Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 08/16/17

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE ROYAL EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO!



 
 
 
  
    The commentator - the Voice of the Castle - brings the audience together, cheering individually for their countries but united in an international fraternity. The tunes are echoes of a glorious and often tragic past, of freedom and glory and of suffering and loss ... 'The Garb of Old Gaul' and The Skye Boat Song' and the rousing quick marches, 'Dumbarton's Drums' and 'All the Blue Bonnets are over the Border'.
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is the most spectacular show in the world, enjoyed by an international television audience of 100 million. There is, however, no substitute for being there in person as part of the 217,000-strong audience over its three-week season on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle who don't simply watch the show but become a part of it.










   In the glowering twilight, Edinburgh Castle slumbers, resting, waiting for nightfall and for the footlights that will transform it into a dazzling stage set for the world's most spectacular show. Down Castlehill, along the Lawnmarket, around the cathedral church of St Giles, through the closes of the Royal Mile and the narrow streets whose setts ring with history, people gather in the dusk of a late summer evening.
   Turning their faces to the great castle rock, where ancient clans first settled the area, which was to become the capital of Scotland and where now stands Edinburgh's mighty fortress, they join a crowd that will soon be an audience, rapt with enthusiasm for the unique spectacle that is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
   Climbing the final rise towards the Castle Esplanade, walking companionably together, eight and ten abreast, eager old hands who come every year but never lose the thrill of a Tattoo ahead, and new folk, many on holiday from other proud nations a world away, who are about to witness the show they will never forget...









 
   Settling into their seats, the fresh clear air exhilarating, the sky above the Castle deepening first to heather-colors of lilac and purple before darkness slips down and the floodlit castle draws all eyes.
   French shake hands with English, Japanese nod smilingly to Swedish neighbors, native Scots welcome Italians. The Tattoo is family now.
   A hush falls and darkness deepens, the great oak gates of the Castle sweep open and the swell of the pipes and drums cracks through the night sky. As the massed bands march out in their hundreds across the drawbridge, flanked by effigies of William Wallace and Robert The Bruce, emotions run high: this matchless spectacle unfailingly enthralls, symbolizing the Scotland that everyone holds dear in their heart.
   Every Edinburgh Tattoo begins with this vivid and intensely emotional display, and may it always be so. For these are Scotland's finest fighting men (pipers and drummers are soldiers first, musicians second) playing the stirring tunes that over centuries have given courage and inspiration on battlefields in every corner of the globe. Lest we forget, we have our pipes and drums.

 

 
Image result for royal edinburgh military tattoo 2017



   Now a dazzling show is spread out on the Esplanade, a whirling and colorful kaleidoscope of music, dance and display. It may be exciting - daredevil motorcycles at speed and the breathtaking re-enactment of battles, or exotic - Turkish music and Chinese dancers, or simply the best of Scottish - Highland dancers wheeling and swirling to a fiddle orchestra.
   Such is the blend of home and international talent that the show is always fresh, exciting and alive, even for the many faithful fans who 'never miss' a yearly visit to the Tattoo. Over some 60 years of the Tattoo they would have seen performers from more than 40 countries - from Australia to Canada, Africa to Fiji, France to Nepal, The Netherlands to the United States.










   International guest performers bring another dimension to a familiar pageant but it is the pipes and drums, which serve as the emotional core, the heart of the Tattoo which Scots, love fiercely and visitors quickly take to their own hearts.
   And above all else the awesome presence of the Castle, great flaring torches lighting its venerable walls and creating mysterious shadow plays on the honey colored stone.
Now, the audience gather themselves together for the finale. All 1000 or so performers are on the Esplanade, column after column of marchers, dancers, and bandsmen. The audience joins in the great chorus of singing and cheering, and applause and cries of 'Bravo!' before a hush falls for the singing of the Evening Hymn, the sounding of the Last Post and the lowering of the flags.
   And finally, all eyes are drawn to the Castle ramparts, where a single spotlight cues the Lone Piper to play his haunting lament, the high notes echoing across the still night sky and across the dark city, as the flames of the Castle torch lights and the piper's warming brazier flicker and slowly die.










   Fireworks burst out against the black sky, but the spell is not broken for when we sing 'Auld Lang Syne' and shake our neighbor's hand, the emotions linger and the heart is full.
   Tattoo-goers all, united by international friendship, the shared love of a nation, its music and its traditions.

'Will ye no come back again'? says the haunting old song and our answer must be 'oh, yes and very soon'.

Tattoo Fact File




 

 
 
  • The first Edinburgh Tattoo took place in 1950. There were eight items in the program.
  • More than 12 million people have attended the Tattoo. The annual audience is around 217,000.



