wooden statue of the country's patron saint, St Maria. As the fortnight celebration comes to a close, a procession is held through the streets with the statue.

Wine Festivals

Local village wine festivals are a great way to get a feel for the real, rural Luxembourg. Usually taking place in the spring, the festivities are centered around music, food, and of course, wine. The whole community comes together for this light-hearted social gathering, tasting the fruits of labor of the local wine makers and gearing up for the summer months.

Discovery Zone Film Festival

The recently launched Discovery Zone Film Festival is an exciting celebration of unique and original flicks and documentaries. In its first year in 2011, more than 4,500 visitors attended the event which showcased the region's best new films. Located across the capital's movie theaters and an exhibition space in Ratskeller, the week-long festival held in March is expected to keep attracting more people and garner more prestige.

National Holiday

Although the country's history as an independent state is relatively short, Luxembourg National Holiday celebrates the rich past of this charming nation. The holiday was officially created in the 19th century on the Dutch king's birthday; however, upon independence, the event was moved to June 23 by Grand Duchess Charlotte to take advantage of the good weather. The festival traditionally begins with a torch-lit parade past the royal palace in Luxembourg City followed by an impressive fireworks display. The city then transforms into a huge street party with food stalls, bands, and many other forms of jovial entertainment.

Summer in the City

The Summer in the City festival has been running for more 15 years and encompasses a wide-ranging collection of events and concerts. Starting in June and running until September, the festivities are free and include open-air concerts, art exhibitions, music festivals, and street performances. Each year around 1.5 million visitors experience the exhilarating and diverse events from the Blues'n Jazz Rallye to Art Exposition.

Schueberfouer

This enthralling amusement fair which started as a traditional cattle and flea market is held at the height of summer on August 23. Taking place in Luxembourg City's Limpertsberg district, the festival is now full of roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and rides to suit all ages. Authentic stalls still remain, selling an array of goods from sweet nougat to household appliances. The closing night also symbolizes the end of summer and is celebrated with an extravagant fireworks display.

Winterlights

Marking the start of the holiday season, Luxembourg City is lit up with a series of colorful and bright decorations covering trees, buildings, and plazas throughout the romantic capital. Switched on at the end of November, the lights bring the city to life with Christmas markets selling traditional handicrafts, sumptuous winter foods like pancakes and soups, and Christmas decorations in squares around the city. This is a brilliant time to visit Luxembourg and immerse yourself in the fun and festivities.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Central African Republic Holidays and Festivals

The Central African Republic holidays are not unique to them, but it celebrates the usual holidays with the rest of the world. Independence Day and National Day are widely observed and both are marked by lively parades and traditional song-and-dance performances, particularly in the capital city.

New Year's Day

January 1 is a public holiday and is celebrated with gatherings by families and friends. Key cities like Bangui become particularly lively.
Anniversary of Barthélemy

Boganda's Death

Considered a hero, Barthélemy Boganda was one of the Central African Republic's leading national politicians. He died on March 29, 1959 when his aircraft exploded midair over Boukpayanga about 99 miles west of Bangui. He passed away just before the legislative elections and is commemorated annually.

Easter Monday

Also known as "Egg Nyte," the day after Easter is observed as a holiday by Christians, particularly the Roman Catholics. On the liturgical calendar, Easter Monday is the second day of the octave of Easter Week.

Independence Day

This public holiday commemorates the Central African Republic's proclamation of independence from France on August 13, 1960. The day is celebrated joyously, as everyone is thankful for the freedom from slavery. Festivities are held in major cities including the capital, Bangui.

Feast of the Assumption

August 15 is the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is marked a public holiday. While it is traditionally a Roman Catholic event, the day is considered a multi-faith holiday in the Central African Republic. Processions are organized and holy masses are held throughout the day along with prayer gatherings.

National Day

The Central African Republic celebrates its national day on December 1. The day is marked by sports festivities, speeches, parades, and other activities throughout the nation. There are boat races along the Ubangi River. Military officials, soldiers and political leaders attend the parade in the capital along with the locals. Music, traditional dances, and food are in abundance.

