Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 02/18/13

Monday, February 18, 2013

THE TAIWAN LANTERN FESTIVAL!!!










    The 15th day of the first lunar month each year, known as "Yuan Xiao", it is one of the three major traditional festivals in Taiwan.  It is also the first festival celebration after the start of the Lunar New Year.  Special events include the Taiwan Lantern Festival, Pingxi Heavenly Lanterns, Taitung Bombing of the god Handan, the Beehive Rockets of Yanshui, the Taipei Lantern Festival, and traditional celebratory temple rituals.
   Since 1990, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has organized the Taiwan Lantern Festival, and this year, the the festival enters its 22nd year.






Year of the Rabbit Lantern





   The centerpiece of the event is a giant themed lantern modeled on the Chinese zodiacal animal of the year, accompanied by subsidiary lanterns and special lantern areas such as the Hope & Wishes lantern section, the Fun Filled lantern section and many others, all of which successfully display the art of lantern making.  During the official opening ceremony, performing groups from Taiwan and overseas enliven the festivities, making this an event you don't want to miss.












History

   Starting in 1990, the Tourism Bureau integrated civilian and local governmental resources to conduct the event to celebrate the Lantern Festival (15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar).  The purpose of the festival is to spread the traditional folklore of the festival.











   The firecrackers ceremony of the Wumiao Temple in Yenshui Township was held by ancient people in order to show respect for the exploits of Guan Yu.  Fengpao, is the ceremony to start the burning of thousands of firecrackers hung on  15 to 75 foot high wooden stands.  This ceremony starts from 6 p.m., and goes on until 5 the next morning.  Thousands of visitors attend the ceremony.

TOP SELLING CANDIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD!


  You wouldn't wear the same food costume every Halloween — so why trick-or-treat with the same candy? This year, try something new. If you're already well-versed in the categories of movie treats and nostalgic candies, then consider serving various candies from around the world. Need a bit of an education in global candy culture? Then test your knowledge of the world's candies and check out some of our favorites here.



Bounty, United Kingdom

Bounty, United Kingdom

   Mounds lovers will appreciate Bounty, a coconut-filled bar enrobed with milk chocolate.



Botan Rice Candy, Japan

Botan Rice Candy, Japan

   Even if you've never been to Japan, you may have come across Botan Rice Candy in Asian supermarkets. Botan, which means "peony," is a prominent brand in Japan and makes a sticky rice candy with a slightly citrusy flavor.



ToffeeCrisp, United Kingdom

ToffeeCrisp, United Kingdom

   NestlĂ© makes a number of chocolate bars in Europe that aren't readily available in the United States. One of them is ToffeeCrisp, a staple in the United Kingdom. The long, slender milk chocolate bar is filled with crackling puffed rice and caramel. Its motto? "Somebody, somewhere, is eating a ToffeeCrisp."



Cheong Woo, Korea

Cheong Woo, Korea

   Leave it to South Korea to come up with pumpkin candy — a mellow, slightly salty candy with a prominent squash-like flavor and the texture of Starburst. If you can track it down, it's perfect for this time of year.



Kinder Country, Germany

Kinder Country, Germany

   I wasn't sure what to make of Kinder Country, which was described on the wrapper as "milk chocolate with rich milk filling." It was unlike anything I'd ever had in the States: a creamy, milky white center, made crunchy with puffed rice and then doused in milk chocolate.



Lion, United Kingdom

Lion, United Kingdom

   I was really happy to bite into a Lion Bar, another chocolate confection that hails from the UK. It was similar to a ToffeeCrisp, with caramel, crisp cereal, and a wafer enrobed in milk chocolate and reminded me of an even heartier 100 Grand. This lion was one of my top candy picks and definitely made me roar.



Baci, Italy

Baci, Italy

   Hershey's isn't the only one with kisses — Italy has its own version, Perugina's Baci. These chocolate bonbons are filled with hazelnut chocolate cream, topped with a whole hazelnut, and wrapped in a love note.



Peko Milky Candy, Japan

Peko Milky Candy, Japan

   Peko-chan Milk Candy is commonplace among children in Japan. The individually-wrapped candies are firm yet chewy and have a distinctive sweet milk flavor.



Yorkie, United Kingdom

Yorkie, United Kingdom

   The Yorkie bar — originally titled so because it was made by Rowntrees of York — was created in the 1970s as a larger chocolate bar alternative to Cadbury's Dairy-Milk. To this day, the chocolate stays true to its original branding with the slogan, "It's not for girls!"



Chimes Mango Ginger Chews, Indonesia

Chimes Mango Ginger Chews, Indonesia

   I'd never heard of Chimes Mango Ginger Chews before, but these individually-wrapped Indonesian ginger candies in the quaint tin turned out to be my favorite. They had a latent heat and spiciness to them, thanks to ginger that's grown on volcanic soil in East Java.



