Monthly Archives: February 2012

Losar

Nepal is describe as ‘Char jat ra chhatis barna ko yo sundar desh’ which translate into Nepali is a beautiful, multilingual and multi-cultural country. If you have met many people from Nepal, you might have noticed how different they look from each other. Please click here for my post ‘Different Look of Nepali people’ for details. Also in Nepal, there are lots of celebrations for different cultural group and ethnic group.

Today is Losar, a festival in Nepal which is celebrated by Mongolian Nepali, mainly by Gurung community as well as Rai, Tamang, Sherpas to welcome their New Year. Losar is celebrated on the first full moon of the first month according to a lunar calendar. On the solar calendar it falls between January and March. Lho means year or age and Sar means new or fresh. The word Lhosar means New Year or beginning of new era.

It is a National Holiday in Nepal so people can celebrate the festival.

Losar is the time when family member gathers and celebrate with cultural processions and feasting. Also on this day, older people give money and blessing to younger ones. I remember when I was young; I used to go to my friend’s place to celebrate Losar as my family doesn’t celebrate Losar (I am from Newar culture so we have our New Year during Tihar. Click here for more info). In her house, I used to get some money as well as lots of delicacies among which I liked sel roti (special Nepali bread) and achar the most.

One of the highlights of this day is that the people who celebrate Losar dress in their traditional outfit and go around Buddist temples. Men wear Bhangra, a white cloth shirt-like apparel tied across the chest and open like a bag at the back (for carrying things), and a Kachhad, like a short sarong or kilt while women wear maroon velvet Ghalek (blouses), enhanced by large gold earrings and semi-precious stone necklaces. Even kids are dressed up in traditional outfits.

To mark the day, all the Buddhist monasteries in the country are decorated with colourful prayer flags and the monks offer prayers for good health and prosperity, If you are in Nepal, the places to visit will be Bouddha and Swayambhu stupas where there will be crowds of people gathered to welcome the New Year.

In Sydney, there is a gathering this weekend to celebrate Losar. There will be many people dressed in traditional dress and there will be entertainment like cultural dance and singing. The best of all, there will be lots of Nepali food including Sel roti and momos

Happy Losar everyone!!!

Maha Shivaratri

If you know Nepal, you might already know that there are lots of festivals every month. Today, we have one of those festivals and it is called Maha Shivaratri. It is believed that Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva was created by his own divine grace so this day is celebrated by Hindus with enthusiasm. Shivaratri literally means ‘ the night consecrated to Shiva’.

Maha Shivaratri is a national holiday in Nepal.

According to a legend, Parvati performed tapas, prayed and meditated on this day to ward off any evil that might befall her husband on the moonless night. Since then, Maha Shivaratri is believed to be an auspicious occasion for women to pray for the well-being of their husbands and sons. An unmarried woman prays for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. Another legend is that Shiva and Shakti married each other on this day.

There is one more legend of Shivaratri associated with Samudra Manthan, a battle between devas and asuras during which a pot of poison came out of the ocean and on the request of gods, Lord Shiva drank the poison. The poison was so potent that it changed the colour of His neck to blue. For this reason, Lord Shiva is also called Neelkanth (one whose throat is blue).

So basically this festival is in honour of the Hindu God Shiva. Today all the Shiva temples will be very busy. One of the best places to see the celebration will be Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu located on the banks of the sacred Bagmati River. There will be thousands of people from all over the world (it is regarded as one of the most sacred temples for Hindus) coming to worship Shiva during the festival.

There will be a mela the days before and after Shivaratri where people fill the roads around the temples of Lord Shiva especially Pashupatinath temple . There will be  holy men, beggars, pilgrims, children and tourists.

The night before Shivaratri, all the devotees from all over the country spend the night lightning sacred fires, singing praises of the deity, and keeping a constant vigil to greet his descent to earth, on the grassy hills around the temple to enjoy the warmth of good companionship and chatting around.

At midnight, the celebration begins officially with priests inside the temple making special offerings. Then devotees will take a dip in holy Bagamati river and start their fasting. They offer Bael leaves to Lord Shiva. They will spend the whole day singing sacred songs around the temple. As all the Sadhus are treated as guest , they will be offered free food and accommodation during Shivaratri.

Shivaratri is the only day in the year where marijuana and bhang is legal in Nepal so on this day devotees indulge in smoking them. It is believed that Lord Shiva is fond of these substances and marijuana is taken as a Prasad.

There are lost of tourists around the Pashupatinath temple on this day as there are lots of Sadhus with ash all over the body and devotees with colourful draping chanting hymns of Lord Shiva.

It is believed that if you worship Lord Shiva this day and fast by eating only vegetarian food, all your sins are forgiven. So there will be queues kilometres long in the Pashupathnath temple whole day.

Also this day, kids and youth block the road for vehicles to collect money which they use to buy bhoj in the evening. Mostly vehicles owners are happy to give a rupee or two. When I was a kid I do remember the block in our area made some of the vehicle owners angry with the kids blocking the roads.

Today I worshipped Shiva’s idol at home in the morning and took his blessings. Hope all my sins will be forgiven and we will be blessed with an awesome 2012.

