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Originally International Women’s Day was called International Working Women’s Day. It is celebrated on March 8th every year. The first time it was celebrated was In New York on February 28, 1909, YES 1909!!, to remember the 1908 strike of the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union in New York City.
In August 1910, an International Women’s Conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. 100 women from 17 countries met to promote equal rights. The following year on March 19, 1911 International Women’s Day was celebrated by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women demanded that they be given the right to vote and to hold public office. They also protested against employment sex discrimination. (Well, some things haven’t changed). For many years it was predominately celebrated in socialist & communist countries. Hmmm…
Not until my generation was it embraced by the USA & much of the world. In 1975 The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day because it was also International Women’s Year. 1975!! Then in 1977 the United Nations invited its member to declare March 8th as the United Nations Day for women’s right and world peace.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” – Happy International Women’s Day!
The Lantern Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month, and traditionally ends the Chinese New Year period. In 2017 it falls on February 11.
Lantern Festival Facts
- Popular Chinese name: 元宵节 Yuánxiāojié /ywen-sshyaoww jyeah/ ‘first night festival’
- Alternative Chinese name: 上元节 Shàngyuánjié /shung-ywen-jyeah/ ‘first first festival’
- Date: Lunar calendar month 1 day 15 (February 11, 2017)
- Importance: ends China’s most important festival, the Spring Festival
- Celebrations: enjoying lanterns, lantern riddles, eating tangyuan a.k.a. yuanxiao (ball dumplings in soup), lion dances, dragon dances, etc.
- History: about 2,000 years
- Greeting: Happy Lantern Festival! 元宵节快乐！Yuánxiāojié kuàilè! /ywen-sshyaoww-jyeah kwhy-luh/
Lantern Festival Dates from 2017 to 2019
The Lantern Festival is on the 15th day of the first Chinese lunar month (always between February 5 and March 7).
The Lantern Festival is Very Important
The Lantern Festival is the last day (traditionally) of China’s most important festival, Spring Festival (春节 Chūnjié /chwn-jyeah/ a.k.a. the Chinese New Year festival). After the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year taboos are no longer in effect, and all New Year decorations are taken down.
The Lantern Festival is also the first full moon night in the Chinese calendar, marking the return of spring and symbolizing the reunion of family. However, most people cannot celebrate it with their families, because there is no public holiday for this festival.
When Did the Lantern Festival Begin?
The Lantern Festival can be traced back to 2,000 years ago.
In the beginning of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220), Emperor Hanmingdi was an advocate of Buddhism. He heard that some monks lit lanterns in the temples to show respect to Buddha on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Therefore, he ordered that all the temples, households, and royal palaces should light lanterns on that evening.
This Buddhist custom gradually became a grand festival among the people.
How Do Chinese Celebrate the Lantern Festival?
According to China’s various folk customs, people get together on the night of the Lantern Festival to celebrate with different activities.
As China is a vast country with a long history and diverse cultures, Lantern Festival customs and activities vary regionally, including lighting and enjoying (floating, fixed, held, and flying) lanterns, appreciating the bright full moon, setting off fireworks, guessing riddles written on lanterns, eating tangyuan, lion dances, dragon dances, and walking on stilts.
The most important and prevalent customs are enjoying lanterns, guessing lantern riddles, eating tangyuan, and lion dances.
Lighting and Watching Lanterns
Lighting and appreciating lanterns is the main activity of the festival. When the festival comes, lanterns of various shapes and sizes (traditional globes, fish, dragons, goats! — in 2015, up to stories high!) are seen everywhere including households, shopping malls, parks, and streets, attracting numerous viewers. Children may hold small lanterns while walking the streets.
The lanterns’ artwork vividly demonstrates traditional Chinese images, such as fruits, flowers, birds, animals, people, and buildings.
In the Taiwanese dialect, the Chinese word for lantern (灯 dēng) is pronounced similarly to (丁 dīng), which means ‘a new-born baby boy’. Therefore lighting lanterns means illuminating the future and giving birth.
Lighting lanterns is a way for people to pray that they will have smooth futures and express their best wishes for their families. Women who want to be pregnant would walk under a hanging lantern praying for a child.
Read more about Chinese lanterns.
Guessing Lantern Riddles
Guessing (solving) lantern riddles, starting in the Song Dynasty (960–1279), is one of the most important and popular activities of the Lantern Festival. Lantern owners write riddles on paper notes and pasted them upon the colorful lanterns. People crowd round to guess the riddles.
If someone thinks they have the right answer, they can pull the riddle off and go to the lantern owner to check their answer. If the answer is right, there is usually a small gift as a prize.
