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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S

Monday, August 21, 2017

THE PUCK FAIR, IRELANDS OLDEST FAIR!


 
 
 

Killorglin

   For communities like Killorglin to survive against the often overpowering commercial pressures imposed by their larger, urbanized neighbors it takes an inherent, deep seated tenacity. To say that the industrial and economic success of the town came about as a result of being ably represented politically, at the right time - is true - but only part of the overall picture. This train of thought displays an ignorance of how these market towns, strategically set down at cross-roads, not only survive against fierce odds but indeed thrive. A cursory glance at the history of any such town will reveal the growing pains and battle scars endured by generations to get us to where we are today.









   Rivers played a huge role in the establishment of trade centers and in Killorglin's case the Laune with its link and proximity to the well sheltered Castlemaine Harbour must have presented a very attractive location to the first travellers - commercial or otherwise. Political historians will recall the late Timothy Chub O'Connor extolling the virtues of his native patch and he painted a picture with the kind of infectious    enthusiasm that industrialists found impossible to ignore.









   The vibrancy of the community is marked by the ever increasing list of events sprinkled throughout the year and the world famous Puck Fair has been added to by festivals like the 'The Wild Flower of the Laune Vintage Harvest Festival' and the recently revived Head of the River Regatta. The mammoth, annual undertaking that is the pantomime is yet another of the great logistical wonders so crucial to the survival of the spirit of community involvement.

History/Origins

   The most widely mentioned story relating to the origin of King Puck, associates him with the English Ironside Leader Oliver Cromwell. It is related that while the "Roundheads" were pillaging the countryside around Shanara and Kilgobnet at the foot of the McGillycuddy Reeks, they routed a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight before the raiders, and the he-goat or "Puck" broke away on his own and lost contact with the herd. While the others headed for the mountains he went










towards Cill Orglain (Killorglin) on the banks of the Laune. His arrival there in a state of semi exhaustion alerted the inhabitants of the approaching danger and they immediately set about protecting themselves and their stock.
   It is said that in recognition of the service rendered by the goat, the people decided to institute a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since.
Other legends regarding the origin of "King Puck" relates to the time of Daniel O'Connell, who in 1808 was an unknown barrister. It seems that before that year, the August fair held in Killorglin had been a toll fair, but an Act of the British Parliament empowered the Viceroy or Lord Lieutenant in Dublin to make an order, at his own discretion, making it unlawful to levy tolls at cattle, horse or sheep fairs. Tolls in











Killorglin at this time were collected by the local landlord - Mr Harman Blennerhassett - who had fallen into bad graces with the authorities in Dublin Castle and as a result the Viceroy robbed him of his right to levy tolls. Blennerhassett enlisted the services of the young Daniel O'Connell, who in an effort to reverse the decision decided that goats were not covered by the document and that the landlord would be legally entitled to hold a goat fair, and levy his tolls as usual. Thus the fair was promptly advertised as taking place on August 10th, 1808, and on that day a goat was hoisted on a stage to show to all attending that the fair was indeed a goat fair - thus Blennerhassett collected his toll money and Killorglin gained a King.
   Whatever its origins, the fair has long been and continues to be the main social, economic and cultural event in the Killorglin Calendar. It is a time when old friends meet, when new friendships are forged and the cares of everyday living are put on hold.








 

1613 to Today

   There are many legends which suggest an origin for the Fair, many of which are wildly inventive, but there is no written record stating when the Fair started. It can however be traced back to a charter from 1603 by King James I granting legal status to the existing fair in Killorglin.
   It has been suggested that it is linked to pre-Christian celebrations of a fruitful harvest and that the male goat or "Puck" was a pagan symbol of fertility, like the pagan god Pan.









   The origins of the fair have thus been lost in the midst of antiquity, and various commissions set up over the past two hundred years have tried in vain to date them. Evidence suggests that the fair existed long before written record of everyday occurrences were kept as there is one written reference from the 17th Century in existence which grants Jenkins Conway, the local landlord at the time, the right to collect a sum for every animal brought to the August Fair. This would suggest that the Fair was something already well established in the local community.

