Tag Archives: Celebrations

Joy In The Air


It’s another Christmas. Years and years after, the meaning of Christmas has changed for me. Once, Christmas was celebration, then to an occasion to participate and then just another holiday for relaxing from work.

In my early school days, it was moments of Christmas celebration in the school that made the upcoming vacation full of happy memories. Decors, cakes, and Carol songs filled the class rooms. The missionary school, I attended to, offered a lot for celebration during Christmas. The high school, though it was also a Christian missionary school, the celebrations was not expensive, but a bare minimal of Carols by students, some skits and some competitions. The college days marked the parting of Christmas as a happy celebration moments, except for the sms that students used to send each other on day. Since, I hadn’t had that luxury to have a mobile on those days, I wasnt part of this electronic celebration.

And now, working the brains out all through the week days and yearning for an off day, the Christmas is rather a joy for ever. An assured time out every year. And for this reason, I have every reason to celebrate this Christmas with my sweetheart in the city of my dreams, where I landed about six months back.

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Happy Thanksgiving Day


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, at the end of the harvest season, is an annual American holiday to express thanks for one’s material and spiritual possessions. The period from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day often is called the holiday season. Most people celebrate by gathering at home with family or friends for a holiday feast. Though the holiday’s origins can be traced to harvest festivals that have been celebrated in many cultures since ancient times the American holiday has religious undertones related to the deliverance of the English settlers by Native Americans after the brutal winter at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. First and foremost, baked or roasted turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Turkey Day”). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. All of these primary dishes are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived.

Thanksgiving was originally a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks. The tradition of giving thanks is continued today in various forms. In celebrations at home, it is a holiday tradition in many families to begin the Thanksgiving dinner by saying grace. Found in diverse traditions, grace is a prayer before or after a meal to express appreciation, to be thankful for blessings, or in some philosophies, to express an altruistic wish or dedication.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gandhi Jayanthi


We celebrate Gandhi Jayanti on 2nd October as the birth anniversary of our ‘Father of the Nation’ Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi, also known as ‘Bapu’. Born on the 2nd of October 1869 in Gujarat. Mahatma Gandhi has an invaluable contribution in India’s freedom struggle. He always believed that non-violence and honesty are the best strength human can possess. Mahatma Gandhi was interested in everything that concerns the society and mankind. He led his life that confirmed to his preaching. Gandhiji ‘s morality and his doctrines of non-violence and love for needy have become a beacon of light for the world.

410 years of Globe Theatre


The Roman invasion marked the beginning of Theatres in London. The theatres build by Romans were demolished with their decline. After that the entertainments were held in church squares, market places etc. In the sixteenth century, travelling Drama groups were formed all over the country. James Burbage, an actor in one of these drama groups marked the beginning of theatres in renaissance London.

James Burbage

James Burbage

Burbage was a talented actor and soon to be the lead of a drama group. According to the law passed in Britain in 1572, the moving drama groups must be parented by a noble, and it is by his/her name the drama group must ne known after. Else, the owners and the actors were punished severely. By this law, Burbage sorted the parentage of Lord Chamberlain and the drama group soon became famous as the ‘Chamberlain Men’. As the ‘Chamberlain Men’ became widely accepted, another celebrity came forward to parentage the Chamberlain Men – Queen Elizabeth herself !. As a result, the drama group Chamberlain Men became widely popular as ‘Queensmen’. Queen’s parentage was a boon and confidence factor for Burbage who was by then thinking of a permanent theatre for his group. In 1576, he build a theatre at  Shoreditch. The theatre was known as the ‘ Tudor theatre ‘. In 1596, the theatre was moved to Black Frayers.

