The Hungry Ghost Festival – worshipping the ancestors

Falling on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar, the Hungry Ghost Festival which is referred to as ‘Yu Lan’ by the locals involves one thrilling spectacle. It’s certainly not your local rendition of Halloween but this festival is closely associated with ancestor worship. Should you be holidaying at a Wan Chai hotel Hong Kong such as Cosmopolitan Hotel Hong Kong during this time, consider taking in the sights and sounds of this festival.

Also held to appease the spirits, locals can be seen busily engaged in burning faux money, tending fires by the road and making offerings to their ancestors who have long since passed into the after world. Amongst the charitable deeds, visitors will also have the opportunity to watch Chinese operas being performed on bamboo stages. This colourful celebration should be included on your travel itinerary if you are visiting or staying in Hong Kong.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.


Festivals in Korea – The Festivities and Celebrations of Korea

The capital and largest city of South Korea is the bustling city of Seoul. Considered to be centre of South Korea’s administrative, cultural and financial activity, Seoul is home to many historic landmarks, tourist attractions, and world heritage sites. Therefore, Seoul is also a popular tourist destination and offers accommodation and serviced apartment Seoul in luxury residencies such as Somerset Palace Seoul.

South Korea has a vibrant culture and this is exemplified by its many colourful festivities and elaborate celebrations. Ranging from religious festivals to annual cultural celebrations, South Korea has festivals that occur all year around. Thus a visit to South Korea at any time of the year offers you the chance to be a part of intriguing festivals and their respective rituals and customs.

One of the biggest festivals in South Korea is Seollal; the New Year’s festival. Seollal is celebrated at the dawn of a new lunar year and is accompanied by various rituals and customs such as paying respects to one’s elders, exchanging of gifts, preparing traditional meals and partaking in various traditional celebrations and games. Another popular festival is the Hansik which is celebrated during the 4th month of the lunar calendar and marks the beginning of the harvesting season. This festival too has its traditional rituals which are both colourful and intriguing. Another exciting festival is the Yangpyeong Strawberry Festival, where visitors can pick their own fresh strawberries and partake in several other exciting activities. The annual International Horticulture Goyang is also an interesting festival with elaborate flower displays from around the world and seminars on horticulture. Chuseok, one of the most vibrant traditional festivals is also a great event with lots of traditional games and age old traditional rituals. In addition to these there is also the Chuncheon International Mime Festival, Bitnoriya Festival and the traditional Dano festival which you can go and witness.

So the next time you visit Seoul, check out some of these amazing festivals and celebrations.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.


Touring Galle’s Most Iconic Landmark – Galle Fort Tours

Located just south of India is the beautiful tropical island nation of Sri Lanka. Known for its rich heritage and blissful scenic beauty, Sri Lanka is a great place to visit if you are looking for vibrant and colourful cultural experience. With its many historic landmarks, pristine beaches and coastal features, lush forests and exotic wildlife, thriving hospitality and tourism industries, and diverse society, Sri Lanka is a land that offers you a range and experiences and opportunities.
Located in the southern city of Galle is the Galle Fort, one of Sri Lanka’s most famous cultural historic landmarks. Declared as a world heritage site by the UNESCO, this fortress is known for its many cultural attractions and highlights which have dazzled both locals and tourists. The fine blend of Sri Lankan traditions with the Dutch architecture of the fort truly makes the fort a must-see place by all those who visit Sri Lanka.
Built by the Portuguese in 1588 and thereafter occupied and extensively restructured by the Dutch, the Galle Fort today houses a diverse population consisting of various cultures and ethnicities. The Fort is known for its amazing architecture which has withstood the test of time for over 400 years. The best way to explore the many highlights and attractions of the Galle Fort is embark on a tour of the fort. These tours will ensure that you see the awe-inspiring traditional Dutch churches, quait Asian infused Dutch architectural structures, the many insightful museums, and the hulking ramparts of the Fort. Several retail outlets, restaurants and cafeterias have also sprung up inside the fort, offering traditional arts and crafts and delicious and exotic meals and bites. Tours will ensure that also encounter other highlights of the fort such as the famous ‘rampart divers’ and the ‘Breadfruit Tree’ which is believed to be almost as old as the fort. One might also find it truly blissful to walk along the ramparts, overlooking the beautiful blue waters of the Bay of Galle.