As riddle guessing is interesting and informative, it has become popular among all social strata.
The lion dance is one of the most outstanding traditional folk dances in China. It can be dated back to the Three Kingdoms Period (220–280).
Ancient people regarded the lion as a symbol of bravery and strength, and thought that it could drive away evil and protect people and their livestock. Therefore, lion dances are performed at important events, especially the Lantern Festival, to ward off evil and pray for good fortune and safety.
The lion dance requires two highly-trained performers in a lion suit. One acts as the head and forelegs, and the other the back and rear legs. Under the guidance of a choreographer, the “lion” dances to the beat of a drum, gong, and cymbals. Sometimes they jump, roll, and do difficult acts such as walking on stilts.
In one lion dance, the “lion” moves from place to place looking for some green vegetables, in which red envelopes with money inside are hidden. The acting is very amusing and spectators enjoy it very much.
Nowadays, the lion dance has spread to many other countries with overseas Chinese, and it is quite popular in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. In many Chinese communities of Europe and America, Chinese people use lion dances or dragon dances to celebrate every Spring Festival and other important events.
Read more on Chinese New Year Lion Dances.
Eating Tangyuan (Yuanxiao)
Eating tangyuan is an important custom of the Lantern Festival. Tangyuan (汤圆 tāngyuán /tung-ywen/ ‘soup round’) are also called yuanxiao when eaten for the Lantern Festival, after the festival.
These ball-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice flour, with different fillings are stuffed inside, usually sweet, such as white sugar, brown sugar, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, rose petals, bean paste, and jujube paste, or any combination of two or three ingredients. Yuanxiao can be boiled, fried, or steamed, and are customarily served in fermented rice soup, called tianjiu (甜酒 tián jiǔ /tyen-jyoh/ ‘sweet liquor’).
As tangyuan is pronounced similarly to tuanyuan (团圆 /twan-ywen/ ‘group round’), which means the whole family gathering together happily, Chinese people believe that the round shape of the balls and their bowls symbolize wholeness and togetherness. Therefore, eating tangyuan on the Lantern Festival is a way for Chinese people to express their best wishes for their family and their future lives.
It is believed that the custom of eating tangyuan originated during the Song Dynasty, and became popular during the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) periods.
See more on Chinese Desserts.
Where Is Best to See Lanterns in China?
During the Lantern Festival many lantern fairs are held in China, offering tourists the chances to experience Lantern Festival celebrations in public places. Here we recommend four top places for you to appreciate spectacular and colorful lanterns and performances.
- Qinhuai International Lantern Festival (the biggest in China!) is from January 28 to February 14, 2017, at Confucius Temple, Qinhuai Scenic Zone, Nanjing.
- Beijing Yanqing Lantern Festival Flower Exhibition is from the middle of January to the end of February, 2017, in Yanqing County, Beijing.
- Xiamen Lantern Festival is estimated from January 30 to February 14, 2017, at Yuanboyuan Garden, Xiamen City.
- Shanghai Datuan Peach Garden Lantern Festival is from February to March, 2017, at Datuan Peach Garden, 888 Caichuan, Datuan Town, Pudong New District, Shanghai (adults: 40 yuan, students and children under 1.3m: 20 yuan, over 60s: 32 yuan).
The Tall Ship Lynx, a modern interpretation of an 1812 American privateer, is scheduled to sail into St. Pete on Wednesday morning where it has found a permanent winter home.
The 110-foot ship is expected to come under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with full sails sometime around 10 a.m. It will then head into the Vinoy Basin/North Yacht Basin, do a four-gun salute and make her way to Harborage Marina where she will berth until the seasonal dock is finalized right next to the ferry. They plan is to begin opening the boat up to the public for tours, sailing trips, and corporate events this weekend.
The idea of offering the Lynx a permanent berth first came up during then-Mayor Bill Foster’s administration. But the idea never seemed to gel until recently, said Greg Holden, chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently, with the support of Council member Ed Montanari, Mayor Rick Kriseman, local businesses and others, the dream looks as if it might become reality.
“This is one of those five-year, overnight successes,” Holden said.
It’s an “amazing” opportunity for the city, he said. Having a tall ship in port is a draw for businesses and tourists. It’s also an attraction to help more people get out onto the water and to learn a bit of history.
The Lynx, he said, would harken back to the days of the Bounty, which was a reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. The Bounty summered in New England and wintered in St. Pete, operating out of the Pier.