 

 
 
 
  • Each year 100,000 people visit the Tattoo's new attraction at the top of the Royal Mile. The Spirit of the Tattoo - the compelling story of Edinburgh's Military Tattoo, featuring an interactive exhibition, movie theatre and gift shop.
  • The first commercial twelve inch stereo LP record of the Tattoo was released in 1961.
  • 2009 marked the Tattoo’s eleventh successive sell-out season, generating some £6.2 million in box office receipts.
  • Around 35 miles of cabling (the distance from Edinburgh to Glasgow) is required.
  • The event was first seen in color on TV in 1968.








  • From 1950 to 1991, there were four producers - Lt Col George Malcolm of Poltalloch, Brigadier MacLean, Brigadier Sanderson and Lt Col Dow.
  • Major Michael Parker then took over as producer for the 1992, 1993 and 1994 Tattoos. He was succeeded by Brigadier Melville Jameson in 1995, who in turn was followed by Major General Euan Loudon in March 2007.
  • The first overseas regiment to participate was the Band of the Royal Netherlands Grenadiers. The year was 1952, and there were also performers from Canada and France.
  • The first lone piper was Pipe Major George Stoddart. He played in every performance for the first eleven years. His son, Major Gavin Stoddart, followed his father as lone piper at the Tattoo and became Director of Army Bagpipe Music for 12 years.
  • Hollywood movie producer Mike Todd, the fourth husband of film star Elizabeth Taylor, made a documentary program on the Tattoo in 1950.









  • Not a single performance of the Tattoo has ever been cancelled.
  • The Tattoo is set up and run for charitable purposes. Over the years, it has gifted some £5 million to service and civilian organization,
  • At the last official independent count, visitors to the Tattoo contributed an estimated £88 million to the Scottish economy.
  • The Tattoo has always been staged at Edinburgh Castle. Rehearsals take place at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh.
  • Over 40 countries have been represented at the Tattoo.



     
     

  • The word ‘tattoo’ comes from the closing-time cry in the inns in the Low Countries during the 17th and 18th centuries - ‘Doe den tap toe’ (‘Turn off the taps’).
  • Around 100 million people see the Tattoo each year on international television.
  • Approximately 70 per cent of each audience is from Scotland. Half of these are from overseas.

THE CORN PALACE FESTIVAL FROM MITCHELL, SOUTH DAKOTA!






   The Corn Palace serves as a multi-use center for the community and region. The facility hosts stage shows, as well as sports events in its arena. The World's Only Corn Palace is an outstanding structure which stands as a tribute to the agricultural heritage of South Dakota.
    The original Corn Palace, called "The Corn Belt Exposition" was established in 1892. Early settlers displayed the fruits of their harvest on the building exterior in order to prove the fertility of South Dakota soil. The third and present building was completed for it first festival at the present location in 1921.
   The exterior decorations are completely stripped down and new murals are created each year. The theme is selected by the Corn Palace Festival Committee and murals are designed by a local artist.










Corn Palace History

   The World's Only Corn Palace is Mitchell's premier tourist attraction. Some 500,000 tourists come from around the nation each year to see the uniquely designed corn murals. The city's first Corn Palace was build as a way to prove to the world that South Dakota had a healthy agricultural climate.
   Eight years before the turn of the 20th century -1892- when Mitchell, South Dakota was a small, 12-year-old city of 3,000 inhabitants - the WORLD’S ONLY CORN PALACE was established on the city’s Main Street. During its over 100 years of existence, it has become known worldwide and now attracts more than a half a million visitors annually. The palace was conceived as a gathering place where city residents and their rural neighbors could enjoy a fall festival with extraordinary stage entertainment – a celebration to climax a crop-growing season and harvest. This tradition continues today with the annual Corn Palace Festival, August 26th – August 30th, 2009.





The starting of one of the conr murals





   By 1905 the success of the Corn Palace had been assured and a new Palace was to be built, but this building soon became too small. In 1919, the decision to build a third Corn Palace was made. This one was to be permanent and more purposeful than its predecessors. The present building was completed in 1921, just in time for the Corn Palace Festivities. That winter Mitchell hosted its first boys state basketball tournament. The building was considered to have the finest basketball arena in the upper Midwest area.










   In the 1930’s, steps were taken to recapture the artistic decorative features of the building and minarets and kiosks of Moorish design were added restoring the appearance of early day Corn Palace.
   Today, the Corn Palace is more than the home of the festival or a point of interest of tourists. It is a practical structure adaptable to many purposes. Included among its many uses are industrial exhibits, dances, stage shows, meetings, banquets, proms, graduations arena for Mitchell High School and Dakota Wesleyan University as well as district, regional and state basketball tournaments. USA Today named the Corn Palace one of the top 10 places in America for high school basketball.





