Quantcast
DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/27/18

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

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 number of stages made out of snow are also constructed and made out of snow are also constructed and some events including musical performance are held.  At the Satoland site, visitors can enjoy long snow and ice slides as well as a huge maze made of snow.  Visitors can also enjoy a variety of regional foods from all over Hokkaido at the Odori Park and Satoland sites, such as fresh seafood, potatoes and corn, and fresh dairy products.










   Every year the number of statues displayed is around 400.  In 2007, there were 307 statues created in the Odori Park site, 32 in the Satoland site and 100 i the Susino site.  The best place to view the creations is from the TV tower at Odori Park.  Most of the statues are illuminated in the evening.  The Sapporo Snow Festival Museum is located in the Hitsujigaoka observation hill in Toyhira-ku, and displays historical materials and media of the festival.










History

   The Snow Festival began in 1950, when 6 local high school students built 6 snow statues in Odori Par.  In 1955, the Japan Self-Defense Forces form the nearby Makomani base joined in and built the first massive snow sculptures, for which the Snow Festival has now become famous for.  Several snow festivals existed in Sapporo prior to the Sapporo Snow Festival, however, all of these were suspended during World War II.
   During the Energy crisis of 1974, snow statues were built using drums.  This was due to the shortage of gasoline which  caused  many of the trucks that were used to carry snow to the site,  were unavailable, due to the shortage and rationiong of fuel.  In that same year, the International Snow Statue Competition started and since that year many snow statues built by teams from other countries have been  featured; especially from some of the sister cities of Sapporo,  such as Munich Germany.








 
  
In years when the accumulated snowfall is low, the Self-Defense Force, for whom participation is considered a training exercise, brings in snow from outside Sapporo.  The Makomanai base, one of three main sites from 1965, hosted the largest sculptures, with a emphasis on providing play space fro children.  Use of the Makomanai site was suspended in 2005 and moved to the Sapporo Satoland site located in Higashi-ku in 2006.  In 2009, the Satoland site was moved to the Tsudome (Sapporo Community Dome) site.  The Tsudome, located close to the Sapporo Satoland, is a dome for multiple sport events.
   Nakajima Park was established as one of the festival sites in 1990 however, it was removed as a site in 1992.  The thrid site, known as the Suskino Ice Festival, is situated in the night life district of Susukino and includes predominantly ice carvings.  The site was approved as one of the festival sites in 1983.  Every year, the IcSuskino Queen of Ice, a beauty contest, is held at this site.

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 were initially the preserve of the aristocracy and the wealthy patricians.  In 1736, the first Redoute was held in Cologne in a noble house on the Neumarkt.










   Almost 50 years later, Cologne was captured by the French revolutionary troops.  But the new rulers allowed the locals "de fair son tour", to hold their carnival parades.  The Prussians, who took control a short time later, were stricter, which, however, did not prevent the natives of Cologne from cultivating their Carnival tradition.  Carnival was romanticized and became bourgeois.  It became organized!  With the "Carnival Hero", with today's Prince Carnival, a new idea was also introduced.
   In 1823 the "Festordnende Komitee" was founded.  On February 10th of that year, Cologne celebrated the first Rose Monday Parade with the moto "Inthronization of the Carnival Hero".  Also involved were the "Rote Funken" the former city militia, who had just established themselves as a carnival society, the carnival fool of the "Hillige Knaachte un Magde", Jan von Werth and Cologne's "Peasant" and "Virgin" as a reminder of the former free imperial city of Cologne.  At that time, like today, a man wore the costume of the Virgin.   In 1860, the first "Ghost Parade" was held on the evening of Carnival Saturday.  Even after the turn of the century, the "founding period" of the Carnival fans continued.  In 1902, the "Ehrengarde" was formed as the accompanying group of the Peasant and Virgin.  In 1906, Prince Carnival was given his "Prinzengarde".  Other societies established themselves.  Willi Ostermann,  with his songs and musings, Grete Fluss extended the fame of Cologne's Carnival beyond the city's boundaries.











   The "Sitzungen" (shows) with their humorous orators and singers bridged the gap between the opening of the "Carnival Session" On "11.11" to its climax on Rose Monday.  That is still the same today.  Now it is bands like the "Black Fooss", "Hohner" and "Paveir" and humorists like "Rumpelstizchen" or "Webfachmann" who are the trade marks of Cologne's "Fifth Season".  The  world famous "Strippefottchen-Tant" of the Rote Funken, a parody on the soldiers' strict life.
   There are approximately 160 carnival societies, local history societies and district groups in Cologne which celebrate their home town festival in about 5oo parties, balls and parades. The highlight is always the Rose Monday Parade.

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 city by groups of young men bearing torches.  In time, this tradition evolved into something similar to what is seen today.....a cart bearing a large candle was rolled through the city to the cathedral, from where the holy fire would be distributed.
   By the end of the 15th century,the Scoppio del Carro transformed into its present form.
   The ultimate origins of the event may be of pagan origin, since it involves a display of great noise and light to ensure a good harvest.  Additionally, farmers from the Florentine countryside still observe the Scoppio del Carro with interest because of this.







 

The Main Event

   On the morning of Easter Sunday, the 30 foot tall antique cart ( in use for over 500 years), moves from the Porta al Prato to the Piazza del Duomo.  Hauled by a team of white oxen,  festooned with garlands of the first flowers and herbs of spring, the cart is escorted by 150 soldiers, musicians, and people dressed up in their 15th century costumes.







 

   Meanwhile, a fire is struck using the historic flints form Jerusalem at ApoChiesa degli Santi Apostoli.  It is then carried by the procession to the cathedral square by members of the Pazzi family, clerics, and city officials.
   The cart is loaded with fireworks while a wire, stretching to the high altar inside the churches cathedral, is fitted with a mechanical dove (the "columbina").  Shortly thereafter, at the singing of the song, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo", during Easter Mass, the cardinal of Florence light a fuse in the columbina with the Easter fire.  It then speeds through the church to ignite the cart of fireworks outside.







 

    During all of these stages, the bells of Giotto's campanile ring out.
   The complex fireworks show that follows, last approximately 20 to 30 minutes.  A successful display from the "Explosion of the Cart" is supposed to guarantee a good harvest, stable civic life, and good business.

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 festival develops among the shooting and the smell of gunpowder, medieval music, and fireworks, and ends with the Christians winning a simulated battle around a castle.











 
  
  The most well known Moors and Christians festival takes place in Alcoy ( a Valencian Community) from April 22nd to the 24th, around the Feast Day of Saint George.  According to legend, after James I of Aragon reconquered the city of Alcoy, the Moors, in turn, tried to recover it shortly after.  But, when they were about to start the battle again, Saint George miraculously appeared to he Moors, who were frightened away.




 
Christian Battle Dress
 

Moors in their Battle Costumes


 


     Other remarkable Moors and Christians festivals are celebrated in the towns of Bocairent (Medieval town between February 1st-5th), La Vila Joiosa (with its desembarc), Villena, Biar, Cocentaina, Crevillent, El Campello, Elda, Muro d'Alcoi, Oliva (3rd weekend in July), Ontinyent, Oriola, Petrer, Pollenca and some districts of Alicante city.  The most ancient festival is celebrated in Caudete (Nowadays in the Albacete province, but then was part of the Kingdom of Valencia), dated from 1588.
   A version of this festival survives in the Philippines in the form of the moro-moro play, staged during fiestas.  The show begins with a parade of stars in their colorful comstumes.  Actors playing Christians wear blue costumes while those playing Moors wear red costumes and are fully ornamented.