A tour operator that specializes in unique Sri Lanka tours is Jetwing Travels. Established 1980 and considered to be one of Sri Lanka’s most reputed tour operators, Jetwing Travels offers a range of Sri Lanka travel packages ranging from tours that explore the romantic and scenic beauty of Sri Lanka to tour that will let your experience the adventure and exoticism of Sri Lanka. This tour operator also offers a many special offers and surprises as well, and are sure to make your visit to Sri Lanka most memorable.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.Google+

Aoi Festival, a vibrant event

The remarkable Aoi Festival is a unique event conducted in the Japanese city of Kyoto. This event which falls on the 15th of May is counted amongst the three biggest festivals in this city. The festival is centred on the Kamigamo and Shimogamo shrines, both of which are involved in the activities of the festival. Officially called the Kamo Festival this distinctive event originated in the middle of the 6th century.

The ruler of the time Emperor Kinmei decreed that a ceremonial celebration be held so as to placate the gods and thereby end a disastrous famine. The objective of the festival was achieved and since then this celebration has been conducted each year, becoming especially popular amongst the wider public during the Edo era.

The showpiece of the festival is the extensive and elaborate procession which leaves the city’s Imperial Palace and winds its way to Shimogamo shrine and finally to Kamigamo shrine. The visitor will observe that the festival includes two sections, the Roto and Shato rituals.

The event is always a delight to watch, as the observer will see an array of people attired in formal costumes of the Heian era parading through the streets of the city. This distinctive procession features over 500 individuals, four oxen, two oxcarts and 35 horses. Many Japanese as well as foreign visitors take the opportunity to witness this distinctive event.

‘Aoi’ refers to the unmistakable leaves of hollyhock which are used to adorn almost everything in the pageant, from the people and carts to the various animals. You will also see huge flower bouquets and a host of kimono-clad women accompanying the official ‘Saio’. This was the title given to the high priestess representing the shrines, who in earlier times was a young woman of the imperial clan. Today however a different single woman is selected for this position each year, from the city of Kyoto. However this woman even today must undertake purification rituals prior to the event.

If you will be visiting the city and are considering Kyoto serviced apartments a discerning choice would be the Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto. These convenient Kyoto apartments offer comfortable accommodations with attentive service.


Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.


Waisak Day The Hushed Day of Quiet Meditation

Indonesia is a land that is complete with many colourful aspects of life that are brought forth by the traditions and culture of varying origins and ethnic groups. Diversity flourishes here in beautiful degrees and festivities are held here of different religious backgrounds, making this country an ideal place to visit indeed.

The Buddhist population that lives in Indonesia celebrates in great reverence and honour the day that marks the birth, enlightenment and the death of Buddha Siddharta Gautama, the day of Waisak. This day is indeed prominent to the Buddhists scattered

A festival that is predominantly centred on meditation and goodwill, on the day of Waisak many Buddhists from all over the country gather in Borobudur to bask in the reverent wonder of this sacred day. A series of Buddhist organizers in the country have taken the lead to take turns in organizing the festivities of the day that include a procession of over 15000 devotees from Mendut temple to Pawon temple from where the procession reaches the Borobudur. The essence of the festivities is always constant with due respect and attention given to meditation and reverie, while colour and happiness is brought forth by many lights of festivity and delicious food. The many thousands that gather here on the day of Waisak, in unison chant mantras and meditate in silence to honour of the founder of their belief. The silence that follows the chanting of mantras is indeed overwhelming and intense, making it an experience truly wonderful indeed.

If you visit Jakarta in time for the festival of Waisak, you may also partake in this beautiful celebration. A 5 Star hotel Jakarta such as Keraton at The Plaza, Jakarta will treat you to ultimate bliss and sheer indulgence while you find pleasure in the hushed hour of quiet meditation of this day. A hotel in Jakarta such as this will also help you to reach the religiously prominent temples in the area in which celebrations do take place, so you will be able to breathe in the culture and the tradition of the lovely people of Indonesia.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.