“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Education Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”
The Lynx was built as a hands-on educational tool to teach American history. When she was in St. Petersburg last winter, Peacock said the crew worked with recreational centers in south St. Petersburg and with Admiral Farragut Academy. Kids from both sailed on the ship for a day while they learned how to sail her the way she was sailed in 1812 when the original Lynx went to sea.
“It’s all done by hand,” Peacock said.
Peacock said the Lynx would like to expand its outreach to more schools and recreational centers this year.
The Lynx and its educational programs are run by a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. The funding comes from donations and from the fees that corporations and members of the public pay to go on sails or to rent the Lynx for events.
The Lynx is an interpretation of an 1812 vessel of the same name that was one of the first privateers to take to the seas after the start of the War of 1812. A privateer was used to prey on British merchant vessels. Although the Lynx was designed like a privateer, she was outfitted for trade so she could help keep supply lines open for the Americans during the war. She was captured about a year into the war and saw service as a Royal Navy vessel called the Mosquidobit. In the late 1990s, the modern Lynx was built to the plans of the original.
http://tallshiplynx.com/history/ and Anne Lindberg at http://saintpetersblog.com/tall-ship-lynx-dock-st-pete-permanently/
Yesterday, President Obama and the first family arrived in Cuba. It’s the first time in 88 years that a U.S. President has visited Cuba and that president was Calvin Coolidge in 1928! It took President Coolidge 3 days by battleship to get to Havana but only took President Obama 3 hours to arrive on Air Force One. Upon arrival the First Lady, her daughters & her mother were given beautiful bunches of flowers.
His first Tweet was, “President Obama
@POTUS 19 hours ago
¿Que bolá Cuba? Just touched down here, looking forward to meeting and hearing directly from the Cuban people.” ¿Que bolá Cuba? means “What’s up, Cuba?
I visited Cuba this last summer with dear Cuban friends for 2 weeks and found all of the people I met to be so friendly, happy, caring & giving. I’m sure that Obama & his family will find the same. And I am sure that their visit will be quite different from mine, even though some of the same sites will be seen.
Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
This morning there was an official welcoming reception by President Raúl Castro at the Museo de la Revolucion (the former palace of Fulgenico Batista), where the military band played The Star Spangled Banner. Before he met with President Castro, Obama laid a wreath at the memorial to José Martí, a journalist and poet whose ideals are loved in both Miami and Havana. There are José Martí statues, banners & plaques everywhere in Cuba. Several times a week there were documentaries about him on the Cuban television.
After some sightseeing & various meetings including with American & Cuban business leaders, the President & family will return to the Museo de la Revolucion for a formal dinner. Tomorrow President Obama will be giving a speech on live Cuban television and attending a baseball game between the Cuba National Team and the TAMPA BAY RAYS from St Petersburg, Florida!! I wonder if Raymond, the official mascot for the Rays will be there. ¿Que bolá Raymond? #RaysinCuba
No matter what your political views are or where you stand on the Cuban-American relationship, this is an historical event.
Wow, such a nice article on St Petersburg and the many great art & history museums located here! Thank you.
There is so much to see in St. Petersburg, Florida, an absolutely charming city both in scale and streetscape which has emerged as a cultural center, but with a little planning, 36 hours is just enough to take in the highlights. My first afternoon, I explored the Dali Museum (see 2/12/16), a singular attraction which did much to put St. Pete on the map and trigger an entire renaissance of the city’s waterside downtown, lingering until the museum shut down, and then strolled down Central Avenue to get a taste of the emerging arts districts as night fell.
I occupied the evening at the Sundial, an entertainment center chock-a-block full of lovely restaurants and a movie complex, discovering Locale Market (an even more upscale Whole Foods, if you can believe it), which also has an absolutely delightful restaurant, Farm Table Kitchen.
After a lovely continental breakfast at The Cordova Inn, checking out and stowing my baggage with the hotel, I set out to complete my list of must-see attractions in St. Petersburg, before it is time to leave the city.
Just a short stroll away from the inn is The Museum of Fine Arts, which since my last visit to St. Pete has also been expanded with a whole new wing and atrium. The museum offers an astonishing variety of art works, artists that span eras and genres from antiquity to modern, with each one an absolutely superb example.
In addition to happily coming upon works by some of the most renowned artists who ever painted -Camille Corot, Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet, Renoir, Wyeth, Childe Hassam (“Home Sweet Home Cottage,” painted in East Hampton, LI, 1916, where he visited) – I discover works by scores of artists I have never heard of before but am completely enthralled. I am thrilled to discover Richard Hall (French, became Finnish), represented by “Gathering at Church Entrance,” (1884); Jacques Emile Blanche (French) with his beautiful impressionist work, “Contemplation,” 1883); Georges Daniel De Manfreu, represented by a superb “Portrait of Gauguin” hung next to a Gauguin painting; Victor Dubreuel (“Barrels of $,” 1898, who made a specialty of painting money because he didn’t have any, that made me smile because of how relevant his theme was to today).