Early picture of the inside



 
   The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-place of the world”. We currently use 13 different colors or shades of corn to decorate the Corn Palace: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange, calico, yellow and now we have green corn! A different theme is chosen each year, and murals are designed to reflect that theme. Ear by ear the corn is nailed to the Corn Palace to create a scene. The decorating process usually starts in late May with the removal of the rye and dock. The corn murals are stripped at the end of August and the new ones are completed by the first of October.
   Cherie Ramsdell is the current panel designer. Our current theme is entitled "America's Destinations". The Corn Palace is known around the world as a folk-art wonder on the prairie of South Dakota.




Inside as it looks today




Corn Palace Murals and Panels

   This annual redecorating process began on Monday, June 8 as 16 decorators started removing the dock and rye and began replacing those items. The Corn Mural will remain intact until the annual Corn Palace Festival at which time the new mural drawings will be placed on the Corn Palace. The process should be completed about mid-October.











   "Through the Ages" has been selected as the theme for this year's decorating process by the Corn Palace Festival Committee. "As people travel across this country to see these murals on Mitchell's Corn Palace, the Festival Committee felt this theme depicting various modes of transportation would be interesting to all ages as we think about how travel has changed "Through the Ages", said Corn Palace Director Mark A. Schilling.










   One unique insignia is the Boy Scout 100-Year Anniversary Logo found in the picture of the canoe. The Boy Scouts will be celebrating 100 years in 2010 when the corn mural will appear on the Corn Palace.
   The Corn Palace Festival Committee has chosen the following objects to be shown on the panels depicting various modes of transportation such as an airplane, a segway, a sailboat, a bike, a motorcycle, a canoe with Boy Scout logo, a hot air balloon, a snowmobile, a stagecoach, a four-wheeler, a car, and a train.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is inside the Corn Palace?
   Inside the Corn Palace are pictures from almost all of the prior years the Corn Palace has been decorated. A new Corn Palace Video explains the story of the Corn Palace. So come and Experience It! 


Mural in the works



2. How often do they change the pictures on the outside of the building?
   Each year we redecorate the Corn Palace selecting a new theme and new designs.
3. How much corn is used?
   Over 275,000 ears of corn are used in redecoating the Corn Palace








4. How do they color the corn?
   All the colors of corn are naturally grown with special seed raised just for the Corn Palace. Each color must be planted in separate fields to maintain its pure color.
5. How do they pick the theme each year?
   The Corn Palace Festival Committee selects the theme each year. If you have an idea, share it with them by e-mailing mschilling@cornpalace.com
 



AOBON FROM OKINAWA, JAPAN!!






   Obon or just Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.
   The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however its starting date varies within different regions of Japan. When the lunar calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, the localities in Japan reacted differently and this resulted in three different times of Obon. "Shichigatsu Bon" (Bon in July) is based on the solar calendar and is celebrated around 15 July in eastern Japan (Kantō: areas such as Tokyo, Yokohama and the Tohoku region), coinciding with Chūgen.










  "Hachigatsu Bon" (Bon in August) is based on the solar calendar, is celebrated around the 15th of August and is the most commonly celebrated time. "Kyu Bon" (Old Bon) is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and so differs each year. "Kyu Bon" is celebrated in areas like the northern part of the Kantō region, Chūgoku, Shikoku, and the Southwestern islands. These three days are not listed as public holidays but it is customary that people are given leave.

Origin

   Obon is a shortened form of Ullambana. It is Sanskrit for "hanging upside down" and implies great suffering.  The Japanese believe they should ameliorate the suffering of the "Urabanna".
Bon Odori originates from the story of Maha Maudgalyayana (Mokuren), a disciple of the Buddha, who used his supernatural powers to look upon his deceased mother. He discovered she had fallen into the Realm of Hungry Ghosts and was suffering.  Greatly disturbed, he went to the Buddha and asked how he could release his mother from this realm. Buddha instructed him to make offerings to the many Buddhist monks who had just completed their summer retreat, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. The disciple did this and, thus, saw his mother's release. He also began to see the true nature










 of her past unselfishness and the many sacrifices that she had made for him. The disciple, happy because of his mother's release and grateful for his mother's kindness, danced with joy. From this dance of joy comes Bon Odori or "Bon Dance", a time in which ancestors and their sacrifices are remembered and appreciated. See also: Ullambana Sutra.
   As Obon occurs in the heat of the summer, participants traditionally wear yukata, or light cotton kimonos. Many Obon celebrations include a huge carnival with rides, games, and summer festival food like watermelon.
   The festival ends with Toro Nagashi, or the floating of lanterns. Paper lanterns are illuminated and then floated down rivers symbolically signaling the ancestral spirits' return to the world of the dead. This ceremony usually culminates in a fireworks display.