Wesak Celebrations in Phuket Lighting up the Streets in the Joy of Celebration

Phuket, Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, where sun shines upon the golden beaches every day. Blue ocean waters and the scintillating charm of the never ending festive atmosphere are cherished beyond measure by everyone who steps on these shores. Seafood and laughter, good times galore will certainly mark the great holiday spent here in this land of absolute charm.

Phuket has much more to offer to its visitors than the splendour of the beaches and the consequent oceanic entertainment, which quite definitely will be common to all beach cities around the world. The land is rich with culture and religion. The pulse of the people, who call this place their home, is felt in the rich celebrations and festivities that accompany religiously significant days in their calendars.

Buddhism being a religion that is widely practiced across the country, the day of Wesak that marks the birth of the Buddha as well as commemorates the beginning of his teaching is one of the most prominent festivals here in Phuket. The celebrations of Wesak that occur on the days of full moon on the month of May are indeed wonderful to behold, in all its colour and reverence, revealing the true nature, mild and wholesome, of this land marked by high entertainment.

Celebrations take place in all their splendour in the temples scattered throughout the vicinity, while candle light processions illuminate the dark cold streets on this special day. Tourists too may partake in these festivities if they wish, and celebrate with the locals a day of great significance to them, and have another colourful and bright facet added to their memory of the perfect holiday experience.

Phuket resort that offers luxury and opulence beyond expectations such as Anantara Phuket Resort Thailand, can be considered if you wish to bask in the wonder of this colourful country, so rich in culture and tradition, while being pampered by its fineries. A Phuket beach resort such as this will make your perfect holiday spent in this sunny corner of the world, a wonderful memory, to be cherished for a lifetime.

The Rocket Festival To Tear Up the Mighty Skies

Thailand is indeed a city of great delights offering many fascinations to keep its travellers occupied. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Thailand is certainly rich with the tang of the Asian cultures as well the zest of the modern development.
A visitor to Thailand will undoubtedly not find time to laze around and spend time idly as the scintillating delights of the country are abundant and plentiful. Complete with beaches, shopping malls, fascinating structures of ancient appeal, as well the savour of the local customs and festivals, make this country truly a place of great entertainment. A visit to Thailand will indeed be an enriching experience for everyone given this plethora of loveliness and delights.
Among the many festivals that are celebrated by the locals in Thailand, the Rocket Festival is one of the most colourful, beautiful and symbolic festivals. The uniqueness of this festival further heightens the appeal of it and makes it one of the most striking festivals in the country. The Rocket Festival which is called the Bung Bang Fai in Thai, is celebrated in the north eastern region of Thailand and is mainly centred around the areas of Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchanthani and Yasothon.
Village crafted rockets tear up the skies during this festival that takes place based on the patterns of the moon from mid May to Mid June. This wonderful festival is believed to bring rains upon the fields of rice in the villages that thrive on the cultivation of rice. It is indeed a beauty to behold as the wonders of the country of Thailand, its culture and traditions are so richly encapsulated in the glory of this festival.
Become a part of the Rocket Festival and create memories that could be cherished forever while also indulging in the finest of luxury of Chiang Rai hotels to have the perfect, blissful holiday experience of your life. A hotel Chiang Rai offers such as Anantara Golden Triangle Thailand will indeed complement your perfect holiday with the ultimate standards of service and excellence, leaving you mesmerized and delighted well beyond measure.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.


The Barong and Keris Dance – Intensely Captivating

Barong Dance is the most popular of all the Balinese Dances. It depicts the typical traditional dance form; where a story -typically a myth or legend- is narrated through a series of choreographed movements and expressions. Indonesian myth and legends have links to the religion that precedes the island; Hinduism. Their tales are so powerful that when emulated in the form of dance it becomes almost hypnotizing. The Barong Dance is one such performance; powerful and intense this dance is the very epitome of the battle between the good and the evil.