The museum has the feel more of a mansion home than an institution, and there are smaller galleries off main galleries – like A Decorative Arts Gallery featuring stunning works by Tiffany, Steuben – where you can just get totally lost in the art; a gallery featuring a modern installation work, “I Remember Birmingham” (1997) by John Scott (1940-2007); a gallery of pre-Colombian art, another of ancient Indian – you feel you are spanning the millennia and miles of civilization in a few steps.
The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida was founded by Margaret Acheson Stuart (1896-1980) and opened in 1965.
A special exhibit, “50 for 50” honors the museum’s 50th anniversary since its opening in 1965, with an ambitious goal to see 50 new works for its ever-evolving collection. The collected items show an amazingly eclectic range of interest and appreciation for artistic process – technique, concept with respect. For example, one of the items are giant photographs from space. It is one of the reasons why the Museum of Fine Arts is “Tampa Bay area’s most comprehensive art collection with major works from antiquity to present day.
The original wing of the museum, designed by architect John Volk, has the feeling of a mansion rather than an institution. In March 2008, reflecting the museum’s growth, it opened a two-story modern addition that houses the special exhibition galleries, the Interactive Education Gallery, Library. There’s also a pleasant cafe and sculpture garden.
Allocate at least two hours to appreciate what is here.
Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, 727-896-2667, http://www.fine-arts.org/.
St. Petersburg Museum of History
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is located around the corner from the Fine Arts Museum, at the entrance to the Pier (now undergoing reconstruction, scheduled to reopen in 2018). This turns out to be a jewel – quite literally since the special exhibit on view is Shipwreck, a fascinating insight into shipwrecks and the modern technology used to discover them and their treasure.
The exhibit spans an amazing span of distinct eras: 1622 shipwreck of the Tortugas, carrying 17,000 objects including gold bars and silver coins; the SS Republic, a passenger ship en route to New Orleans with sorely needed gold and silver to reinvest in the war-torn South, which sunk October1865 in a storm; a 1941 shipwreck of the SS Gairsoppa, a British cargo ship carrying 99 tons of silver, sunk by a U-boat, Artifacts (including gold, silver, rare coins), that have been salvaged, as well as ordinary objects – glass, china- that are mystifying how they survive. (The exhibit ships out June 1).
Another surprisingly fascinating exhibit (even for people who are not huge baseball fans) is “Schrader’s Little Cooperstown” – billed as the “world’s largest collection” of autographed baseballs (4,854) that tell not just the history of “America’s favorite pastime” and baseball’s connection to St. Petersburg (spring training for 100 years, hosting 12 teams), but America’s cultural history, as well. Indeed, a whole showcase devoted to celebrity-signed balls (Olympian Bruce Jenner is one that caught my eye).
A whole wall is presented as a timeline of baseball against a timeline of significant historical events, where there is a 1930s baseball signed by both Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. The timeline is fascinating. (Who knew that Moses Fleetman Walker was the first African American player in the Major Leagues, in 1884?)
Of course, there are the baseballs signed by all the legends: Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Shoeless Joe Jackson as well as leagues such as the Women’s Professional Baseball League and the Negro Leagues, It is fun to come upon them, but the display is actually very organized. Schrader’s Little Cooperstown is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest private collection of autographed baseballs in the world. This semi-permanent exhibit is on view for the next 18 years.
There are real surprises, here, as well. I meet St. Petersburg’s mummy (“Our Lady of the Nile” – an actual, 3000-year old Egyptian mummy which is in an open casket so you can see it in extraordinary detail. (The mummy was x-rayed in 1971 and found to be a 26 year old female). It is part of an exhibit “Life, Death & The Afterlife,” which features a 2600-year old coffin and a replica of King Tut’s Tomb, and a silent film with an Egyptian archeological theme providing an odd musical background. But the story of how this mummy came to be St. Petersburg’s is incredible – it came on a circus boat that needed repairs. When the ship’s captain couldn’t come up with the money to pay the fees, he was forced to give up the cargo; eventually, in 1924, the dockmaster gave the mummy to the city. Something out of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not.
There is also an extremely well done display that tells St. Petersburg’s history, especially its emergence as a tourist destination that coincided with the nation’s economic prosperity and improvements in transportation and infrastructure (and it doesn’t hide its issues with racism).
