Category Archives: Culture, History

THE YEAR OF THE SNAKE (AKA THE YEAR OF THE JUNIOR DRAGON)

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2013 is the Year of the Snake, which begins on February 10, 2013 and ends on January 30, 2014.  The Snake, also called the Junior Dragon,  is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs.  It is the enigmatic,  intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs.  Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.  People born in the Year of the Snake are keen and cunning, quite intelligent and wise.  They are great mediators and good at doing business.  Therefore, you should have good luck if you were born in the  Year of the Snake. 

This is a year of  water Snake, and all things will be possible.  Saving money and being thrifty should be your top priorities.  Delusion and deception are common in the year of water Snake.  Stay alert!  To gain the greatest benefits from this year, you must control spending and use your talents wisely.  If you are planning to get married or to begin a business partnership, be sure to thoroughly investigate the other person’s finances and background before you legalize the alliance.

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 The Sign of the Snake

People born in the Year of the Snake share certain characteristics:  Acute, aware, charming, cunning, elegant, mysterious, passionate, proud, serene, and vain. They are attractive people who take cries with ease and do not become flustered easily.  They are graceful people, exciting and dark at the same time.  They enjoy reading, listening to great music, tasting delicious food, and going to the theater.  They are fascinated with all beautiful things in life.  Many of the most beautiful ladies and men with strongest personalities were born in the Year of the Snake.

Contemplative and private, Snake people are not outwardly emotional.  They usually act according to their own judgment and do not follow the views of others. They can appear cunning and reticent and work very modestly in the business environment.  They will plot and scheme to make certain things turn out exactly as they want them to.  They are not great communicators and can become quite possessive when they set their minds on achieving the interest of a partner.

Snake people become easily stressed and have to avoid hectic schedules or noisy atmospheres.  They need calm and quiet to thrive and succeed.  They must have sleep, relaxation, and peace  to live a long, healthy life.

People born in the Year of the Snake are usually very sophisticated and cultured in their choices for home decoration.  They are elegant and graceful and place emphasis on their comfort when deciding what to decorate with.  They are materialistic and need to have as many of everything as possible.

They become bored easily and therefore change jobs quite frequently.  They are very conscientious and diligent at work.  They are organized and precise, cautious and alert when doing business.  They act confidently, calmly and have a strong sense of responsibility and clear goals. Sometimes, because they like to work alone, they can seem as though they are withholding information or being secretive about some important things.

Snake people are oversuspicious, which is their nature.  They hide their suspicion, and acting as if nothing is on their minds.  They like to think deeply, plan carefully and make a systematic and appropriate exposition of their views. They like to follow the fashion and be properly dressed. And, they usually speak with great care.

Snake people are passionate lovers and show a strong desire for control when associating with others.  They will never forgive anyone who breaks a promise.  They show their resentment with ice-cold hostility instead of bitter words.  Some of the people born in the Year of the Snake may strike their enemies with a deadly blow.

It seems not easy to deal with a person born in the Year of the Snake, especially when he thinks one way and behaves in another.  There always lies an alert heart behind his serene appearance.  He has a strong will and will try his best to hold fast to his position.  He is so cunning that when you think you may have seized him, he has already slipped away.

Snake people will face danger fearlessly and deal with unforeseen disasters. They are not annoyed by lack of money and are usually lucky enough to own everything they need.  They can be successful as long as they avoid excess spending.  Although they are intuitive, they should avoid dive right into decisions without weighing the consequences.

Where did the turkey get its name?

Have you ever wondered what Turkey (the country in the Middle East) and the American bird have in common?  A case of mistaken identity resulted in the American Turkey being named after the country.  When the Spanish first found the bird in the Americas more than 400 years ago they brought it back to Europe. The English mistakenly thought it was a bird they called a “turkey” so they gave it the same name. This other bird was actually from Africa, but came to England by way of the Turkey (lots of shipping went through Turkey at the time). The name stuck even when they realized the birds weren’t the same.

Turkey Terms

Caruncle – brightly colored growths on the throat region.  Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

Gizzard – a part of a bird’s stomach that contains tiny stones.  It helps them grind up food for digestion.

Hen – a female turkey.

Poult – a baby turkey.  A chick.

Snood – the flap of skin that hangs over the turkey’s beak.  Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

Tom – a male turkey.  Also known as a gobbler.

Wattle – the flap of skin under the turkey’s chin. Turns bright red when the turkey is upset or during courtship.

