“ Sing to me, Autumn, with the rustle of your leaves. Breathe on me your spicy scents that flow within your breeze.”
- Patricia L. Cisco, poet, teacher, mother
The above reminds me of the pleasant afternoon strolls in the Sologne woods, the joy of finding and picking cèpe (porcini) hidden under the blankets of fallen oak leaves. My, oh, my, Autumn is already here (in the northern hemisphere)!
On the 1st, several countries will celebrate their national days, starting with Bostwana, China, Nigeria and Tuvalu in the South Pacific Ocean (Tuvalu is located midway between Hawaii and Australia), followed by Germany’s Unity Day on the 3rd. To celebrate, China will have what is known as the National Golden Week (1st – 7th ) holiday. On the 2nd, India will celebrate the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi; the day is also declared the International Non-violence Day by the United Nations in memory of him.
As for the cultural and religious festivities in October, here are some we may be familiar with or participate in. Even though Oktoberfest has already begun in September, it will end on October 3rd, so if you are a beer drinker, whichever type of beer you prefer, it is perhaps a day to get a pint of German beer. Then, on the 4th evening at sundown, the Jewish community will start 25-hr fasting and abstinence as they solemnly observe Yom Kippur, their holiest day.
On the 2nd Monday in Oct (10th), our Canadian friends will celebrate Thanksgiving ahead of their American neighbours. While Hindus worldwide will celebrate the Festival of light, the 3rd day (24th) of the festive celebration is the most important one, known as Diwali (or Deepavali, or Divali.) Sikhs and Jains also celebrate the day to mark important religious remembrances. Finally, with all those store displays, commercial promotions and movie releases, we are reminded of the pagan (Gaelic festival Samhain), turned Christian (All Hallows’ Eve/All Saints Eve), and now pop-cultured Halloween (31st). Here is how Patricia, the poet, has for us:
Mystic Magination Night!
On one mystic, magic night, Jack O Lanterns glowing bright, kids with bags of candy sweet,
roam door to door and street to street, all dressed up for trick or treat!
Wizards with wands, pirates with hooks, monsters and clowns with spooky looks, kings
and queens with capes and crowns, a princess in her royal gown,
Witches with warts and fairies with wings, movies stars with sparkling rings, vampires with
fangs that bite, ghost that boo all dressed in white.
Imaginations taken flight, on that one mystic, magic night. Oh, the fun of Halloween,
be young or old or in between!
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Many seem to enjoy the Cultural quizzes and getting into the groove of globetrotting, albeit being desk-bound (smile), so let’s continue with the fun facts Q&A we had in the previous months. Here are the questions for October:
Q1. Where was the Chinese chequers (checkers) board game invented? The game is neither a variation of checkers nor did it originate in China, or any part of Asia. It was invented In Germany, in 1892, under the name “Stern-Halma”, as a variation of the older American game Halma. The Stern (German for star) refers to the board’s star shape (in contrast to the square board used in Halma). It is a strategy board game played by two, three, four, or six people, individually or with partners. (source: Wikipedia.)
Q2. How long is the celebration of the Festival of Light for the Hindus? It is a five-day celebration for the Hindus. During this period, devotees purchase gold and precious metals for good fortune, decorate and make Rangolis, light up diyas, and offer prayers (pujas) to the Goddess of Wealth, Lakshmi, Lord Yama, Lord Krishna, and Lord Indra. The last day, Bhai Dhooj, is a day to celebrate the sacred bond between brothers and sisters.
Q3. Which German bears have gone round the world many times? Surprise, surprise – the answer is the Gummy bears (Gummibär). These are small, fruit-gum candies, similar to a jelly baby, but shaped in the form of bears. Haribo is a popular brand, but if you have any special dietary restrictions, you may want to check if it is the halal or vegetarian version.
Q4. Who is Jack-o’-lantern? According to the Irish legend, it was a drunkard who bargained with Satan and was doomed to roam the Earth with only a hollowed turnip to light his way. Today, Jack-o’-lantern is either a carved turnip, pumpkin or root vegetable lantern, often featured as part of the Halloween decorations.
Q5. Which country started the Day-light saving time practice? On April 30, 1916, Germany became the first country to enact day-light saving time to conserve electricity. Weeks later, the United Kingdom followed suit and introduced “summer time.”
Well, we hope you have enjoyed the questions. You can click the Youtube links below for more fun facts (Youtube clips credit: Office holidays).
1st Oct: China National Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
3rd Oct: German Unity Day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
What is Yom Kippur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Holiday in a hurry – Diwali: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Again, please keep your good humour to use these newfound facts to have fun, friendly, light-hearted conversations and not debate as an expert.
Albert Camus once said: “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”; Yes, Autumn shows us how beautiful it can be to let things go. Enjoy!
“May you find the beauty in every moment this October! ”
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Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries
Keng Keng Tan
Founder & CEO