Budae Jjigae; Korean Army Camp Stew

The tenacity and persevering nature of the Korean people have been a hallmark of culture on the peninsula for centuries. One may be surprised to learn that a relatively seemingly modern dish is a testament of this will to endure and to adapt to circumstances, no matter how tough they may be.

The History

During the Korean War, food was incredibly scarce. After the war came to an armistice agreement in 1953, the civilians residing in what was then to be called “South Korea”, were forced to look for food wherever they could, as much of the population was starving or at risk of starving constantly. In the Uijeongbu (의정부) area, local people began to gather around the American army base present there. It was the surplus food from this base, with the processed meats like hot dogs, ham, and SPAM, as well as the canned baked beans, issued as rations to the soldiers, that local people began using to supplement their diets. Sometimes frying them along with other veggies and enjoyed with drinks like makgeolli (막걸리/thick rice wine). Over time anchovy sauce, gochujang (고추장/thick red spicy pepper sauce) and kimchi (김치/spicy fermented cabbage) were added to the dish. This is when the meal began to take on its more recognizable appearance. It also completed the name! Budae (부대) means “army base”, named for the American army base where a bulk of the ingredients came from, and Jjigae (찌개) which means “stew”. Supposedly the name was even called, “Jonseun-tang/존슨탕” named after President Lyndon B. Johnson who is reported to have tried the stew and loved it during an official visit to Korea. There was even a black market for a time, selling some of the army surplus ingredients, as they were outlawed for civilian consumption during this period. Luckily today, budaejjigae is more than legal! There is even a budaejjigae street in Uijeongbu that specializes in the army stew.

Ingredients

Korean Army Stew

For those interested in making some at home, or just generally curious about what makes this stew so special, here are the following ingredients. Korean food culture is very dynamic, deeply tied to tradition but very willing to adapt and try new things. Hence why this list is just the most classic type of budaejjigae. But I have been to restaurants that serve it with squid, shrimp, with different types of noodles and sometimes with mozzarella cheese thrown in!

Budaejjigae will almost always include most of the following; kimchi, hot dogs, SPAM, tofu, onion, mushrooms, spicy pepper, scallions, anchovy broth, gochujang, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, garlic and instant ramen. You read that correctly! Instant ramen, hot dogs and SPAM. All together in one place and they are delicious! Other ingredients can be swapped in or out to fit an individuals taste or creativity.

Preparation

As for cooking, well I am not a chef! My wife makes sure to remind me that almost every time I cook, so checking out recipes online at sites like maangchi.com and other great sources for Korean food are much wiser. The basic run down is, to chop and dice all the ingredients. Add them all together in a pot and pour in the broth for the stew. Let the stew boil until the pork and some of the other ingredients like the onions are a bit soft. Then add the ramen and stir it in. Some budaejjigae has slices of American cheese placed on the broth when the ramen and other ingredients are finished boiling, or even boiled together with the other ingredients.

Taste!

As for the taste, “amazing” isn’t very objective, and so to try and give an unbiased review, it can be described as certainly a bit spicy, salty, savory and the broth can also occasionally be sweet. This dish is often enjoyed by students, especially college students and young adults (or anyone, its delicious!) who are hanging out and drinking together. It goes great with soju (소주) which is hard Korean rice liquor. Budaejjigae is also a group meal, so finding solo dishes of it are uncommon as far as I know. However, there are instant cup ramen and packaged ramen that are flavored like budaejjigae.

Deceptively simple at first glance, budaejjigae is a testament to Koreans and their tenacity and strong will to survive and persevere. Budaejjigae represents a staunch and noble pursuit of a better life and yearning for happiness, despite the pain and impoverishment caused by a cataclysmic war. For budaejjigae, the army stew, we salute you!

Bayanihan: Communal Spirit in Philippines

In the video below I’ll be explaining a core essence of Filipino culture: bayanihan.

Bayanihan is a Filipino term derived from the word bayan meaning community, nation, or town. Pronounced like “buy-uh-nee-hun”, Bayanihan literally means, “to be a bayan”. