All posts tagged: culture

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The Wedding Feast

Das Hochzeitsmahl Every year, there are a couple of weddings to which I’m invited. And while I’m usually happy to oblige (as generally, I get to see some friends getting wed), the wedding meal isn’t something that I particularly look forward to. Aside from the fact that food is brought on in such abundance that there’s no way to even get close to finish what’s being placed in front of you, the food isn’t usually the kind I favor. Generally, it’s meat in all kinds of fashion, with maybe a few other side dishes of breads and a few vegetables making a few exceptions. Being more on the veggie side of eating, me and wedding meals, therefore, don’t often make a good combination! Jedes Jahr werde ich zu ein paar Hochzeiten eingeladen. Und während ich gewöhnlicherweise gerne zusage (immerhin sind es in den meisten Fällen Freunde von mir, die den Bund des Lebens eingehen), auf das jeweilige Hochzeitsmahl legen ich normalerweise keinen besonders großen Wert. Einmal abgesehen von der Tatsache, dass das Essen in solchem …

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Culture Week – Here We Go Again …

If I’m not mistaken, culture week was the content of one of my first blog posts ever. And now, I’m into the blogging journey for three years already, and here goes culture week again. To be honest, there isn’t much new to be said about culture week. But, it is a big event at our school, so I can’t just not blog about it. So, maybe I might note that it’s interesting how the first day is always “prepared” by our domestic faculty, who don’t end up preparing anything at all because they have local workshops present local art and design projects (basically turning our main square into a big fair). So, it’s only the foreign community (faculty and students) who usually go berserk about getting ready for culture week and preparing yet another event that’s bigger and better than ever. We’ll see the results later this week. But for now, I have some pics from today that I can share …  

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October Holiday

The beginning of October always is a favorite time for me. 1. We celebrate the national day of this country. 2. Two days later, we celebrate my own country’s national day. Much celebrating, for sure, and what matters most is the fact that our entire school is on holiday … no work! But it also means that many other people don’t work, which then means super crowded streets, and almost nothing goes in the stores because of all the crowds of people.

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The Kong Fu Restaurant

The Kong Fu Restaurant (aka the Donkey Restaurant among my acquaintances) is a rather special place in town. It’s special because the food is considered good, the environment excellent (if you ignore the noise), and the way you get your tea served is … well … rather special. You see, usually, when you go to a restaurant you’ll have waiters who take care of all your needs. The Kong Fu restaurant isn’t any different in that regard, except that the waiters aren’t simple waiters actually, they are specialists in serving your tea Kong-Fu-style. You’re not quite sure what that’s all about? Well, let me enlighten you. Instead of a simple tea pot, they have a container with a very long hose, and instead of simply pouring your drink they’ll jump and roll and move around you like a real Kong Fu athlete, and all the while your cup is being filled. Maybe one day, once I have downloaded the video from my camera I can show you a little clip of what that looks like. …

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With This I Thee Wed … or Something of the Likes

I told you that I was going a friend’s wedding this weekend, and here’s the proof! And since we’re talking of weddings, it reminds me: have I ever told you about weddings in this corner of the world? Well, one thing I can assure you – they’re very different from a German wedding, or any other Western type wedding for that matter. For one, they’re usually over by around 2, 2:30 pm in the afternoon. But of course, they start earlier. The real ceremonial part takes place early in the morning (about 6 am) in private, in the bride’s home (without the family of the bridegroom), and the official part is just all about giving exchanging presents (yes, the couple is required to give presents to the parents, but then they also receive the present of an apartment and a whole lot of cash by the parents of both parties). Anyhow, the main part is the big lunch meal, and then everyone disperses, bride and bridegroom change, go home and spend the rest of the …

October 1st – A Holiday

There’s a rule of thumb I usually try to abide by, and that rule is: Stay away from the public whenever there’s a public holiday around. Usually, it’s not a big deal for me to keep this in mind. So, I don’t know what has gotten into me that of all the days of the year I decided to go into town for some shopping today. I must have been out of the country for too long to remember this, but as soon as I got near the supermarket, I realized my mistake. The first thing I was able to observe was the sheer number of people, cars, three wheelers, bicycles (and other modes of transportation) which flocked around the shopping center. The next thing that struck me was the noise. I’ve known that people around here like to crank up some music in front of the stores (probably thinking: the louder the noise, the more customers they will draw or something). At this store, however, it wasn’t just one type of music yelling for …

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Culture Week 2011 Day 1: China

The biggest event of the year is here: Culture Week. Every year, for a whole week, our school celebrates the different cultures of the world, and as usual, China makes the start. So, right after lunch I went to check out the square, and look at all the things I found … I have to admit, it still fascinates me to watch Chinese university students get all excited about buying stuff no one really needs, or eating cotton candy, or blowing bubbles, but hey, there’s a child in every one of us, right? By the way, wanna take a look at some real action? Watch this guy: He only needs a couple of seconds for each painting. I guess that’s the way to make money – after all, his paintings sell like hotcakes!

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Mid-Autumn Festival (ZhongQiu Jie)

Like most other traditional holidays in China, the Mid-Autumn Festival has a long history. It is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which in the Gregorian calendar usually is in September or early October. Various legends exist as to the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival, in most of which the moon plays some more or less important part. In modern day China, probably the most important aspect of the Mid-Autumn Festival is the eating of the so-called “mooncakes,” small round pastries decorated with ornaments on the outside and filled with various blends of fruits, nuts and/or beans inside. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a public holiday, which means schools and other public institutions are usually closed.

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Tomb Sweeping Day (Qingming Jie)

The Tomb Sweeping Day is a traditional Chinese festival, which can be traced as far back as more than 2,500 years. On this day, people visit the graves of their ancestors to honor and worship them, to pray before them, to sweep their tombs, and to offer them food, drinks, and other gifts that could be useful in their afterlife. Some people even draw pictures of TVs, cars, houses, in hopes that the deceased would have a more comfortable “life” wherever they are. Money, real or paper, also often is burned at the tomb, as a sacrifice in honor of the ancestors. It is believed that worshiping their ancestors on Tomb Sweeping Day will ensure good luck throughout the year, while not honoring those who have already passed away, can have very unfortunate results. After its re-institution in 2008, the Qingming Festival has become a widespread custom again, and many people of the older generations expect the younger people to follow their example in observing this holiday. Other names for Tomb Sweeping Day are: – …

Tomb Sweeping Holiday

It’s a holiday here in China, and that means no classes today and tomorrow – as the school officially closes for a short vacation. Of course, students (and teachers alike) had to go to class on Saturday to make up for today’s classes, but at least that gives everyone three days in a row without school. The traditional Tomb Sweeping Day (where a large proportion of Chinese worships their ancestors) will take place tomorrow, and it usually is a pretty big deal locally, since our town is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization.