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SAPPORO SNOW FESTIVAL FROM JAPAN!!!

 The Sapporo Snow Festival is a famous festival held annually in Sapporo, Japan, over 7 days in February.  Currently, Odori Park, Susukino, and Tsudome are the main sites of the festival.  The 2011 Yuki-matsuri dates are February 7th to the 13th.
   The festival is one of Japan's largest and most distinctive winter events.  In 2007, about 2 million people visited Sapporo to see the hundreds of snow statues and ice sculptures at the Odori Park and Suskino sites, in central Sapporo, and the Satoland site.  The festival is thought to be an opportunity for promoting international relations. The International Snow Sculpture Contest has been held at the Odori Park sit since 1974, and teams from various regions of the world participate.










   The subject of the statues varies and often features as event, famous building or person from the previous yer.  For example, in 2004, there were statues of Hideki Matsui, the famous baseball player who at that time played for the New York Yankees.  A…
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CARNIVAL IN COLOGNE!!!!

Carnival in Cologne is almost as old as the history of the city itself.  But the organized carnival celebrated today only dates back 178 years.
   The Greeks and Romans celebrated cheerful spring festivals in honor of Dionysos and Saturn with wine, women and song.  The ancient Germans celebrated the winter solstice as a homage to the Gods and expulsion of the evil winter demons.  Later the Christians adopted the heathen customs.  The period of fasting (Lent) prior to Easter was heralded in by "Fastnacht" or "Karnival"...carne vale = Farewell to meat!









   In the Middle Ages, the celebration of Carnival, the masquerade, often took on drastic forms, very much to the displeasure of the city council and the church.  Bans and ordinances did little to help, the celebration was wild and spirited.
   The boisterous street carnival was extended in the 18th century to include the so called "Redouten", elegant masked and fancy dress balls in Venetian style, which wer…

SCOPPIO DEL CARRO FROM ITALY!!!

The Scoppio del Carro ("Explosion of the Cart") is a folk tradition of Florence, Italy.  On Easter Sunday, a cart, packed full of fireworks and other pyrotechnics, is lit and provides a historic spectacle in the civic life of the city.

A Little History on the Festival

   The event of the Scoppio del Carro has its origins in the First Crusade, when Europeans laid siege to the city of Jerusalem in a conflict to claim Palestine for Christianity.  In 1097, Pazzino de' Pazzi, a Florentine from a very prominent family, was by tradition, the first man to scale the fortified walls that surrounded Jerusalem.  As a reward for this act of bravery, his commander gave him three flints (fire starters) from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which were then carried back to Tuscany.  These were and still are kept in the Chiesa delgli Santi Apostoli.









   It became the practice for a "holy fire" to be struck from these flints at Easter tide, which was then carried throughout the…

MOORS AND CHRISTIANS FESTIVAL!!!

Moros y Cristianos or Moros i Cristians, literally in English is Moors and Christians, is a set of festival activities which are celebrated in many towns and cities of Spain, mainly in the southern Valencian Community; according to popular tradition the festivals commemorate the battles, combats and fights between Moors (or Muslims) and Christians during the period known as Reconquista (from the 8th century through the 15th century).









    The festivals represent the capture of the city by the Moors and the subsequent Christian reconquest.  The people that take part in the festival are usually enlisted in filaes or comparsas (companies that represent the Christian or Moor legions), they parade with bombastic costumes loosely inspired by Medieval fashion.  Christians wear fur, metallic helmets, and armor, fire loud arquebuses (guns or cannons), and ride horses.  In contrast, Moors wear ancient Arab costumes, carry scimitars (swords or spears), and ride real camels or elephants.  The fest…

THE CARNEVALE DI VIAREGGIO FROM ITALY!!!

The Viareggio Carnival was established in 1873 when some of the local "signori" decided to organize a Sunday a little different from the rest, by inventing a procession of decorated floats which travelled up and down the main street of the city. On the occasion , a masked protest was also organized by a number of citizens, as they were forced to pay too many taxes and as a result the chief tax collector was certainly made fun of!! The parade was liked alot, not only by the patrons but also by the citizens and the idea of making floats that interpreted humor and dissatisfaction of the people and the events that came about in that year.
   Carnival of Viareggio celebrating 139 years of life and activity under the sign of a vivid tradition such as the long – established European tradition of Carnival festivals, is no doubt one of the best known events in Italy.
    Carnival of Viareggio since it was born it has been acquiring a strong touristic value and attracts every yea…

5 CATEGORIES OF TASTY CHOCOLATE TREATS TO DIE FOR!!

I know there are thousands, if not millions of chocolate lovers out there. I happen to be one of those people and have tried several different chocolate treats in my lifetime. So what do I consider to be the top chocolate treats? I find that there are several different chocolate treat categories and there are treats in each category that are better than the rest. This article will stick to foods you can buy in almost any grocery store. These chocolate treats are low in price but high in taste.










Candy bars

   We've all tried several varieties of this chocolate treat, but which ones are the best? Throughout my life, my tastes have changed and I've had several different favorites. My favorites lean now to either the milky way bar , with it's chocolate and caramel, or a nice big snickers bar, with the chocolate and caramel and a little dose of peanuts to go with it.








Ice Cream

   Let's face it, just plain old chocolate ice cream is wonderful. It's right up there with …

MARDI GRAS FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA!!!

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to Medieval Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today....with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands....are traced to New Orleans.
    Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian expolorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras". He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.










    In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile)....similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boef Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was …