February 8, 2016 The Traveling Gals

February 8, 2016 – The Year of the Monkey The Chinese animal zodiac is shengxiao in Chinese and means “born resembling”.  It is a repeating cycle of 12 years, with each year being represented by an animal and its corresponding attributes. There are many stories about how these animals came to fruition, but common belief is the animals simply represented dates on the calendar.  It is said the Jade Emperor created a race of animals and the first twelve to win the race would be chosen.  Prior to the race, the cat and rat were best friends.  The rat promised…

December 10, 2015 The Traveling Gals 1Comment

The Nutcracker Nothing says Christmas like a performance of The Nutcracker ballet!  The Nutcracker ballet is adapted from The Nutcracker and The Queen of Mice by ETA Hoffman.  The basic story is of a young German girl who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle of against a Mouse King.  The first ballet was commissioned in 1891 by the Moscow Imperial Theater.   The music is by Tchaikovsky and it was originally choreographed by Marius Petipa.  The composer selections known at the Nutcracker Suite Op 71a became instantly popular, but the ballet did not achieve its great prominence as…

December 8, 2015 The Traveling Gals

Holiday Traditions around the World: Christmas in JAPAN Japan is predominately Shinto.   Shinto is an ethnic religion based in ritual practices to connect modern Japan with its ancient past.  It is said to have started in the sixth century, but there is no known scripture or founder so Christmas does not play much of a part in Japan.  The small amount of Christians in Japan celebrate Christmas with an ethnic twist.  For example, the nativity participants are dressed in traditional Japanese costume.  The Christmas tree is decorated with origami ornaments.  The Santa figure is an old man, Hoteiosho who carries…