MEDIEVEL WEEK FROM GOTLAND, SWEDEN!

The town of Gotland




Travel 600 years back in time

   During eight days in August the Middle Age is back. Gotland’s special settings, Visby’s 200 medieval houses on winding lanes, splendid church ruins, and the magnificent city wall frame a spectacle without equal.
   Markets and music, theater and lectures. Knights clash in tournaments. Medieval Week leaves no one unaffected. It is an unforgettable journey in time and space. Experience Medieval Week on Gotland. Discover history.
   Medieval Week 2011 takes place August 7th - 14th.


About Gotland
   Gotland, Sweden’s largest island, lies right in the middle of the Baltic.
   Its population is 58.000, a figure that doubles many times over during the summer, as Gotland is a much-loved destination for holidaymakers.
   The island’s biggest city, Visby, boasts one of the best preserved medieval ramparts anywhere in the world. Not surprisingly, Visby has been on UNESCO’s world heritage list since 1995. It also has more restaurants per capita than just about any city in Sweden, offering a wide range of culinary delights.











   The countryside, with its woodlands, bleak heaths and flowering meadows, is richly varied and hauntingly beautiful. Here, you’ll also find more than 90 medieval churches, ancient remains from the Viking period and any number of top-quality crafts studios. Along the almost 800 km coastline, gently shelving sandy beaches alternate with shingle shores and seaside meadows. The climate is mild, with many hours of sunshine and pleasantly warm autumns.


What is the Medieval Week?

      The Medieval Week is arranged annually on Gotland in the beginning of August.
   In the year of 2010 it will be held from Sunday the 8th to Sunday the 15th of August.
   Every year during one week in August, we blow life into history. The Medieval market gets into life in Gotlandsänget and Paviljongsplan, where stonemasons and smiths work alongside the clattering of horses’ hooves and bleating sheep.












   A week filled with color and events, including music, pageants and jousting tournaments. A huge variety of lectures and study courses are also held. A mixture of sobriety and merriment, education and festivities.
   The Medieval Week incorporates music, dance and theatre performed by many different artists and groups.
   You will find hair-raising mystery plays and amusing farces. There are guided walks around the Medieval town and its wall. You can walk around herb gardens or along the shore. There are many opportunities to learn more about the Middle Ages through a wide variety of courses, including Medieval crafts of various kinds, song and music, runes or even juggling, as well as the chance to attend various lectures.











   One of the highlights of the week is the Jousting Tournament. This spectacle brings to life the atmosphere of a Medieval tournament, where knights on horseback joust. You will also find a royal presence, archers, combatants, acrobats and Medieval markets. These tournaments have proved to be so popular that some are held as early as July, in Visby and in the countryside. A large number of other events of the Week also take place outside Visby in churches, museums etc.
   Medieval Week on Gotland is well-known by many. We can hear professional men and women refer to Medieval Week in radio programs, we can read about Gotland and Medieval Week in books and magazines. A couple of doctoral theses cover Medieval Week and its activities.    By how many know what Medeltidsveckan looks like from behind and how it is organized. Medeltidsveckan is run by an independent foundation with a small office at its disposal. Here a few dedicated persons work all year around to make sure that week 32 on Gotland becomes an experience to remember and to take home. The foundation was founded in 1994 by six founders: Gotlands kommun, Gotlands Fornvänner, Gotlands Turistförening, Gotlands Hembygdsförbund, Gotlands Bildningsförbund and Medeltidsgillet på Gotland.










   As important as the office that keeps Medieval Week together, are all the persons who volunteer before and during week 32. They are the reason this special week takes place. It is also the associations and companies that make it possible for the little extras to work.
   Something you learn when you have participated in Medieval Week over a few years is that there many things that have to fit in order for it all to function. Even the implementation of the smallest detail is a condition for the whole arrangement to be a success.




 
Wardrobe and baubles used during Medievel Week
 
 
 

History

Historical background to Medieval Week:

   Let’s go back to the summer of 1361 when Visby still was a powerful Hanseatic town with a surrounding wall, wealthy churches, monasteries and chapels.