Christmas Day

Christmas in the Central African Republic is celebrated December 25 and is observed as a cultural and religious holiday.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

San Marino Holidays and Festivals

The San Marino holidays and festivals are not the most world-renowned, but they still do pack a punch, entertainment wise. One of the most popular events each year is Medieval Day. During this special event, students can dress up in costumes and re-live the beauty that once dominated medieval San Marino. Another popular event held in the city is the feast-filled San Marino's Day, which celebrates the establishment of a republic many years ago. Watch out for the fireworks at the end of the evening.

Investiture of the New Captains Regent

Held in the months of April and September every year, the interesting Investiture of the new Captains Regent is held outside Government Palace. It celebrates the installation of the Heads of State, and follows a very strict but intriguing protocol. Tourists who are visiting San Marino on the first of September or April should visit Piazza della Liberta for this celebration.

San Marino World Motorcycle Championship

Even though the event is held in the nearby track at Misano in Italy, the San Marino World Motorcycle Championship is still part of the republic's calendar. The race is held in the month of June, and thousands of visitors flock to the republic to witness it.

Adriatic Music Festival

The Adriatic Music Festival is held in the month of July, welcoming thousands of tourists and musicians from across the globe. Many of the performances throughout the several-day event take place in the public squares and pedestrian streets of San Marino City. Tourists are advised to book accommodation before arriving into San Marino for the event. Some tourists actually stay in the nearby towns of Italy, such as Rimini.

Medieval Days

If tourists are interested in medieval history, then traveling to San Marino during the summer month of July is recommended. During this month, the Medieval Days festival is held. The local citizens, especially shop owners in the historic old town, dress up in medieval costume, and many ancient events take place. The most popular is the crossbow competition held in the main square.

San Marino Ethnological Festival

San Marino's Mt Titano becomes the center of world ethnological culture through the San Marino Ethnological Festival. Since the year 1988, a long list of people from diverse cultures have traveled to San Marino to take part in this festival, including Amazon Jungle performances and even local Thai performances. The event occurs across a complete week in mid-July.

San Marino Jazz Festival

The beauty of jazz music is on display for tourists and locals at the San Marino Jazz Festival. Held over three days in July, this majestic festival lures in many world-famous jazz artists and jazz bands. The festival is actually held in the city of Borgo Maggiore, but tourists can literally stay anywhere in the republic and reach the festival in no time at all.

San Marino's Day

On September 3 each year, the republic celebrates the founding of the San Marino Republic hundreds of years ago. There are plenty of activities to experience and witness on this day, including crossbow events, flag waving competitions, and a beautiful concert by the military. Of course, the fireworks display is simply outstanding, luring the attention of locals and visitors alike.

Marvels of Christmas

The Marvels of Christmas is one of the most important events on the local calendar. The market/fair is operated over the course of a few weeks, from December 1 to January 6. Inside the Marvels of Christmas, dozens of tables and stalls are set up to sell local food, and handicrafts.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Monday, 11 July 2016

OBATALA

The orisha of the white cloth is Obatala. Obatala is the only orisha that has male and female aspects. He is the orisha that is the owner of all heads whether crowned or not crowned. Obatala is the orisha that Olofi entrusted to judge justice on the earth. Obatala is the purest of all orishas and one of the wisest orishas. He is said to vary from an old man that is always trembling to a young person that is riding a horse. Depending on the path, his main color is white with touches of other colors. Everything put to Obatala is white. He lives in a white tureen that contains his secrets and mysteries. He is a compassionate father and a good listener. He is the father that all that the orishas look for.
Obatala created mankind and it's said that Olofi came and breathed life into his creations. Obatala as much as he is the owner of peace and tranquility, he is also a great and fierce warrior when he wants to. With his sword he battles against evil and triumphs over all. But when he is summoned it is to bring order and peace. He is the white pigeon that is seen flying over to announce peace is here. Obatala is associated with the mountains and high elevated place.

Swaziland Holidays and Festivals

The Ezulwini Valley hosts two of the most magnificent traditional Swaziland holidays, neither of which has changed much during the past 200 years. Young girls cut and present reeds to Swaziland's Queen Mother during the Umhlanga Reed Dance, held between August and September, while the Incwala Ceremony pays tribute to Swaziland's royal family at Lobamba's royal palace. Swaziland's most popular performing arts festival, the Bushfire Festival, offers a far more modern atmosphere at the House of Fire nightclub each May.