To highlight that St. Petersburg was the home of the first scheduled commercial flight (between St. Petersburg and Tampa), there is a full-size working replica of the Benoist Airboat, which propelled Tony Jannus into commercial aviation history. suspended from the ceiling taking up the largest room.
Pinellas County’s oldest museum was founded in 1921 as the St. Petersburg Memorial Historical Society. Through the determination and effort of Mary Wheeler Eaton and others, the Society began collecting artifacts, natural history specimens, archival documents, photographs, papers, and “boxes of unknown treasures that were just dropped on our doorstep during the night.”
Allocate an hour or two. St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. N.E. St. Petersburg, FL 33701, 727) 894-1052, spmoh.com.
There is so much more art to explore in St. Petersburg, you can easily occupy all your time immersed in art: Morean Arts Center features these sites: Chilhuly Collection, a permanent collection of artist Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture set in a 10,000 sq./ ft museum building designed by architect Alberto Alfonso, featuring such important installations as the Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, the Float Boat and the Sunset Persian Wall. A separate exhibition space features glass artists from around the world in rotating exhibits. It is located a short walk away from the Fine Arts Museum. (400 Beach Drive NE, 727-896-4527); Morean Glass Studio & Hotshop (719 Central Avenue, 727-827-4527); Morean Arts Center (719 Central Ave, 727-822-7872) and Morean Center for Clay (420 22 St S, 727-821-7162), MoreanArtsCenter.org.
The Warehouse Arts District, once the industrial area, has been transformed into an arts destination, and stretches from 1st Avenue North to 10th Avenue South, and from 16th Street to 31 Street (727-826-7211, whereartismade.com). Follow the Art Map, artsstpete.org. Enjoy the St. Petersburg Art Walk the second Saturday, encompassing the Waterfront, Central Arts, EDGE, Grand Central and Warehouse Arts District, when galleries, warehouses and art studios are open late.
It is delightful to walk or hop the quaint trolley-style bus (the Downtown Looper fare is just 50c, (there are free fare zones, and there’s a free Baseball Shuttle for select games) as well. The trolley actually provides a wonderful sightseeing experience.
A fuller exploration of the arts districts will have to wait for a return visit to St. Pete. Because of my time limitations before I must leave St. Pete, I set a bee-line for the Florida Holocaust Museum (see next).
See: Florida Holocaust Museum
Saturday, February 20, 2016 10:00am Black History Festival
Join the African American Heritage celebration! The second annual event hosted at the Midtown Walmart Neighborhood Market will feature live entertainment, food samples, children’s activities, giveaways and free health screenings from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1794 22nd St. South
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
February 20-21, 2016, St. Petersburg, FL
3rd Annual St. Petersburg Spring Fine Art Festival.
Sponsored by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, City of St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, the 3rd Annual St. Petersburg Spring Fine Art Festival brings original artwork by more than 100 juried artisans from 25 states and around the world. Many local and regional artisans are showing their artwork. The various works include painting, photography, sculpture, metalwork, digital art, jewelry, glass, ceramics, woodworking, mixed-media, fiber art, metalwork.
Hours of the St. Petersburg Fine Art Festival are Saturday 10-5, Sunday 11-5. Admission and parking are free.
This ship will be docked at the Harborage Marina at Bayboro, 1110 Third St. S, St. Petersburg, Florida, for public tours and hands-on sails. The ship, however, is not wheelchair accessible. Various dates & times between Feb 8th & March 14th, 2014 with prices of tours $10 for adults with 12 and younger free and $65 for adults & $35 ages 4-12 for sails. Please call for details and confirmation of prices 1-866-446-5969.
The crew of the Lynx wears authentic early 1800’s maritime clothing. The ship was built to near-exact specifications of the original fast Baltimore schooner design.
The original Lynx was built at Fell’s Point in Baltimore, Maryland during the beginning of the War of 1812 for James Williams, Amos Williams, and Levi Hollingsworth by shipbuilder Thomas Kemp for about $9000-$10,000. Kemp designed ships that were among the first to move away from the traditional European designs and that were better suited for the American waters. She was very fast and easier to maneuver which helped tremendously in outrunning the tradition British ships. Lynx was actually commissioned on July 14, 1812 within one month of war being declared. The ship was larger than most others at the time with a crew of 40 men and six 12-pounder long guns.
I think that it is interesting that he Lynx trained the cast and crew of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. It has won awards for maritime and historic instructional-educational programs for students through the nonprofit Lynx Educational Foundation.