“By seeking and blundering, we learn.”
-JW von Goethe,German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman,1749-1832
Please accept our apologies; on April Fool’s Day, for no good reason but a combination of human and AI (GPT) “malfunctioning”, Vesak Day (Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti) was mistakenly included. Each year, the exact date of Vesak’s celebration can occur between April/May/June, depending on the country you are in, because it is either based on the lunar calendar or the lunisolar calendar. (e.g. for this year, it will be on the 4th/5th of May in Malaysia, Cambodia, India, and Sri Lanka; but in neighbouring Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, it will be on the 2nd/3rd/4th of June.) While the calculation of some religious dates can be complex, Vesak Day is marked by religious and cultural celebrations, e.g., processions, offerings, and chanting of Buddhist scriptures; it is a testament to ingenuity and human creativity as they commemorate and celebrate important moments.
Other events in May include but not limited to, are: International Labour Day (1st), Cinco de Mayo (5th) in Mexico and parts of the United States, Hıdırellez (5th) in Turkey and some places in Central Asia and the Balkans, welcoming spring and the renewal of nature, Coronation of King Charles III (6th) in London, International Mother’s Day (14th), Norway’s National Day(17th), Ascension Day – the 40th day of Easter (18th) for the Christians, followed by Pentecost, also known as Shavuot for Jews (26th) and Memorial Day (30th) in the United States.
In May, we also celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21st). And, if you are near the French Riviera, you may want to attend the Cannes Film Festival (16th -27th), binge-watch movies and marvel at the diverse international talents! You may ultimately discover how much people have in common and can mix well amidst their apparent differences, e.g. through Disney Pixar’s latest 3-D-animated parable, “Elemental.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Let’s enjoy the world’s favourite season, just like what Edwin W Teale, the American naturalist and photographer, once proclaimed:
“All things seem possible in May!”
A Journey A Month…
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.
Because of the mistake made on Vesak Day, I now know that there are differences between the lunar and lunisolar calendars, and I also experienced first-hand how misinformation can quickly spread across knowledge platforms.
Limitations of one source, such as CHATGPT, can spread to many sites, and an error can magnify and eventually appear legit even when cross-checked.- as per Goethe’s quote: “By seeking and blundering, we learn.” Yes, indeed, thanks to the incident, I learned much.
With that, let’s proceed with our fun-facts cultural knowledge Q&A section. Here we go:
Q1. What tradition do most Norwegian children enjoy on their National Day? Allegedly, children in Norway can eat as much ice cream as they want on National Day! Norway is among the top ice cream consumption countries, with an average of 12 litres per person per year. Hennig-Olsen, a popular ice cream brand, broke the Guinness World Records by producing the tallest ice cream cone (2.82m high, 1,080 litres of ice cream plus 60 litres of chocolate and 110kg of waffle biscuit) (source:Guinness World Records, OfficeHolidays.)
Q2. Are “Scandinavia” and “Nordic” the same? No, the terms “Scandinavia” and “Nordic” are often used interchangeably. However, they do have distinct meanings. Geographically, Scandinavia refers to the three countries on the Scandinavian peninsula: Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, while the Nordic countries include Finland, Iceland and some territories beyond the Scandinavia peninsula. Therefore, even though Greenland and Faroe Islands belong to Denmark, they are not considered Scandinavia but Nordic. Also, while people in Åland speak Swedish, it is part of Finland and is Nordic. (source: Wikipedia.)
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Crossing Cultures – Beyond Boundaries