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 PHILIPPINES

 CHINA
 JAPAN
What Is China's Dragon Boat Festival?

Colorfully-painted dragon boats

It's a traditional festival full of traditions and superstitions, maybe


originating from dragon worship; an event on the sporting calendar;
and a day of remembrance/worship for Qu Yuan, Wu Zixu, and Cao E.
The festival has long been a traditional holiday in China.
On May 20th 2006 it was selected into the first batch of National
Intangible Cultural Heritage items.
In 2008 it was first celebrated as a public holiday in China.
On October 30th 2009 it was added to the UNESCO World Intangible
Cultural Heritage List.
Why Dragon Boat Racing is Held for the
Day?
Dragon boat racing is said to originate from the legend of people
paddling out on boats to seek the body of patriotic poet Qu Yuan (343–
278 BC), who drowned himself in a River.
Dragon boat racing is the most important activity during the Dragon
Boat Festival.
The wooden boats are shaped and decorated in the form of a Chinese
dragon. The boat size varies by region. Generally it is about 20–35
meters in length and needs 30–60 people to paddle it.
During the races, dragon boat teams paddle harmoniously and
hurriedly, accompanied by the sound of beating drums. It is said that
the winning team will have good luck and a happy life in the following
year.
The New Year's is a great time to celebrate the end of a
year and the beginning of another year. For many, there
are so many traditions associated with how they celebrate.
In Japan, there are also customs and traditions associated
with bringing in the New Year. Here are just a few of them.
If you're visiting Japan during the New Year,
congratulations! It's a great time to visit the country.
Contrary to popular belief, all cultures don't celebrate the
occasion in the same way. While it's customary to party on
New Year's Day in many countries in the West, the event
has more significance in Japan. So, how does Japan ring in
the New Year? Get the basics with this overview.
Names for the New Year in Japanese
In Japan, there are two different words to describe New
Year celebrations and New Year's Day itself. The Japanese
New Year celebration is called shogatsu, and New Year's
Day is called gantan. Just as it is in dozens of
countries, Jan. 1 is a national holiday in Japan. But here's
where the similarities between Japan and other countries
drift apart. In Japan, the New Year isn't just another
holiday, it is widely considered the most important
holiday. In many countries that might be the case for
Easter, Christmas or an independence day, but it's
certainly not the case for New Year's Day.
How the Japanese Celebrate the Holiday
It's customary for people in Japan to say to each other
"akemashite-omedetou-gozaimasu," or "Happy New Year,"
whenever they see each other for the first time after Jan.
1. In addition to greeting one another, food plays a huge
part in New Year celebrations.
Japanese people eat special dishes called osechi ryori
during shogatsu. They are packed in a Jubako box, which
has several layers. Each dish has a particular meaning. For
example, they eat prawns for long life, herring roe for
fertility and other foods for specific reasons. It is also
traditional to eat mochi (rice cake) dishes during New
Year's festivities. Zouni (rice cake soup) is the most
popular mochi dish. The ingredients vary depending on
regions and families.
In Western countries, such as the United States, food plays
a role in New Year's celebrations as well, but to a lesser
extent. In the American South, for example, it is customary
to eat black eyed peas for luck or greens or cabbage for
wealth. But these culinary traditions aren't shared by all
Americans.
The Sinulog Festival

The Sinulog Festival is Cebu’s most famous yearly festivity in honor of the
Santo Nino de Cebu image in the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino.

image source: http://cebufinest.com

The Santo Nino image is one of the oldest religious relics in the
country. When Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu in 1521, he
presented the image as a baptismal gift to Rajah Humabon, his wife,
Hara Amihan, and their followers in the Catholic faith, after they were
baptized.

The Sinulog takes place every third week of January and culminates
on a Sunday. The major activities during the festival week are the
procession of the replica image in Cebu City’s major streets, a fluvial
procession of the replica in the Mactan Channel, and the grand
street parade on Sunday featuring floats and dancers representing
schools, towns, and other organizations.

image source: http://kickassreviewer.wordpress.com

The dancers are dressed in bright colored costumes doing the Sinulog
dance to the rhythm of drums, gongs, trumpets and other band instruments.
The Sinulog dance is a forward-backward movement consisting of two
steps forward and then one-step backward.