Marula Festival

Swaziland's annual marula season begins in the middle of February with this lively festival which the locals call
Emaganwini. These exotic green fruits grow for several months and are most commonly used to make Swaziland's famous marula beer. Swaziland's royal family participates in the country's largest song and dance event at their Ebuhleni palace, while another celebration takes place at the Queen Mother's family home in Hlane village.

Bushfire Music Festival

Swaziland's most unusual open-air art gallery and nightclub, House of Fire, hosts the country's biggest performing arts festival each May. Dozens of musicians, poets, dancers, and theater groups from around the world perform at this spacious Malkerns Valley venue alongside food and craft fairs. Film screenings are also part of this fascinating three-day festival.

Sibebe Survivor

Mbabane Mbuluzi's Rotary Club sponsors this annual July charity trek to the summit of the world's biggest exposed granite dome, Sibebe Rock. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bottled water. Those who make it to Sibebe Rock's summit are rewarded with breathtaking views. Breakfasts, prizes, and certificate presentations take place adjacent to the Mbuluzi Clinic. Only 4,000 walkers can participate each year, so early registration is essential.

Umhlanga Reed Dance

Some of the 100,000 dancing Swazi maidens who present tall reeds to the Queen Mother during this eight-day traditional Swaziland festival are genuine princesses, who are easily identified by the red feathers in their hair. Only the final two days of the festival, which takes place between the end of August and early September, are open to the public. The reeds the Queen Mother receives from the brightly-dressed girls are used to repair the palace and make windbreaks.

Simunye Country Fair

Each October, the Simunye Country Club hosts this three-day, family-fun weekend filled with beer tents, circus acts, live music, amusement park rides, and entertainment for children. Goat races and a snake handling demonstration by the manager are among the fair's most unique events.

Incwala Ceremony

No Swazi festival is more culturally important than this annual tribute to the nation's royal family. This festival, which takes place between the end of December and the beginning of February, is also called the 'Festival of the First Fruits' because it takes place during the beginning of Swaziland's harvest season. The festival's first sacred rituals take place under a full moon before costumed warriors try to impress the king with their dancing performances at Lobamba's royal palace. The king is also presented with the harvest's first freshly-picked pumpkin.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Liechtenstein Holidays and Festivals

Liechtenstein is home to some of Europe's most illustrious celebrations. Music plays an important role in the yearly festivals, but so does cuisine, dance and history. The nation stops for its annual Liechtenstein holiday- National Day on August 15, with plenty of festivities and fireworks throughout the land. Another energetic day is the Monster Concert, which is held in the town of Schaan.

Operettas in Vaduz/Balzers

Rotating between cities each year, the Liechtenstein Operettas is a three month opera celebration. The festivals are held either in Balzers or Vaduz and generally last from the end of January through the middle of March.

Monster Concert

Held in the town of Schaan during the month of March, the Monster Concert is one of the annual Fasching events, and has rocked since 1958. Music is played and dancing in the streets is the norm, with thousands of visitors adding to the spectacle every year.

Treisenberg Spring

Taking place over a weekend at the end of March, the Treisenberg Spring festival is a celebration of the coming warm season in Liechtenstein. Classical music is used to entertain the masses and amazing rhythms can be heard echoing throughout the township, keeping alive the golden oldies from the likes of Bach, Wendling and Telemann.

Bargar-Fruahlig-Mountain Spring

After a long winter, visitors celebrate the coming warmth at the traditional Treisenberg Spring festival in April and May. However, the event is more about cuisine than music, with local restaurants, Café Guflina and Restaurant Kainer, offering a magnificent selection of spring foods.

LGT Alpine Marathon

The annual LGT Alpine Marathon is one of the most exciting sporting events on the Liechtenstein calendar. On June 16, runners from around Europe and the UK flock to Bendern for 42 kms of excitement. Most of the course is at an altitude of about 5900 feet.

Film Festival Vaduz

For two weeks in July, Vaduz turns on the charm when it hosts its annual film festival. Flicks from around Liechtenstein, Europe, and other parts of the globe are screened, mostly in beautiful open air cinemas around the capital.

National Day of Liechtenstein

Held on August 15, National Day of Liechtenstein is celebrated across the country. Musical events, parades, dance performances, games, and traditional cuisine are the center of attention until 10:00 p.m. when fireworks light up the sky near Vaduz Castle.

Liechtenstein Guitar Days

This weeklong festival held in July, brings the best guitar players from around the country and Europe to Eschen. An international competition is what attracts the most visitors, but there are also plenty of workshops and concerts.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

OKE AS A DEITY

Oke, mountain, or hill, is the god of Mountains, and is worshipped by those who live in mountainous or rocky country. If neglected, he is apt to roll down huge masses of rock upon the habitations of those who have been forgetful of his wants, or to sweep them away by a landslip. When any great mishap of this nature occurs, a human victim is offered up to turn away his anger. The falling of boulders or detached pieces of rock is always considered the handiwork of Oke and a sign that something is required. The emblem of Oke is a stone or fragment of rock. He is one of those who sprang from Yemaja.
At Abeokuta there is a rocky cavern in which Oke is worshipped. It is popularly believed by the other tribes that the Egbas, when defeated in war, can retire into this cavern, which then hermetically seats itself till the danger is past.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Gibraltar Music Festival 2016

Having previously played host to Duran Duran, Kings of Leon and Paloma Faith, Gibraltar Music Festival's fifth birthday year promises to impress even further with the first act announced as seminal welsh rockers Stereophonics. Emerging as a bright new noise in the UK alternative rock scene in the1990's, Stereophonics have firmly established themselves as the greatest Welsh band of their generation. The four piece continue to prove their musical prowess with a new number one album, Keep The Village Alive, and will no doubt treat the crowds to new and old Stereophonics classics.

Jess Glynne is on the rise as one of the UKs most treasured urban artists. With vocal cords to beat any, Glynne has blasted onto the commercial music scene over the past year, gaining a UK number one album with I Cry When I Laugh which served up a mighty four top ten singles.

2016 marks the return of All Saints who originally rose to fame in the 1990's releasing nine top ten singles in the UK, including 'Never Ever' and 'Bootie Call'. Following a sold out London show, All Saints have released a brand new album titled 'Red Flag' and will be playing on the main stage at this year's Gibraltar Music Festival.

BRIT Award winner and Grammy nominee KT Tunstall broke into the public eye in 2004 with her release Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. Since her last album Invisible Empire // Crescent Moon released in 2013, Tunstall has been working on a sixth album to be released this year so ticket holders can expect to hear brand new material this September.

Louisa Rose Allan aka Foxes joins the bill for Gibraltar Music Festival's fifth birthday, the English singer songwriter has risen to fame since her vocals featured on Zedd's 2012 single Clarity, and rose to number eight in the Billboard 100. Since then Foxes has released a critically acclaimed first album and a punchy second at the end of 2015 titled All I Need.

The two time Latin Grammy winning Rosario will bring a unrivalled performance to the festival on the rock. Daughter of Spain's musical dynasty, Rosario Flores has released nine stunning albums into the world, providing countless musical classics. Rosario is one of Spain's musical heroes and is sure to impress at the Gibraltar Music Festival.

Spanish rockers Los Secretos ('The Secrets') will be serving up some classics to the 14,000 strong audience this summer. Having made their mark in the 80's and 90's, the five piece continues to draw the crowds today.
99 Souls join this years Gibraltar Music Festival, having just hit UK and USA television and radio stations with single The Girl Is Mine, the single reached the top five in the UK singles chart in January 2016.

Fresh up and coming UK and local talent will share a stage with the international artists. Hailing from London, Rock and Roll quintet The Second Sons and five piece band Concept are set to join the fifth birthday celebrations at the Gibraltar Music Festival with more to be announced. The first of the local acts confirmed for 2016 are Frontiers, Hollie April, Metro Motel and Dead City Radio.

