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mislav Welcome!!! - Subscribe
Welcome to my blog!!! I am a geographer. I am really fascinated with the beauty of our planet, diversity of cultures... Our planet is an amazing place. Unfortunatelly because of bad politicians many things that enrich our world are in danger. That is why I decided to start a blog that will include little articles about all these colours of the planet which is a home to all people...

Let me today mention few details from the Irish culture which I found on the Internet. According to old Irish folklore, the cuttings of your hair should not be thrown where birds can find them. They will take them to build their nests, and then you will have headaches all the year after. Swallowing a live frog (imagine the taste...ha,ha...) was an old Irish cure for stomach ache. I do not think this will work with me. What do you think?
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Mood: happy

mislav Wedding customs around the World 03 Aug 2005 - Subscribe
Social customs in different cultures are really interesting. Today I put the article about Bedouin weddings. I found it at www.zawaj.com/weddingways_main.html

Here it is. I hope someone may like it...the way I do...
For centuries they have wandered across the vast expanse of the Arabian desert on camel back, braving dry, hot winds. Now the Bedouin people - from the Arab word 'baddwin', meaning dweller of the desert - are a fast diminishing tribe, with many giving up their nomadic lifestyle and settling in the cities.
But old traditions, like the famed Bedouin hospitality and ceremonial folk dances, have become an important part of modern Arab culture. Another well-known custom is the Bedouin wedding, an event that is a riot of color and music, which reflects the true spirit of the desert nomad as well as the ancient Arab concept of marriage - the union of two families and not just two individuals.
A traditional Bedouin wedding lasts for a week and begins with the 'Al Khoutha' (proposal), where the groom's father, accompanied by close relatives and friends, visits the bride's father to seek his daughter's hand for his son. The ceremony revolves around the traditional mint-flavored Arab tea. Very sweet and strong, the tea has an aroma that matches the 'gahwa' (Arabic coffee).
This is followed by the 'Al Akhd', which involves negotiations between the two families and mutual agreement of a marriage contract. The negotiations between the two families are relayed through a public address system. The wedding preparations get underway with the colorful 'Laylat Al Henna' where friends of the bride decorate her hands and feet with henna. This is followed by the fun-filled 'Al Aadaa', where the bride's friends tease the groom to pay a fee for decorating his bride.
''The Laylat Al Henna ceremony is the Bedouin version of a bridal shower and to the Sudanese, it is more than mere skin paint. It symbolizes beauty, luck and health,'' says Adam Drasoa, member of Sudan's National Assembly and Chairman of the Pastoral Union of Sudan.
He was among those present at the recent enactment of Bedouin wedding rituals at the Dubai Shopping Festival. The Bedouin wedding ceremonies were put on show by the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing organization.Palestinian bridal costumes
''Authentic events such as these help us recreate the magic of the region. We have deep respect for our past and we aim to preserve and promote it,'' says the tourism body's director Mohammed Khamis Bin Hareb.
Relatives from the bridegroom's family arrive in procession at the bride's house to a warm welcome complete with songs, dance and music of the versatile, one-string rababa violin and 'dalouka' (big drums).
Men perform 'Al Ardha' (war dance), armed with swords and whips. Women from the bride's family display the 'Zaahbaah' comprising the girl's clothes, gifts from the groom's family, jewellery and other items.
The women and men sit separately, under black goat hair tents. Guests bring gifts or 'nuqout', which was traditionally sheep, rice or money. Now it could be a ''TV, silver or a piece of crystal or any thing else modern,'' says Hareb, himself a Bedouin.
The wedding ends with the 'Tarwaah' - the bride's departure for the groom's house, perched atop a camel fitted with a 'houdach', a special and comfortable saddle.
A week later, the bride pays a visit to her parents and presents them with a sheep, some rice, sugar and butter, to indicate her well-being in a house of abundant resources.
''In the past, the couple would go inside their camel hair tent and the bride would not be seen by the crowds at the wedding celebrations. For a young man to get married, he had to have a camel hair tent, which in the past was very expensive and hard to get,'' says Hareb.
According to Abdullah Hamdan Bin Dalmook of the Dubai tourism body, Bedouin marriages are now shorter, but most stretch over at least two days.''Marriage is a time for intimate bonding for families and friends. As per ancient Bedouin custom, the bride and groom do not meet until the ceremony is over. They meet only when she enters her husband's house,'' he explains.Bedouin weddings around the world
The traditional Bedouin wedding costumes are richly embellished with fine hand embroidery, worked in cross-stitch.
The design is embroidered across the front and back of the dress, down the sleeves and along the main seams. Machine-stitched embroidery is now replacing the hand embroidery. Customarily, a prospective bridegroom pays the bride's father a dowry or bride price, part of which he uses to buy jewellery for his daughter.
Under Muslim law, any jewellery bestowed on the bride in this nuptial settlement becomes her property and insurance in times of need.
Traditionally, Bedouin jewellery is made of silver, usually studded with amber, coral, agate, cornelian, pearls or turquoise. Most pieces are large and usually embossed with fine calligraphy and decorated with Islamic symbols.