The Barong Dance is purely classical and is comprised of a series of traditional moves. The tale narrated through this dance is actually a very interesting one. The dance begins with the beast Barong playfully enjoying the company of 2 monkeys. It then goes on to the ‘Keris Dance’ which narrates the actual legend of Rangda, the mother of the 10th century king of Bali, Erlangga. Her obsession with black magic got her condemned by her husband and as soon as he passed away she waged war on her son Erlangga by summoning the evil spirits from the jungle. This part is very powerfully portrayed in the dance and has a sinister aura about it. The troops of the evil spirits were too strong for Erlangga whose men fell into a trance of possession and turned their Keris towards themselves in a suicidal attempt. It was at this point that the help of Barong was beseeched. Barong the powerful beast cast an even stronger spell that protected the soldier’s from the blade of their Keris. In the end Barong and Erlangga emerge victorious.

This powerful myth in the form of dance captivates its audience. It is through such performances history and myth blend together creating a reality. Despite how entertaining it is, the Barong dance is in fact quite dangerous. There is a risk of serious injury by the pointed blade of the Keris. Perhaps it is this risk that makes the dance even more intriguing and adds a sense of thrill to it.

While choosing from the hotels in Seminyak, the W Retreat & Spa Bali Seminyak tops the list. This 5 star hotel Seminyak has certainly beats all the others.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.Google+

Vesak – Festival of light

Celebrating the birth, enlightenment and the death of Lord Buddha, Vesak is a veritable celebration of light. Celebrated by Buddhists all over the world, Sri Lanka cloaks itself in bright lights, lanterns and much festivity during this time of the year, enveloping the whole of the country in a sense of joyful celebration. There are many Sri Lanka hotels which offer guests accommodation during this time amongst which Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara offrs the additional advantage of treatments of Ayurveda Sri Lanka is quite famous for. Vesak in Sri Lanka falls on a full moon poya day in the month of May and is celebrated for a period of two weeks. During this time, entire families get together to make colourful lanterns and gigantic pandols decorated with multicoloured lights are being put up everywhere in the country depicting stories of Buddha’s life. One is not lacking of forms of entertainment during this period as various types of performances are being held all over the country alongside roads which are keenly participated by many people each night. Also seen commonly during this time of the year is the offering of free food and drinks alongside the roads to the poor and whoever may have it as an act of charity and good will.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Calliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered. Google+

Vesak Celebrations in Singapore – A Day of Celebration Spent in Quiet Reverence

In hushed reverence and quiet veneration, the birth, enlightenment and the death of the Buddha is celebrated by Buddhists scattered the world over on the day of Vesak, the day marked as the most important on the Buddhist calendar. Bathed in the charm of this day, devotees find serenity sublime in the beautiful and symbolic celebrations and rituals that are faithfully followed on the day.

In Singapore, where Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists together abide, the rituals followed slightly vary, while the common chord of peace and good deeds as well as repentance bind the hearts and minds of those who celebrate in strong and significant unison. The day of Vesak is celebrated on the 15th day of the 4th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar in Singapore, on which good deeds and righteous gestures are practiced far and wide owing to the belief that such deeds performed on the sacred day multiplies merit many times over. Hence blood donations are organized in grand scale, mantras are chanted and caged animals are released.

The many statues of the Buddha are illuminated with lights on this day where candlelight processions take place on the streets, while some “bathe” a Buddha statue symbolizing the showers of the waters of the nine dragons that bathed Buddha after birth.

When in Singapore during the time of this festival the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Temple is a great place to observe the quiet celebrations of Vesak. This majestic temple is the second largest temple in Asia as well as being the oldest temple in Singapore. In Chinatown also one may find the beauty of Vesak pulsating with devotion at the spiritual centre of The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple while admiring the wonderful combination of the Buddhist mandala and the remnants of glory of the Tang dynasty expressed in the Buddhist art culture on display there.

For those who would like to visit the country illuminated by a million lights of reverence during the festival of Vesak, Singapore apartment hotels such as the Citadines Mount Sophia Singapore is an ideal place to seek accommodation in as it is one of the leading serviced apartments Singapore has.

Jayani Senanayake is a writer who dabbles in travel and all things exotic. Under the pseudonym of Caliope Sage, she writes of the allures that must simply be discovered.Google+