With more big names to be announced in the coming weeks including the full dance stage line up and details of the brand new comedy offerings, 2016 is shaping up to be Gibraltar Music Festival's biggest year yet.Stereophonics will top the bill, joined by Jess Glynne, All Saints, KT Tunstall, Foxes, Rosario, Los Secretos, 99 Souls, Concept and The Second Sons. The festival has a history of bringing the biggest and best live acts from around the globe to perform in Victoria Stadium and 2016 sees two new stages added to the programme. Providing one of the most varied and high calibre festival experiences across the summer season, it's perfect for the whole family. Gibraltar acts as the entrance to the Mediterranean and set in the iconic Victoria Stadium against the Rock of Gibraltar, the festival offers picture perfect surroundings. Taking place 3rd & 4th of September, the event ends the summer on a high. Tickets start at £89 with free tickets for children under 12 and are available from 9am, 6th May here:www.gibraltarmusicfestival.com

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Azerbaijan Holidays and Festivals

Photo Credit - Niyaz Baliki

There are several Azerbaijan holidays and events throughout the year. The busiest month is May, largely because of Baku's many food festivals and jazz concerts. A majority of the locals are Muslims so Ramadan (also called Ramazan) is one of the most important and highly anticipated celebrations in the country. There are also plenty of national days honoring important historical events during the struggle for independence.

Gurban Bayram

Known as the 'Day of Sacrifice' or 'Qurban,' Gurban Bayram celebrates the end of the Haji pilgrimage and Abraham's sacrifice for God. A camel or goat is sacrificed to remember Abraham, who slaughtered a ram instead of his own son.

Ramazan Bayram

Ramazan Bayram (Ramadan) is internationally known as 'Eid Ul Fitr,' which sees an entire month of fasting, ending on the day of the full moon. Sweets and gifts are exchanged between Azerbaijan family members and friends. The two-day celebration is lively and interesting with people flocking to the mosques to pray. They greet each other with 'Eid-Mubarak,' which means 'May you enjoy a blessed festival.'

Novruz Bayram

The New Year of the Zoroastrian, Novruz Bayram is considered a public holiday in Azerbaijan. Traditionally, a novruz table is adorned with candles, colored eggs, dry fruits, and sweets. Foods that start with the letter 's' (such as sumakh, sir, sabzi, sib, serkeh, and sonbol) are served. The center of the table is never without a bowl of goldfish because it is believed that when the New Year comes, the goldfish will face north.

Victory's Day

Held every May 9, Victory's Day is celebrated to honor the Soviet Republic's triumph over Germany in WWII. It is also to show respect for the veterans who died in battle.
International Women's Day
Held annually on March 8th, a global celebration honors women throughout the world, of which Azerbaijan takes part. There are presentations and films about women's issues, empowerment workshops, etc.

Republic Day

A public holiday on May 28, Republic Day remembers the formation of the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan in 1918.
International Baku Jazz Festival
Azerbaijanis love jazz, and every year, Bazu plays host to various concerts put together by musicians and bands from different countries. Jazz artists from Georgia, Israel, USA, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Canada come to perform.

Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijani People

June 15 is a state holiday celebrating Heydar Aliyev's return as the country's leader. Known for leading his people to significant social and economic changes, he ultimately improved the quality of life in Azerbaijan and brought stability to the nation.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Deity Called Olosa

Olosa (oni-osa , owner of the Lagoon) is the goddess of the Lagos Lagoon, and the principal wife of her brother Olokun, the sea-god. Like her husband she is long-haired. She sprang from the body of Yemoja.

Olosa supplies her votaries with fish, and there are several temples dedicated to her along the shores of the lagoon, where offerings of fowls and sheep are made to her to render her propitious. When the Lagoon is swollen by rain and overflows its banks she is angry, and if the inundation be serious a human victim is offered to her-, to induce her to return within her proper limits.

Crocodiles ate Olosa's messengers, and may not be molested. They are supposed to bear to the goddess the offerings which the faithful deposit on the shores of the Lagoon or throw into the sedge. Some crocodiles, selected by the priests on account of certain marks borne by them, are treated with great veneration; and have rude sheds, thatched with palm leaves, erected for their accommodation near the water's edge. Food is regularly supplied to these reptiles every fifth day, or festival, and many of them become sufficiently tame to come for the offering as soon as they see or hear the worshippers gathering on the bank.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Sun & The Moon