   Warehouses with their stepped gables were clustered tightly along the main street Strandgatan, filled with luxurious goods brought by ship from far off countries.
   The streets and alleys were thronged with merchants, monks, servant girls, journeymen and beggars. Gotland belonged to Sweden which was at that time ruled by Magnus Eriksson. However, the island gave a strong impression of being its own realm, where there was distinct antagonism between the townspeople and the wealthy farmers. Valdemar Atterdag ruled Denmark.
   King Magnus was forced to cede the provinces Blekinge, Skåne and Halland in 1360. The large islands Gotland and Öland were also threatened.












    King Valdemar and his army landed on the west coast of Gotland on July 22, 1361. The Gotlandic farmers defended themselves bravely, but were finally overthrown in the great battle outside the gates of Visby, where 2000 men fell.
    The townspeople passively witnessed the farmers’ downfall. In exchange for Valdemar’s promise to retain its privileges, the town capitulated and opened its gates.
The Coat of Arms of Medieval WeekThe Medieval Week’s coat of arms was developed in 2005 and is today used for symbolism at ceremonial occasions.
   The heraldic symbolism of the coat of arms represents Medieval Week and Gotland at the same time. The two-part shield exemplifies the countryside and the city on Gotland, and also the connection between the two. Red and white are the colors of Gotland.

   The left part of the shield is adorned by a ram which has been recognized and acknowledged as the symbol of Gotland since medieval times. The numerous yellow crosses represent all the churches found on Gotland that through history have had so much importance for both city and countryside.
   The rose coat of arms on the right is inspired by Peder Harding’s coat of arms (Peter Harding was the Gotlandic chief who led the people of the countryside in the civil war of 1288). In addition the rose is the flower that symbolizes and is associated with Gotland, and especially with Visby.
   The coat of arms is designed by the heraldist Veljo Pärli.







 

The Soul of Medieval Week

   What entices thousands of visitors to come to Gotland and dress in medieval clothing?
   Young and old travel back 1000 years and live in the Medieval Age for a whole week on Gotland.
   Is the interest for this distant time period really serious or do we have a wish to escape from the present for a while, to dress in something foreign or different? To become a different person and fantasize about how life would have been for people in various situations, occupations and social connections.
   Medieval Week is carried out with high quality demands. All events shall be perceived as medieval and genuine, while the artistic creation of today also shall be found on the program – historical science and contemporary creativity in close association seems ideal to us!











   Medieval Week mixes high and low, just like medieval times, the heavenly and the worldly, advanced artistic achievements and a flowing selection of things and events. The mixture of styles, strong and unrestrained, is one of the phenomena that make the character of Medieval Week a real and authentic experience. That is also why we, year after year, meet visitors who faithfully - and enthusiastically – return

RAKSHA BANDHAN FROM INDIA!

 


Rakhi: The Thread of Love

   In India, festivals are the celebration of togetherness, of being one of the family. Raksha Bandhan is one such festival that is all about affection, fraternity and sublime sentiments. It is also known as Raksha Bandhan which means a 'bond of protection'. This is an occasion to flourish love, care, affection and sacred feeling of brotherhood.
   Not a single festival in India is complete without the typical Indian festivities, the gatherings, celebrations, exchange of sweets and gifts, lots of noise, singing and dancing. Raksha Bandhan is a regional celebration to celebrate the sacred relation between brothers and sisters. Primarily, this festival belongs to north and western region of India but soon the world has started celebrating this festival with the same verse and spirit. Rakhi has become an integral part of those customs.











An insight of Rakhi Rituals

   On the day of Rakhi, sisters prepares the pooja thali with diya, roli, chawal, rakhi thread and sweets. The ritual begins with a prayer in front of God, then the sister ties Rakhi to her brother and wishes for his happiness and well-being. In turn, the brother acknowledge the love with a promise to stand by his sister through all the good and bad times.
   Sisters tie Rakhi on the wrist of their brothers amid chanting of mantras, put roli and rice on his forehead and pray for his well-being. She bestows him with gifts and blessings. In turn, brothers also wish her a good life and pledges to take care of her. He gives her a return gift. The gift symbolizes the physical acceptance of her love, reminder of their togetherness and his pledge. The legends and the reference in history repeated, the significance of the festival is emphasized.