In 1597, James Burbage passed away. His son, Richard Burbage took the path laid off by his father. At those times, all Shakespearean  dramas were held at Black Frayers theatre. By then, the land lease with the owner has been expired and it was required to move the theatre to a new place. At that time,there was two groups between the dramatists. Chamberlain group(Queens), that includes the Shakespeare and the Admiral group. Admiral group had a theatre called ‘Roseplay house’ to stage their dramas. So, the building of a new theatre became a matter of proud for Shakespeare and his mates. But the funding for theatre construction was not that easy. Atlast every one decided that, Richard will make 25% investment in theatre and rest of the fund will be collected by the others in the group. In 1599, at Southwark, on the banks of Thames river, the construction of Globe Theatre was completed. The Globe theatre became  as famous as Shakespeare along with his dramas.

Globe Theatre, london

Globe Theatre, London

The architecture of the theatre reminds of a modern football stadium. The centre is open and stage is designed as if projecting from the centre, with green room behind it. There is a main door from here to the stage, along with two side doors. The theatre is fully made of wood. In its 3 floored design, it had the capacity to accommodate 3000 audience. The main achievement of the theatre was that fact that it was able to attract audiences from all levels of society.

The inaugural play of Globe theatre was ‘Julius Caesar’  in 21st of September 1599. There was enough advertisement and along with the its purpose for hosting their Drama, the theatre also served the monetary requirements of Shakespeare and team.

Richard Burbage was the major share holder of the theatre and also the main actor. It’s widely said that Shakespeare created characters with Richard in his mind. The best comedian actor at those times was another share holder of the theatre, William Kemp, along with Robert Armin. The main actors include, John Hemming and Henry Condell, wholater comprised all Shakespearian works and published ‘First Folio’. In between, Shakespeare also shared stages at times along with the his writings. The ghost in Hamlet, The Adam in ‘ As you like’,The Duke in ‘Merchant of Venice’,  Escalus in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ are the characters lifed by creator itself.

In 1613, the Globe theatre was consumed by fire. It was during the act out of ‘Hentry VIII’, co written by Shakespeare and John Fletcher. Though it was reconstructed and performances were started within a year, after a long 30 years, the theatre was completely dismantled in 1644.

New Globe Theatre, London

New Globe Theatre, London

Starting from 1987, a 10 year long hard work has lead to remake of old Globe theatre in its original design, very near to its old location itself. Today on 21st of September, at 41oth anniversary of the first drama in Globe theatre, lets remember a man who spilled life into many characters in his life time, and made a standard of his own in the history of modern English Literature.

Onam Tales


This is a very late report of Onam. But the ‘Bloggerville’ neighbours will understand that I was having a long vacation during these holidays. I also had the trip to the district of Thrissur, also known as the Cultural Capital of Kerala.

On the fourth Onam evening, I visited the backwater at Veli. A beautiful  place, where the lake and sea is separated by a tiny strip of land. Apart from this geographical beauty,Veli is also landscaped as a tourist village, which was recently re modified slightly. The park along with, has beautiful sculptures by one of the famous feminine sculptor ‘kanayi Kunjiraman’. He is famous for his massive rock works based on female nudity.

Along with the rock carvings, landscaping-sculpture of a female lying on ground is also an amazing work. Should really appreciate the creativity!!. The sculptures within the artificial pool also pin points the talent of the artist. I had an awesome time capturing these works of genius in my camera.

After quite few hours in there, I again moved out to the light laden palace grounds. The mood was amazing. All were wandering out, moving from shops to food outlets, then to open theatres where cultural dance programs were going on. It was an amazing evening and a wonderful Onam weekend.

But it wasn’t the end. I had a 2 day trip to the Thrissur, where I had the chance to see the ‘pulikali’ , where performers painted like tigers and hunters in bright yellow, red, and black dance to the beats of instruments like Udukku and Thakil. There is a procession by members of different clubs from all over the city who are wearing tiger make-up. Also, I visited the ‘punnathur kotta’, where around 75 elephants belonging to the Guruvayoor temple are housed, cared and trained. More about that in my next post.

Onam Thoughts


Another ‘Onam Days’ are at the brink. The celebrations has started all over the city. The people are busy emptying their wallets and buying goodies with the ‘Onam’ Offers. I feel like all were waiting just for this moment to buy new things to their home, to make the best out of the ‘Onam discounts and offers’.