According to the myth, the sun, moon, and stars came from the body of Yemoja. Oorun, the Sun, and Osu, the Moon, are gods, but the stars do not seem to have been deified. The worship of the sun and moon is, moreover, now very nearly obsolete, and sacrifices are no longer offered to them, though the appearance of the -new moon is commonly celebrated by a festival.
The stars are the daughters of the sun and moon. The boys, or young suns, on growing up tried to follow their father in his course across the sky to where the sea and the sky meet, and which, say the Yorubas, is the place where the white men go and find all the things with which they fill their ships; but he, jealous of his power, turned upon them and tried to kill them. Some of them sought refuge with Olosa, some with Olokun, and the remainder with their grandmother, Yemoja, who turned them into fish. Thus all the sons were driven out of the sky, but the daughters remained with their mother and still accompany her by night. This myth is virtually the same as that current among the eastern Ewe-tribes, who have almost certainly learnt it from their Yoruba neighbours.
To see the new moon is lucky, and, just as in England, people wish when they first see it. As amongst the Ewe-tribes, an eclipse of the Moon is supposed to indicate that the Sun is beating her, and steps are taken to drive him away, similar to those described in "The Ewe-Speaking People."
The Yorubas pay some attention to the heavenly bodies. The planet Venus, when near the Moon, is called Aja-Osu, the Moon's Dog, because she travels with it. When a morning star she is called Ofere, or Ofe, which seems to mean a pale blue colour. When an evening star she is called Irawo-ale, Star of the Evening. Sirius is called Irawo-oko, Canoe Star, because it is believed to be a guide to canoe men. A proverbial saying likens the stars to chickens following a hen, the Moon; and the Milky Way is called the group of chickens."

Monday, 4 July 2016

Laos Holidays and Festivals

There are a number of Laos holidays and seasonal festivals throughout the year, which locals refer to as boun that are typically Buddhist in nature. A good opportunity to see traditions and religion being practiced, make sure you have a good understanding of the cultural norms before attending (appropriate clothing, footwear, etc.).

Lao New Year (Boun Pi Mai)

Lao New Year is celebrated under the Buddhist calendar and takes place annually around April. This is an important celebration for the Lao people with colorful parades and visits to the
wats (temples) to give offerings. Similar to the Thai New Year, throwing water has become popular so expect to get wet!

Rocket Festival

Taking place during the dry season in May, the Rocket Festival is a call for rain. This celebration takes place nationwide, with people heading out to rural areas to launch home-made rockets. There are many contests for projectiles that fly the furthest.

Boun Khao Padabdin

An important religious festival in Luang Prabang, Boun Khao Padabdin sees Lao people visit the temples to honoring dead ancestors with offerings. Taking place in September every year, it's also a major attraction for visitors as it includes the famous dragon boat races on the Nam Khan River.

Boat Races

Usually at the end of October, the Boat Races on the Mekong River in Vientiane take place at the same time as the Buddhist Ok Phansa festival. Lao people will dress up in their best traditional costumes and got to temples to make sacrifices.

Naga Fireballs

Also called Mekong lights, there is an ancient belief that fireballs can be seen flying out of the Mekong River once a year in the Bolikhamxay province. Thousands of Lao and Thais attempt to see the sight in late October, which do not always materialize. It is almost impossible to find accommodation during this festival, so bring your own tent and sleeping bag.

Tat Luang Festival

Considered to be one of the biggest festivals in Vientiane, the Tat Luang Festival attracts Lao people from all over the country to the main temple in the capital. This three-day event takes place in November during the full moon. Market stalls, food vendors and amusement rides are set-up all around Tat Luang in celebration.

Handicraft Festival

The best venue to see a wide range of handicrafts, this annual event is held at the ITECC convention center in Vientiane in November. It's a great place to see a range of goods and gifts all in one place to do your souvenir shopping.

Hmong New Year

This celebration usually takes place in early December and is a colorful display of traditional Hmong costumes. Visitors can see the playing of traditional music, ox races, top spinning, and teenagers play a ball toss game – a kind of match-making ceremony. There are great photo opportunities in Xiengkong or Udomxay.

*culled from www.iexpress.com

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Nauru Holidays and Festivals

The biggest Nauru holidays are Independence Day, the day Nauru was officially declared a free republic, and Constitution Day, the day the island's constitution was signed. Both of these historic events took place in 1968. Another important holiday is Angam Day, when the population mark hit 1,500, required to continue the survival of its people. Sporting competitions play important parts in several island festivals.

Independence Day

Each January 31, the people of Nauru celebrate the anniversary of the day the island officially became the tiniest independent republic on Earth by hoisting flags, singing the national anthem and speeches made by local politicians. The holiday begins with a fishing competition followed by wrestling matches, tug of war and other lively sporting events. A clean-up competition also takes place among the island's districts.

Constitution Day

Less than four months after Nauru became an independent country, they signed their first constitution on May 17, 1968. Sports competitions take place throughout the island to mark this important event in its history, and the day begins with a colorful team parade. The last day is the national track and field championships, where athletes run on a crushed coral track that coincides with Constitution Day. The national track and field champions go on to compete against other athletes from across the South Pacific.

National Youth Day

Although September 25 is Nauru's official Youth Day, the island's young people host island-wide activities throughout the week. This emphasis is on healthy living and active pursuits on the island infamous for having the world's largest percentage of obesity. Volleyball, tug of war and a relay race around the Nauru International Airport airstrip are just some of the competitions held during this vibrant festival.

Angam Day

While many other countries worry about overpopulation, Nauru must maintain a number of at least 1,500 residents in order for its people to survive for generations to come. The island's population plummeted to barely over 1,000 people following dysentery and influenza epidemics during the first two decades of the 20th century. The baby who pushed the island's population back up to 1,500 entered the world on October 26, 1932, and her birthday has been a national holiday ever since. After the original Angam baby became one of approximately 500 Nauruans who perished during a WWII evacuation to the island of Chuuk, a second Angam baby was born in 1949. The word angam translates roughly to "celebration" or "homecoming" in English

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Vanuatu Holidays and Festivals

History, culture, local tradition, and religion all play a role in the Vanuatu holidays and festivals. One local ritual worth seeing is the death-defying stunt of the local men of Pentecost Island who dive from as high as 98ft with only tree vines tied to their legs. Visitors are also welcome to join in the festivities of Saint Andrew Festival, a Christian festival which has adopted local customs in Vanuatu.

John Frum Day

John Frum is a mythical figure associated with a cargo cult which arose on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Usually depicted as a WWII soldier from the US, John Frum is said to bring wealth and prosperity to those who believe in him. Every year, usually in March, a military parade is held in his honor, signifying that this non-violent cult is still quite active today.

ANZAC Day

ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and ANZAC Day, April 25, commemorates the day when Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought and died in the battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire in WWI. The Australian and New Zealand high commissions hold a joint event every year in Port Vila to celebrate the lives of the ANZAC troopers.

Nagol Land Diving

This is perhaps the cultural tradition of the ni-Vanuatu which has made the nation famous all over the world. Said to be the pre-cursor of modern bungee jumping, Nagol land diving sees local men of the southern part of Pentecost Island jumping off wooden towers from heights of up to 98ft with only tree vines tied to their feet as part of a coming-of-age ritual. Previously held once a year, the tradition now takes place every Saturday from April to June to accommodate tourists who want to witness this death-defying ritual of the locals.

Fête de la Musique

As with many other cities around the world, June 21st sees performances from both amateur and professional musicians showcasing their talent at different venues across the towns of Port Vila and Luganville. Musical artists donate their time for free and spectators come to see the show free-of-charge.

Saint Andrew Festival

The Saint Andrew Festival is a Christian festival in Vanuatu that has been infused with local indigenous traditions. In the Banks region, locals from Rah and Mota Lava have been coming together for more around 100 years now in this festival celebrating the life of Saint Andrew, the Apostle. The three-day event sees both locals and visitors in large festivities and feasts featuring food cooked by geothermal energy. The festival is held every November 29.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Igunnuko And Their Glamour

Igunnuko cult is a Tapa cult from Pategi in Niger State of Nigeria. It was brought down to Lagos by Yaisa Ayani, the great grandfather of Aleje in 1805.

Yaisa Ayani's people saw what other tribes were doing with their own cults during a festival and this motivated them to put pressure on their man to go and bring their own cult which is used not only for festival performances, but also to appease the gods. A ritual performance is done when they sense that an outbreak of any disease or war is approaching.