That's it for today. So, until tomorrow...Bye!!
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mislav Going north 04 Aug 2005 - Subscribe
Hello!!! It is dark and rainy day here in Croatia...The fact that in few weeks my brother is going to start his master degree of fine arts in Helsinki, Finland...encouraged me to search for info about that country...Among outher things I found the following few lines about wedding customs in that European country...
In Finland, a traditional bride-to-be walks door-to-door with a pillowcase, to receive her wedding presents. An older, married man walks with her, holding an umbrella or parasol to cover her. This pre-wedding tradition a symbol of protection and shelter for the new bride.
On her wedding day, a Finnish bride might wear a traditional golden crown with her wedding gown. After wedding vows have been exchanged, and the celebration has begun at the wedding reception, all of the women blindfold the new bride and dance around her. She places her crown on the head of the girl next to marry in much the way beauty queens pass their crowns following their year of reign.
It is a Finnish wedding custom for the newlyweds to sit together in designated seats of honor.at the wedding reception. The bride holds a seive, covered by a shawl, into which guests deposit gifts of cash. At some weddings, the bride's mother-in-law or god mother puts a china plate on top of the her head when the newlyweds begin their wedding dance, usually a waltz. After the plate falls, the pieces of broken china foretell the number of children the couple can expect to have.
The last dance at a Finish wedding reception is called the weaning-waltz. The women start the waltz with the bride and the men with the groom, children included. Each person dances only for a moment with the bride and with the groom. The dance's origin was a test to see how quickly the bride and groom will 'forget' each other.
I have to go now. Lot of mail to write this evening...
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mislav Let\'s go to China 05 Aug 2005 - Subscribe
Red is central to the wedding theme of China. It signifies love, joy and prosperity and is used in a variety of ways in Chinese wedding traditions. The bride's wedding down is often red, as are the wedding invitations, and wedding gift boxes or envelopes for cash gifts. Even the bride and groom's homes are decorated in red on the wedding day.
Before her wedding celebration, a Chinese bride traditionally goes into seclusion with her closest friends. This Chinese custom gives the bride-to-be some time to symbolically mourn the loss of her friends and family.
Some time before the couple are married, the groom's family carries wedding gifts in red baskets and boxes to the bride's house. One of the baskets will contain "uang susu" or 'milk money'. Others will contain personal things for the bride, so that on her wedding day all of her personal belongings will be in the groom's house. The bride takes the gifts to another room where they are sorted through. Three days before the wedding day, women from the bride's family reciprocate, bearing gifts -- including some 'returns'-- in red wrappings to the groom's family.
Wedding anniversaries in China, are carefully chosen according to astrological signs. It is also customary for couples to be married on the half-hour or their wedding day rather than at the top of the hour. In this way, the couple begins their new lives together on an 'upswing', while the hands of the clock are moving up, rather than down.
On the morning of his wedding day, the groom is symbolically dressed by his parents. The groom arrives at the house of his bride on the way to the wedding chapel. He brings gifts of cash, wrapped in red tissue, to give to his bride's friends, in exchange for 'letting her go'. In some families, the wedding couple serves tea to both sets of parents while kneeling in front of them. a symbolic gesture of asking for permission. The bride and groom then leave for the wedding site together. The wedding ceremony is usually attended only by the couples' immediate families. Just after the ceremony and before the wedding reception, the bride who honors tradition will serve tea to her in-laws in a formal ceremony. The couple will usually go to a professional studio for wedding pictures before they proceed to their reception.
The wedding reception, an elaborate standing only affair. A welcoming speech is usually performed by an MC who is hired for the occasion. The speech is followed by a cake cutting ceremony. The traditional wedding cake is immense, with many layers. The layers symbolize a ladder that they couple will 'climb to success', so couples will cut the cake from the bottom and work their way up. The cutting of the cake is the only event of the reception. The bride and groom feed each other a piece of cake with arms entwined, trying not to destroy the bride's elaborate makeup. A piece is then cut for each of the parents and for the grandparents, who are fed by the bride and groom holding the cake together. Sometimes a wedding toast is given and guests are invited to greet the newlyweds and their parents. Musical entertainment, which ranges from a simple keyboard player to a symphony or orchestra, accompanies the receiving line It is customary for guests to shake hands again before leaving the reception. At more elaborate Chinese weddings, a sit-down reception may feature a 9 or 10 course meal as well as musical entertainment. Chinese brides often change outfits at least three times during the reception.

source: www.worldweddingtraditions.com
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mislav Birthdays in Asia 07 Aug 2005 - Subscribe
Birthday is something that brings happiness to most people...I know people who do not like it. Still, here are few lines about birthday celebration in some Asian countries. When Japanese children turn 7, 5, or 3, it is thought to be especially lucky. They are allowed to participate in the upcoming Shichi-go-san (meaning "Seven-Five-Three") Festival, celebrated annually on November 15. During this festival, children and their families visit a shrine or other place of worship, give thanks for good health, and ask to be blessed with continued well-being in the future. Afterwards, a family will often throw a party and bestow gifts upon the child. For this occasion, girls and boys always dress in their finest clothes, which may be traditional kimonos or western-style clothing.
In China, people believe that tigers protect children. Family members bring newborns special food and present them with gifts of clothing or toys decorated with tigers. When a Chinese girl or boy turns one year old, a variety of objects and toys are placed on the floor around the child. According to ancient beliefs, the object that the child chooses is a symbol foreshadowing the profession he or she will pursue in life.
In Hong Kong and some other Chinese communities, special noodles are served for lunch in honor of the birthday child. The noodles are extra-long to symbolize a long life.
Filipino families display blinking colored lights to show that someone is having a birthday at their home. The whole family usually goes to church together to thank God, and a celebration with close family and friends may follow.
In Korea, "Paegil" (the 100th day after a child's birth) is a day of feasting for the child's family. Similarly, on a Korean child's first birthday, a party called a "Tol" or "Dol" is held. Family and friends gather to enjoy food together and offer the one-year-old gifts of money.
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