Unconditional Bond of Love

        Raksha bandhan has been celebrated in the same way with the same traditions for many years. Only the means have changed with the changing lifestyle to make the celebration more elaborate and lively. This day has an inherent power that pulls the siblings together. The increasing distances evoke the desire to be together even more. All brothers and sisters try to reach out to each other on this auspicious day. The joyous meeting, the rare family get-together, that erstwhile feeling of brotherhood and sisterhood calls for a massive celebration.
     For everyone, it is an opportunity to reunion and celebrate. People also share tasty dishes, wonderful sweets and exchange gifts. It is a time to share their past experiences also. For those who are not able to meet each other, rakhi cards and e-rakhis and rakhis through mails perform the part of communicating the rakhi messages. Hand made rakhis and self-made rakhi cards are just representation of the personal feelings of the siblings.










Traditions & Customs

    Raksha Bandhan is an occasion to celebrate the sacred bond of love and affection between siblings with lots of verve. Also known as Raksha Bandhan across the world, this festival is primarily a north Indian festival that is celebrated all brothers and sisters to express their deep emotions, love and affection.
On the day of Rakhi festival, the sister ties Rakhi on the wrist of her brother and both make prayer to God for the well being of each other. Sisters perform 'aarti' and put tilak on the forehead of her brother. In return, brothers make promise to take care of his sister under all circumstances. Usually, brothers gift something to the sister to mark the occasion. The mirth that surrounds the festival is unsurpassed. Amidst the merriment the rituals are also followed with great devotion.










Preparation of Rakhi Festival

    Generally, the fancy Rakhis and delicious sweets are prepared long before the Shravana Purnima. According to the Indian tradition, the family members get ready for the rituals early in the morning. They take a bath to purify mind and body before starting any preparations. Sisters prepare the puja thali which consists of roli, tilak, Rakhi threads, rice grains, aggarbattis (incense sticks), diyas and sweets. After offering the rituals to the deities of the family, the sister perform aarti of their brothers and ties Rakhi on their wrist. Then, they put kumkum powder on the forehead of their brother and offer sweets. All these rituals take place amid the chanting of the following mantras :



"Suraj shakhan chhodian, Mooli chhodia beej
Behen ne rakhi bandhi / Bhai tu chir jug jee"
,
Which means "The sun radiates its sunlight, the radish spreads its seeds,
I tie the rakhi to you O brother and wish that may you live long."
After her prayer for a long life for her brother, she says that she is tie the ever-protective Raksha to her brother's wrist and chants:

"Yena baddho Balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah
tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshe maa chala maa chala"


   This means," I tie you the rakhi that was tied to king Bali, the king of Demons,
O Rakhi I pray that you never falter in protecting your devotee.
   In return, brothers pampers and blesses the sisters and promises to protect her from all the evils of this world. He also present a token of his love and affection as a Rakhi gift. The rituals performed on Raksha Bandhan may differ from place to place but they carry the same aura throughout the globe.
Raksha Bandhan in History
    The traditional Hindu festival 'Raksha Bandhan' (knot of protection) was came into origin about 6000 years back when Aryans created first civilization - The Indus Valley Civilization. With many languages and cultures, the traditional method to Rakhi festival celebration differs from place to place across India. Following are some historical evidences of Raksha Bandhan celebration from the Indian history.













Rani Karnawati and Emperor Humayun

   The story of Rani Karnavati and Emperor Humayun is the most significant evidence in the history. During the medieval era, Rajputs were fighting Muslim invasions. Rakhi at that time meant a spiritual binding and protection of sisters was foremost. When Rani Karnawati the widowed queen of the king of Chittor realised that she could in no way defend the invasion of the Sultan of Gujarat, Bahadur Shah, she sent a rakhi to Emperor Humayun. The Emperor touched by the gesture started off with his troops without wasting any time.