In 1814 Yaisa Ayani went to his home town in Pategi, Niger State and brought the Igunnuko Cult to Lagos. It first settled at Odo-Oba (Oju-Oto), his residence. He bought some ingredients with which some rituals were performed, it was after these rituals that it started coming out.
Later when this place could not accommodate them again, Yaisa Ayani went to Chief I Oshodi Tapa, a Nupe man and an important war chief in Lagos, to appeal to him to give him a place to be used as (IBASOSHI) Igbo-Igunnu which Chief Oshodi Tapa joyfully gave to him and which is known as "IGBO-IGUNNU EPETEDO" till today. It was from this place that Igunnuko cult spread all over modern day Lagos State. This place is also known as the origin of Igunnuko in Lagos State.

Chief Abiodun Thomas, the Idaso of Igunnuko (head of the Igunnuko cult) in Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos, says that the festival is done between January and February each year and the festival lasts for fourteen days. When it is time for the festival or an occasion calls for its ritual performance, a ritual performance is first done for the pot drum before anyone beats it. To perform the festival or ritual ceremony, the following are required: - one native goat, duck, pigeon, snail, hen, rooster, black turtle, cotton wool, calabash, kolanut, bitter kolanut, natoive wine, hot drink, three yards of white cloth and some other useful items.

The festival starts when all these are ready. The young and old men (alone) will go to uproot a living tree. This is called kuso and when they are returning from kuso, any place that trees are dragged or passed with means a lot.

When the festival is on, the igunnuko masquerades are seen. The igunnuko dresses in robes on stilts, it is a very tall figure and is also a secret cult used to hunt witches. It parades the streets and visits important people. On sighting an igunnuko one has to remove his hat and shoes. The tall, graceful shape of the masquerades, their ability to telescope into any height at all and their other amazing display of agility in spite of their height, make these masquerades and their performance a fascinating sight. A companion of the igunnuko is the Salumogi, a very short masquerade that holds a whip and clears the way for the Igunnuko.

*culled from www.nairaland.com

Friday, 1 July 2016

Palau Holidays And Festivals

Palau doesn't hold a large number of celebrations and events throughout the year. However, there are some that will interest travelers, especially if they are coming from the US. Several major American holidays are recognized and celebrated here, with Thanksgiving the most popular event among locals and expatriates alike. Of course, Palau's Independence Day is fondly celebrated by citizens each year and is often regarded as the most important day on the Palau holiday calendar.

International Photo Festival

Held during March, the International Photo Festival has featured on the Palau calendar since 2002. This underwater photography festival lures many world-renowned nature photographers to the archipelago each year. Most dive shops around Palau are invited to the event, so tourists need only make reservations with local dive operators to enjoy this festival.

Earth Day

Earth Day, which falls on April 22 each year, is a magnificent celebration of Mother Nature. It is celebrated around the world, but with Palau's heavy reliance on a healthy Mother Nature, the island hold this day in high regard. There are always plenty of awareness campaigns and Koror becomes an even greater buzz than it usually is.

Constitution Day

This day is celebrated across Palau. Although most of the festivities are found in the city of Koror and the capital district known as Ngerulmud, the entire country experiences a holiday on this day. Constitution Day, which falls on July 9 each year, commemorates the signing of the Nuclear-free Constitution in 1981.

Independence Day

After many years of civil unrest, Palau finally experienced peace after becoming independent on October 1, 1994. Independence Day is celebrated throughout the country on this day every year. It is both a working and school holiday. Most of the activities and performances on this day are found in the largest city of Palau, Koror.

Thanksgiving

Palau boasts a very American culture, and therefore many North American holidays are celebrated on the islands. However, one of the most famous holidays held during the year is Thanksgiving. This food-filled event, celebrated on the last Thursday in November, is well catered for across the country. However, most of the local restaurants and dining options that serve Thanksgiving meals are found on the islands around Koror.

Palau Challenge – Belau Triathlon

The island of Koror is home to the Palau Challenge, which is organized by the Belau Triathlon Federation. It is an exciting and popular event that has been held for about five years. It includes several disciplines and races, including open ocean swimming, a triathlon, and cycling events. The program is open to anyone fit enough to enjoy the beauty of Palau via a long and arduous triathlon. It occurs on December 1 and December 2 annually.

Christmas

Like all other Christian nations around the globe, Christmas is celebrated in Palau on December 25. Tourists will be able to enjoy a wide range of festivities leading up to this magnificent day, especially around the many churches in Palau. Following Christmas comes New Year's Eve, which is a fun yet expensive time on the islands.

*culled from www.iexplore.com

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