More interesting facts about Turkey the bird can be found at http://www.kidzone.ws/animals/turkey.htm

Acrobats Show of China

On Friday, there was an acrobats
show, and they are The National Acrobats of China! There were yo-yos, and really cool
everybody-stand-on-a-bike-and-cover-the-bicyclist’s- face act, and juggling act
with 10 balls, but my favorite part was the amateur swan lake! There was this
really big clumsy guy dressed as the swan, and another guy in the suit. They
keep falling over on each other on purpose of course. Then the swan is so heavy
that the guy in the suit faint. The swan is about to do another leap when he
finds that the guy in the suit fainted! The swan tells him to come up, but
doesn’t, and realizes that he has fainted. The swan runs over, and tries to do
CPR on him, and it doesn’t work. The swan puckers up his lips, get ready to do
mouth-to-mouth resurrection, and the guy in the suit gets up and slaps the swans
face and runs away! 

Check out the awesome pictures on this website!

 http://www.cami.com/?webid=1928

Mid-Autumn Moon Cake Recipes

 

Makes 2 dozen
1 can (17-1/2 ounces) lotus seed paste
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Dough
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2-cup non-fat dried milk powder
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup sugar 1/2 cup solid shortening, melted and cooled
1 egg yolk , lightly beaten

1. Mix lotus seed paste and walnuts together in a bowl; set aside.

2. Sift flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs on medium speed until light and lemon colored. Add sugar; beat for 10 minutes or until mixture falls in a thick ribbon. Add melted shortening; mix lightly. With a spatula, fold in flour mixture. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board; knead for 1 minute or until smooth and satiny. Divide dough in half; roll each half into a log. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces.

3. To shape each moon cake, roll a piece of dough into a ball. Roll out on a lightly floured board to make a 4-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Place 1 tablespoon of lotus seed paste mixture in center of dough circle. Fold in sides of dough to completely enclose filling; press edges to seal. Lightly flour inside of moon cake press with 2-1/2 inch diameter cups. Place moon cake, seam side up, in mold; flatten dough to conform to shape of mold. Bang one end of mold lightly on work surface to dislodge moon cake. Place cake on ungreased baking sheet. Repeat to shape remaining cakes. Brush tops with egg yolk.

4. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool.

 

The Legend of the Moon Festival 嫦娥奔月

Originally named the Mid-Autumn Festival, the Moon Festival is one of the most important holidays celebrated by Chinese communities around the world.

Traditionally, it is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month in observance of the bountiful Autumn harvest. Although old rituals are no longer followed, families continue to gather for a day to relax and eat moon cakes. Upon this occasion, the legend of the Moon Goddess, CHANG-O, is often told to children.


Once upon a time there was a famous archer, Hou Yi, who with his arrows was able to slay mankind’s worst enemies, ferocious beasts that inhabited the earth. Yi was married to Chang-O, a beautiful but inquisitive woman who had been an attendant of the queen mother of the west before her marriage. Now at this time, there were 10 suns that took turns circling the earth-one every 10 days. One day, all 10 of the orbs circled, together, causing the earth’s surface to burn and threatening mankind. The wise emperor of China summoned Yi and commanded him to kill but one of the suns. This Yi proceeded to do. Upon the completion of his task, Yi was rewarded with a pill, the elixir of life, and advised: “make no haste to swallow this pill, but first prepare yourself with prayer and fasting for a year.” Being a wise man, Yi took the pill home and hid it under a rafter while he began healing his spirit, In the midst of this, Yi was summoned again by the emperor.

While her husband was gone, Chang-O noticed a beam of white light beckoning from the rafter. She followed it and a fragrant perfume, discovered the pill and swallowed it. Immediately, Chang-O found she could fly. Just at that moment her husband returned home, realize what had happened and began to reprimand his wife. Chang-O flew out the window into the sky. Yi sped after her, bow in hand, and the pursuit continued halfway across the heavens. Finally, Yi had to return to the earth because of the force of  the wind.

His wife reached the moon and there, breathless, she coughed and part of the pill fell from her mouth. Now, the hare was already on the moon and Chang-O commanded the animal to take pestle and mortar and pound another pill so that she return to earth and her husband. The hare is still pounding.

As for Yi, he built himself a palace in the sun as Yang (the sun and the male principle), Chang-O as Yin (the moon and the female principle).

Once a year, on the 15th day of the full moon, Yi visits his wife. That is why the moon is full and beautiful on that night.

Story by Thomas W. Chinn, Historian  http://blog.chinesehour.com/?p=408

The Periodic Table of Elements

The Table of elements was started by Johann Dodereiner, a German chemist. He made the Law of Triads. The Law of Triads is when you add the atomic weight of elements that are similar and will add up to the third. This was the first try to group elements. 

In 1862, Alexandre Beguyer de Chancourtois, a French geologist, published the first table. The table had columns around the circumference of a cylinder.