Alexander The Great and King Puru

   The oldest reference to the festival of rakhi goes back to 300 B.C. at the time when Alexander invaded India. It is said that the great conqueror, King Alexander of Macedonia was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru in his first attempt. Upset by this, Alexander's wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. King Puru accepted her as his sister and when the opportunity came during the war, he refrained from Alexander.











Lord Krishna and Draupathi

   In order to protect the good people, Lord Krishna killed the evil King Shishupal. Krishna was hurt during the war and left with bleeding finger. Seeing this, Draupathi had torn a strip of cloth from her sari and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. Lord Krishna, realizing her affections and concern about him, declared himself bounded by her sisterly love. He promised her to repay this debt whenever she need in future. Many years later, when the pandavas lost Draupathi in the game of dice and Kauravas were removing her saari, Krishna helped her divinely elongating the saari so that they could not remove it.

King Bali and Goddess Lakshmi

   The demon king Mahabali was a great devotee of lord Vishnu. Because of his immense devotion, Vishnu has taken the task of protecting bali's Kingdom leaving his normal place in Vikundam. Goddess lakshmi - the wife of lord Vishnu - has became sad because of this as she wanted lord Vishnu along with her. So she went to Bali and discussed as a Brahmin woman and taken refuge in his palace. On Shravana purnima, she tied Rakhi on King Bali's wrist. Goddess Lakshmi ord Vishnu to accompany her to vaikuntam. Due to this festival is also called Baleva as Bali Raja's devotion to the Lord vishnu. It is said that since that day it has become a tradition to invite sisters on sravan pournima to tie sacred thread of Rakhi or Raksha bandan.










Rakhi Celebrations

   In India, Rakhi celebrations are about strengthening the bond of love between brothers and sisters and fostering brotherhood. This festival is not a ritual, custom and tradition that can change over time but its style of celebration has become contemporary. Since ages, Raksha Bandhan is being celebrated in the same way. All the traditions are followed with the same enthusiasm. The gaieties have only blown up to a larger scale. Rakhi festival is the celebration of the chaste bond of love amongst the siblings.
     Everyone start preparing for this festival much in advance. About a month before the commencement of raksha bandhan, you can see fancy and colorful rakhis in every market. Ladies start shopping for rakhi and rakhi gifts quite early. They shop for new clothes and beautiful rakhi gifts specially the one that have to be sent to their brothers staying far. Almost every shop, be it sweet shops, garment shops, gift shops, or any other shop, all are flooded with attractive rakhi gifts to attract people.











   The celebration of Rakhi, in India, is well known for its carnival spirit and strengthening the bond of love between brothers and sisters. In fact, India is globally known for its colorful festivals and ever-green tradition. Celebrated with different rituals, family get-together and sweets, Raksha Bandhan is about sentiments, love and enjoyment. Like any other festival, rakhi has its unique significance.
   On the day of Rakhi festival, the festivity of this auspicious day begin by the day break. After taking bath early morning, people get ready by wearing new clothes and gather for worshiping. After invoking the the blessings of the Gods, the sister performs brother’s arti, puts tika and chawal on his forehead and ties Rakhi amongst chanting of mantras. Sisters whole heartedly give sweets to their brothers to eat which in turns add more sweetness in the Raksha Bandhan celebration and pray for their well being. In return, brothers pamper their sisters and present beautiful gifts to lure them. They also promise to take care of her and stand by her side in any circumstances.












   After performing all these rituals, the whole family reunion to enjoy and have fun. Then all of them share the delicious food, tasty sweets, gifts, music and dance. It is a day to remember all the memorable time spent together for those who, for any reason, are far away from their family. Emotions can also be expressed through e-mails, e-cards, rakhi greeting cards and rakhi through Internet. The overflowing emotions of siblings cannot be stopped on this day.
   Rabindra Nath Tagore started gathering of people like 'Rakhi Mahotsavas' in Shantiniketan to propogate the feeling of brotherhood among people. He believed that the this will invoke trust and feeling of peaceful coexistence. Raksha Bandhan, for them, is a way to harmonize the relationship of humanity. The tradition continues as people started tying rakhis to the neighbor and friends.

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".