Happy Shivaratri everyone!!!

Second Life

Have you heard about Second Life before? If not, Google it and you will be amazed how much information is available about this game called Second Life. 

Basically it is an online virtual world where you can create your avatar, meet other avatars and interact with them. Also you can do anything in this virtual life that you can do in your real life. So you can eat, sleep, work, go shopping, throw a party, buy a house and much more. It’s like, if you want to be someone else, this game will allow you to be them. 

I think the reason people are so addicted to this is because you can pick how you look, what you wear and what you want to be called. It is normal for everyone to want to be more beautiful and handsome than they are so this game will allow people to go to the next level. 

This game is similar to the Sim City PC game but in a more personal level. 

From their website, they describe themselves as: 

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 4,315,826 people from around the globe.”

I have never played it but as far as I know it is free to create your second life account but it is very basic avatar. It is really limited as well so if you want to continue, they sell Premium membership which will cost you US$9.95/month, US$22.50 quarterly, or US$72/year. So yes you have to pay to be someone else. 

But the most important part to remember in this game is that you need to spend your hard earned money to buy virtual cash which they called Linden Dollars. So if people are addicted, they tend to spend not only lots of time but lots of their hard earned money to be in this game. The shopping you are doing for your virtual avatar, the car you bought or house you are planning to buy all need Linden Dollars. 

Simple changes in your avatar like having a pigtails costs 200 Lindens and glittery clogs is 400 Lindens. If you buy an island it costs you $1300 in real money and on top of that $195 upkeep charge monthly. Now you can do the maths on how much people are spending to be a part of this virtual world. 

I am not sure how people can justify spending so much money to live a virtual life. I do understand small sums spent for entertainment but you can spend all your savings in this game if you become too addicted and want everything for your avatar. 

Because of all these games out there, people are becoming less social in real life and also more obese as they sit in their chair the whole day making sure their avatar looks good and happy while the real person is not getting any exercise or meeting any people. 

The most amazing thing for me about Second Life is how people have time to manage it as I  know it takes quiet a lot of time to make sure your avatar is managed well and is socialised properly. I am struggling to even manage my time in this real life; I can’t imagine having two lives to manage. It is definitely not for me. 

To have an account in this game is not bad but to make this game your life is a very stupid thing in my opinion. Seriously, live your real life happily than trying to find happiness in a virtual life. 

Read some of the story on what happens in Second life.

Avatars and Second Life adultery: A tale of online cheating and real-world heartbreak .

Do you have a Second Life? Why do you play it?

The V day

Did I tell you that I am hopelessly romantic? 🙂 

This is our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple. Everyone told me that all romance dies off after a while once you get married and I am here to prove them wrong. This is what I have planned for our old age (Hope my husband reads this.)

I want to be an 80 years old grandmother with a romantic husband who comes home with roses for me on Valentine’s Day with a box of chocolates or a cake 🙂 . Judging by what he did the day before, I am sure it will happen in the future. 

Anyway the day before was Valentine’s Day if any of you missed that. It is still not too late to buy a rose for you partner yet. It was our second Valentine’s Day together as I mentioned in my previous post (Click here if you missed that). But it was our first as husband and wife (I feel so old when I remember that I am a married woman now). So when I opened my eyes in the morning, I hugged him and wished him a very happy Valentine’s day. It felt so nice to have him next to me.  I feel so lucky to be blessed with such happiness. 

So as usual, I woke up and was ready to go to the shower when he asked me to go to the kitchen and make some breakfast. Normally, our breakfast is cereal and boiled egg during weekdays so I was not in a hurry to make it. I told him I will do it after the shower and went to brush and have shower. Once I got out, again he asked me to go to the kitchen, I was planning to get ready and then I would go to the kitchen. I was a bit annoyed that he kept insisting for me to go to make breakfast but I thought I better do it. 

So I just went to kitchen to boil some eggs and there it was on our dining table, a roses and a card. That’s when I got why he was asking me to go to the kitchen so early in the morning. I was really touched so I went back to the bedroom to thank him. He had this big grin on his face (like a satisfied lion) happy that he was able to surprise me.  The card read, 

For my Wife M

On valentine day

I lose my socks

I lose my head

Sometimes I lose my ways…

I’d like to lose a kilo or two (but they seem here to stay)

I lose my drive to get things done

Sometimes my temper too…

But there’s one thing

I‘ll never lose,

And that’s my love for you

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Love

A (with smiley).

Every word in that card was just so true and felt like every word described our relationship so well.  It made my day. The smell of the flowers was so sweet and I couldn’t stop smiling the whole day. 

Last year we exchanged our gifts after work so I was thinking to do the same this year. I wasn’t prepared in the morning and I felt bad. I knew what I was going to do but I couldn’t risk of him finding out a day in advance. Also I have no idea how he pulled it off but I had no clue that he had bought flowers already the day before. When I asked him where he hid the flowers, he said that he can’t tell otherwise he won’t be able to do it again. 

Just to be in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I wore a red dress to work that day and it was nice to see some of my work mates doing the same. 