Bon Odori

   Bon Odori, meaning simply Bon dance is a style of dancing performed during Obon. Originally a Nenbutsu folk dance to welcome the spirits of the dead, the style of celebration varies in many aspects from region to region. Each region has a local dance, as well as different music. The music can be songs specifically pertinent to the spiritual message of Obon, or local min'yo folk songs. Consequently, the Bon dance will look and sound different from region to region. Hokkaidō is known for a folk-song known as "Soran Bushi." The song "Tokyo Ondo" takes its namesake from the capital of Japan. "Gujo Odori" in Gujō, Gifu prefecture is famous for all night dancing. "Goshu Ondo" is a folk song from Shiga prefecture. Residents of the Kansai area will recognize the famous "Kawachi ondo." Tokushima in Shikoku is very famous for its "Awa Odori," or "fool's dance," and in the far south, one can hear the "Ohara Bushi" of Kagoshima.










   The way in which the dance is performed is also different in each region, though the typical Bon dance involves people lining up in a circle around a high wooden scaffold made especially for the festival called a 'yagura'. The yagura is usually also the bandstand for the musicians and singers of the Obon music. Some dances proceed clockwise, and some dances proceed counter-clockwise around the yagura. Some dances reverse during the dance, though most do not. At times, people face the yagura and move towards and away from it. Still some dances, such as the Kagoshima Ohara dance, and the Tokushima Awa Odori, simply proceed in a straight line through the streets of the town.










   The dance of a region can depict the area's history and specialization. For example, the movements of the dance of the Tankō Bushi (the "coal mining song") of old Miike Mine in Kyūshū show the movements of miners, i.e. digging, cart pushing, lantern hanging, etc. All dancers perform the same dance sequence in unison.
There are other ways in which a regional Bon dance can vary. Some dances involve the use of different kinds of fans, others involve the use of small towels called tenugui which may have colorful designs. Some require the use of small wooden clappers, or "kachi-kachi" during the dance. The "Hanagasa Odori" of Yamagata is performed with a straw hat that has been decorated with flowers.










   The music that is played during the Bon dance is not limited to Obon music and min'yo; some modern enka hits and kids' tunes written to the beat of the "ondo" are also used to dance to during Obon season. The "Pokémon Ondo" was used as one of the ending theme songs for the anime series in Japan.
   The Bon dance tradition is said to have started in the later years of the Muromachi period as a public entertainment. In the course of time, the original religious meaning has faded, and the dance has become associated with summer.
  To celebrate O-Bon in Okinawa, the eisa drum dance is performed instead.










Celebrations outside Japan

Argentina

   In Argentina, the Bon Festival is celebrated by Japanese communities during the summer of the southern hemisphere. The biggest festival is held in Colonia Urquiza, in La Plata Partido. It takes place on the sports ground of the La Plata Japanese School. The festival also includes taiko shows and typical dances.

 Brazil

   Bon Odori Festival is celebrated every year in many Japanese communities all over Brazil, as Brazil is home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. São Paulo is the main city of the Japanese community in Brazil, and also features the major festival in Brazil, with street odori dancing and matsuri dance. It also features Taiko and Shamisen contests. And, of course, this festival is also a unique experience of a variety of Japanese food & drinks, art and dance.









Malaysia

   In Malaysia, Bon Odori Festivals are also celebrated every year in Penang and at the Matsushita Corp Stadium in Shah Alam, Selangor. This celebration, which is a major attraction for the state of Selangor, is the brain child of the Japanese Expatriate & Immigrant's Society in Malaysia. In comparison to the celebrations in Japan, the festival is celebrated on a much smaller scale in Penang and Selangor, and is less associated with Buddhism and more with Japanese culture. Held mainly to expose locals to a part of Japanese culture, the festival provides the experience of a variety of Japanese food and drinks, art and dance.

United States and Canada

   The "Bon season" is an important part of the present-day culture and life of Hawaii. Bon Odori festivals are also celebrated in North America, particularly by Japanese-Americans or Japanese-Canadians affiliated with Buddhist temples and organizations. Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) temples in the U.S. typically celebrate Bon Odori with both religious Obon observances and traditional Bon Odori dancing around a yagura. Many temples also concurrently hold a cultural and food bazaar providing a variety of cuisine and art, also to display features of Japanese culture and Japanese-American history.  Performances of taiko by both amateur and professional groups have










 recently become a popular feature of Bon Odori festivals.   Bon Odori festivals are usually scheduled anytime between July and September. Bon Odori melodies are also similar to those in Japan; for example, the dance Tankō Bushi from Kyūshū is also performed in the U.S. In California, due to the diffusion of Japanese immigration, Bon Odori dances also differ from Northern to Southern California, and some are influenced by American culture, such as "Baseball Ondo".