For me, Onam picture from my child hood days often had more colors than today. I still can collect those fresh memories from my school days. My Grand mother ,whose house is adjacent to my house, used to decorate the front of her house with “Atham”, an arrangement with flowers. The Atham is decorated on all ten days of the Onam festival, the last day being the grand one. The D day also known as ‘Thiruonam’, features a superb ‘Atham’ a.k.a ‘Pookkalam’ on the courtyard. My uncle buys more flowers , in different colors. The final result is an elegant flower pattern.

Atham

Atham

Beautiful moments in Onam cannot be remembered without the walk through the city night. During Onam festival, Government decorates all the buildings and the palace grounds at ‘Kanakakkunnu’ . The road will be fully crowded and the people will be moving like a slow stream. I will walking holding my uncle’s hand, face angles atop the building walls and the amusements arranged along the road.

Painful moments also occurred twice during my Childhood. I was aged 3 or 4 then. I was riding on the carrier behind my uncle’s bicycle. We went to the junction where big guys in our locality create a big ‘Atham’ . It was a massive flower decoration with lots and lots of flowers. It was a great treat for eyes. After that, while we were returning home, the pain of Onam happened. As we were about reach back to home, the cycle fell to a massive gutter, I was standing on the back carrier of the cycle and holding on to the Uncle’s back. The violent shake made my foot slip and my ankle got twisted between the cycle rim. The pain lasted for the entire Onam vacation and made it the one of the worst Onam ever of my life.

Let me come back to the present. Now, the Onam time has shifted from the celebration of equableness, fullness and the prosperity. Now, the entire celebration is shifted to celebration of money. The age of commercialization and the spendthrift society has moved away from the old ethics. Now, Onam is a time to spend money and the city is full of options to spend it. The textile, electronics, all kinds of commodities that we can imagine is available with lots of discounts and offers associated with it. The offers draw people and a great deal of business happens during this time. I think this is the peek business time in Kerala. Even I too became the part of the Shopping festival. My wife and myself strolled through the stalls in palace grounds and was really fascinated by the handicraft works by the rural people and the material collections made out of bamboo. I too made a few purchases . The collection of home made pickles from Rajasthan was irresistible. I also bought a pair of Sony rechargeable battery and its charger for my ‘Canon cyber shot’. My week end plans for a cross Kerala trip do demands the camera to be ready.

For the non Indian’s readers for the blog, let me include a brief description of the Onam festival and the legend.

A long long time ago, an Asura (demon) king called Mahabali ruled Kerala. He was a wise, benevolent and judicious ruler and beloved of his subjects. Soon his fame as an able king began to spread far and wide, but when he extended his rule to the heavens and the netherworld, the gods felt challenged and began to fear his growing powers. Presuming that he might become over-powerful, Aditi, the mother of Devas pleaded with Lord Vishnu to curtail Mahabali’s powers.

Vishnu transformed himself into a dwarf called Vamana and approached Mahabali while he was performing a yajna and asked for alms. Pleased with the dwarf brahmin’s wisdom, Mahabali granted him a wish. The Emperor’s preceptor, Sukracharya warned him against making the gift, for he realized that the seeker was no ordinary person. But the Emperor’s kingly ego was boosted to think that God had asked him for a favor. So he firmly declared that there is no greater sin than going back on one’s promise. He kept his word.

The Vamana asked for a simple gift — three paces of land — and the king agreed to it. Vishnu in the guise of Vamana then increased his stature and with the first step covered the sky, blotting out the stars, and with the second, straddled the netherworld. Realising that Vamana’s third step will destroy the earth, Mahabali offered his head as the last step.

Vishnu’s fatal third step pushed him to the netherworld, but before banishing him to the underworld Vishnu granted him a boon. Since he was attached to his kingdom and his people, he was allowed to return once a year from exile. Onam is the celebration that marks the homecoming of King Mahabali. It is the day when a grateful Kerala pays a glorious tribute to the memory of this benign king who gave his all for his subjects.