10 THINGS YOU PROBABLY DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE ROCKEFELLER CENTER CHRISTMAS TREE!








1. The First Tree

   The first tree debuted at Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve, 1931. The tree, erected by construction workers eager to receive a day’s pay in the depths of the Depression, stood only 20 ft. tall — a quarter of the size of this year’s holiday specimen.






  Here's a look at some of the 79-year-old tradition’s most historic moments:


2. The $1.5 Million Star

    In 1931, tin cans and scrap paper were used to adorn the tree — appropriate decorations for Depression-era America. Then came garlands and glass. Colored lights and ornaments in the shape of dogs and sailboats made their appearance in 1934. A 4-ft. plastic star, a white spray-painted tree and 10-ft.-long aluminum icicles were staples of the 1950s. The 1990s took it up a notch with a gold-leaf star. But that was nothing compared to the 550-lb. Swarovski star unveiled in 2009. Created specifically for the tree and standing 10 ft. tall, the estimated $1.5 million star is made of 25,000 crystals and 1 million facets.






3. The Tree Goes Black

   One of the most spectacular features of the tree every year is its nighttime glow. But in 1944, the Christmas trees (yes, three trees, in fact) remained unlit. The backstory is that two years earlier, Rockefeller Center unveiled three small trees dedicated to the U.S. effort in World War II — each one either red, white or blue. The patriotic trees were replanted over the next couple of years, but in 1944, in line with wartime blackout regulations, the trees stayed dark. When the war ended in 1945, the organizers made up for lost time and used six ultraviolet-light projectors to make all 700 fluorescent globes on that year’s tree appear to glow in the dark.






4. A Television Debut

   In 1951, the tree made its first appearance on television when the lighting ceremony was shown on The Kate Smith Show. Two years later, it became a special each year on The Howdy Doody Show until 1955. With the tree’s appearance on television, the 1950s also saw the emergence of more and more elaborate decorations. In 1953, 6,000 icicle lights and giant floodlights illuminated the tree, and just a year later, white angel trumpeters were added.






5. The Search for the Perfect Tree

   On several occasions, the tree has been donated to Rockefeller Center. In 1956, for example, a New Hampshire man gave a white spruce to New York’s governor, who handed it over to the tree’s organizers. Ten years later, the nation of Canada decided to give over one of their trees. But most of the time, it has been purposefully sought out. For a long while, David Murbach, who was the center’s garden manager before he passed away late last year, used to rent a car and take scenic drives through New England in order to find the finest specimen. More recently, though, Rockefeller Center’s crew has taken a helicopter into New England to locate the perfect tree from aloft.






6. Tree Climbing

   Most Rockefeller Center trees endure a largely uneventful Christmas season. Admired from afar, they sometimes serve as the backdrop for tourists’ photos, but that’s pretty much it. However, in 1979 the Rockefeller tree became part of a political protest when a 27-year-old man scaled it and began shouting “Free the 50!” — referring to the Americans who were then being held hostage (see photo) at the U.S. embassy in Iran. He came down when police officers pointed out that climbing a Christmas tree would not help free the hostages. Another man tried to climb the tree in 1980, but he offered no motive for his actions. Apparently he just thought it would be fun.






7. Taking the Trees into the City

   Because they’re so big — and New York City so traffic-jammed — the Rockefeller Center Christmas trees travel into the city at night, when fewer cars are on the road. Each tree’s uppermost branches are decorated before it is raised into a standing position. And the tree doesn’t require watering: because it’s outside, the behemoth doesn’t dry out the way that smaller indoor Christmas trees do.





8. The Tallest Tree

   These days, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree usually stands no less than 65 ft. tall (this year it’s 74 ft. tall). The 1999 display boasted the tallest tree, a Norway spruce that stood over 100 ft. tall. Because the tree must maneuver through narrow city streets, it most likely won’t ever be much larger than that. The Norway spruce has been New York City’s tree of choice since 1982.






9. Going Greener

   You wouldn’t think that a tree could go more green than it already is. But with environmental concerns gaining traction in the 1960s and 1970s, Rockefeller Center began recycling its tree after Christmas. In 1971, it turned the tree into 30 three-bushel bags of mulch for nature trails in upper Manhattan. In 2005, Habitat for Humanity used wood from that year’s tree to make door frames for its homes. By 2007, the tree’s organizers had switched to all energy-saving LED lights, some 30,000 of them. The new bulbs used 1,200 kilowatt hours less electricity per day — enough to power a 2,000 sq.-ft. home for an entire month.






10. The Newest One

   The 2010 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree stands 74 ft. tall and weighs 12 tons. Before this holiday season, it lived in Mahopac, N.Y. — in the side yard of New York City firefighter Peter Acton, who said he was sorry to see his beloved evergreen go.