In 1863, John Newlands, an English chemist, published the table with elements in the order of increasing atomic weight but because he didn’t allow space for new elements it was criticized.  

In 1864, Lothar Meyer published a table that described how the elements were placed. He grouped them by their properties. This was the first time someone tried to group the elements by the properties.

After five years, Dmitri Mendeleev challenged himself to rearrange the Table of Elements. He arranged them by the atomic weight and properties. He left several spaces for new elements.

Later on in 1913, Henry Moseley used the X-ray and found that the wavelength of X-radiation of the element decreased with increasing atomic weight, because of the he assigned a new set of numbers to the elements. The new set of numbers is called atomic number. The atomic number is the number of protons or positive charges, contained in the atomic nucleus. There are also electrons which are the negative charge, it is the neutral atom. To find the number of electrons you have to take the atomic weight and subtract it from the atomic number. Now there are many different types of periodic tables such as the cylinder, spiral and much more!

The Periodic Table- powerpoint

Just a little writing project I had to do at school.

What do you know about “Memorial Day”?

Memorial Day 2011 is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 30 in 2011). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War. It was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars.

Memorial Day often marks the start of the summer vacation season, and Labor Day its end.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family get-togethers, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day 2011 is on 30th May in 2011.

Ten Best Mannered People of 2010

Ten Best Mannered People of 2010

(Source: http://www.nljc.com/bestmannered.htm)

1. Drew Brees – for being positive example and helping New Orleans rebuild.
2. Justin Bieber – for consistently showing courtesy to his fans.
3. Kate Middleton – for the poise and dignity with which she conducts herself in the public spotlight.
4. Jamie McMurray – for the respect he has earned as a NASCAR driver.
5. Elizabeth Edwards – for the grace she displayed in facing life’s greatest challenges.
6. Chilean Miners – for demonstrating optimism under pressure during their struggle for survival.
7. Taylor Swift – for inspiring young people with her music and manners.
8. Sandra Bullock – for setting high standards of excellence as an actress
9. Robin Roberts – for extending warmth and kindness to “Good Morning America” guests.
10. Bill and Melinda Gates – for their example of generosity to those less fortunate

Check out this local Chinese Cultural Summer Camp!

 

http://www.ccconn.com/subpages/summbercamp_2011.html 

“This summer, Chinese Culture Connection, LLC will have a five-day Chinese language based summer camp. The purpose is to provide a Chinese language speaking environment to strengthen students’ listening and speaking skills while they are exploring Chinese culture through our cultural lessons and activities. The cultural lessons and activities will include Chinese etiquette, Drama, Brush Painting, Calligraphy, Kong Fu, Folk Dance, Chinese Chess, Chinese songs, Chinese craft making and traditional Chinese games. We will have a few camp instructors directly invited from China. They are excellent teachers selected by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council. If you are looking for improvement in Chinese and enrichment for your child(ren), please join us. “

Chinese New Year Celebration Art Contest Result

The voting has ended. Thanks to all of you who voted.  Please view the voting result at the bottom of the Voting Box.
 
 
Diamond’s art got the most votes. Congratulations!  

Vote For Ebony’s Art – Happy Rabbit Year!

I took this picture in the Nelson Atkins Art Museum’s 2011 Chinese New Year’s Celebration event.  Inside the building, right when you walk in, the hall was decorated with lots of lanterns that spread the festive spirit of the holiday.

I am not a very good photographer, but do you like it?

Chinese New Year Pic #2

I hope it is ok to post a second entry. If I can’t I would like to use my first picture for the contest.

Happy, happy, Rabbit!

Happy Rabbit Year

How many rabbits do you see in the picture? There are two rice cakes(front and back). Rice cake is called “Nian Gao” or “Nian Nian Gao” which rhymes with another phrase “Nian Nian Gao” in Chinese, meaning higher and higher, year after year.  In other words, it means increasing goodness in one’s life. It is a tradition to eat Nian Gao with other delicious dishes on Chinese New Year Eve which symbolizes advancement, wealth and good luck.  Wishes to all shiny gems Nian Nian Gao. If you like the picture, please vote for us. Thanks.

Chinese New Year Pic

Sorry if you can’t see the details. I can bring it to the next writing  workshop if you want me to.

Vote for me (Blue Spinel) – Happy Rabbit Year!

My picture that I created.

VOTE FOR ME! Happy Chinese New Year!!!

This is the picture I drew.

Who had fun at the Chinese New Year’s celebration?

It all started relaxed and friendly.

Watch closely of every move ...

 

It's your turn, buddy!

Let's count the captured pieces.

You better move fast or give it up, buddy, 'cause I want to go find my friends!