I had already bought perfume for him but it was at work. I went and bought a heart-shaped cake from the bakery. They sell amazing delicious cakes so I was sure that one will be great as well. 

When I gave him his gifts, he guessed it was a cake, how disappointing. Anyway he loved his cake and perfume. 

It is funny that we didn’t go and watch the Vow as it was the Valentine movie this year. Instead we went and watched The Safe House. It was an ok movie for me as there is too much gun fight but AS loved it. 

After that we went for dinner. The restaurant was full with lots of couples. To start with we had chicken and corn soup, followed by roast and seafood. They have lots of choices for salads as well. Then for desert we had chocolate mousse, cheese with crackers and fruits. Finally we had tea/coffee to wrap up our dinner. Once dinner was over, they had Vegas Spectacular show on the stage. It was just amazing with Brazilian music with show girls and guys performing. They had great audience participation and the MC was so funny. It was total entertainment. I just loved the whole act and the girls were just amazing. 

After the show we danced to a few songs and it was over for the evening. As both of us were working the next day, it was time to go home to our warm bed. Overall, it was an awesome Valentine’s Day with my husband. Just loving him more 🙂 

Share the love…

It is February and month of love. If you haven’t notice I have even changed the banner in my blog since the first of February to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I am a hopelessly romantic person and I have always wished that men were more romantic than they are. Anyway I can’t change that but at least my husband understands that romance is very important to me so he always makes sure that we have a great time during special occasions. Valentine’s is one of them. 

I know Valentine’s days has become so commercialised that it seems like buying the most expensive gift is the best way to express love to your loved ones but I am not in that bandwagon. For me the thought counts more, so no matter what he buys me, if he has put some thought into buying the gift, that is the best gift ever. 

I read somewhere that Valentine’s Day is a complete hype created by the candy companies, card companies and flower mongers to capitalise and make money on something that comes from the heart. I agree with that but then you can always be creative and not spend all that money anyway. 

I know all the advertisement on TV and papers are about making us spend lots of money on their products but believe in me, most women (I am saying most because I am sure some women have a different idea) will love a small gift like a box of chocolate or flowers for Valentine’s day just so you let her know how much you love her. I even told my husband that I don’t need a big bouquet of red roses as they are triple the price on Valentine’s Day than any other day. He can always buy me that bouquet on some others days when it is not as expensive. 

I think the best gift for your partner can be something you can make with lots of love. I made a scrap book with photos and memories of our time together one time. It was very personal and it didn’t cost me much but I spent lots of time making sure that every page reflected our happiness. Another thing I have done is made heaps of small cards with message which can be used later. Like a card said “Today is the time for you to get a massage. Exchange this coupon for a kiss and massage”. It was really fun as I gave this to him last valentine. Also Valentine ’s Day cupcake is awesome idea too which I did last year. It was cheap and personal as I put his name in the cupcake  🙂

I know not everyone is lucky to have their Valentine close to them so make sure if you are planning to send something, do in time so it reaches your loved one for the day. We have been through that. Our first ever Valentine’s days as a couple, we spent apart. But I remember it being on a weekend so we spent the whole day Skyping. I wanted to surprise him so I sent him a cake and flower through an online store. So he got that while we were online. I loved the expression on his face. 

But for him everything didn’t go as planned. He ordered a teddy bear and flower for me online. He didn’t tell me because he wanted to make sure it was a surprise. Unfortunately the company didn’t delivery it on that day. So he had to tell me and I had to follow up with the company. They messed it all up (never apologized) and delivered it two days later. I was really angry with the company as they charge arms and legs on Valentine’s Day for those items. But I was really happy just to know that my then fiancé had put an effort to make sure our first Valentine’s was special. 

I know some people may argue against celebrating Valentine’s Day. If I love my partner 365 days of the year and buy flowers occasionally then why do I have to show it only on that date. My answer to them is, as a gift given to any person on March can’t be considered a Christmas gift or having a turkey in June doesn’t make it Thanksgiving, in the same way Valentine’s Day is in February even though you like it or not. You can argue all you like but I am sure your partner may not have the same idea as you do. You can surprise the one you love with a romantic gesture on some other day throughout the year but do it on this day as well if that makes a difference to your partner. If you both agree not to celebrate, then that is a different story. 

Last year we celebrated our first Valentine’s day together. It was really a treat as it felt so good to wake up in the morning and wish him Happy Valentine than waiting for him to wake up and Skyping with all the time difference. Anyway we went to Sydney tower for dinner and I couldn’t ask for more. He bought me flowers and made me smile the whole day. A perfect day. 

Also last year he uploaded this special photo on his profile in Facebook and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The photo was taken when we were mocking around during our photo shoot. I just loved it and that is the most romantic gesture ever. Normally he doesn’t like pubic display of affections unlike me but he just melted my heart with this photo.

This year, we are planning to go out for dinner as well. Will update with more details later. Let me know what you are planning for Valentine ’s Day. Also if you have some great gift ideas, do share. 

Hope this Valentine ’s Day is the best you ever had!!!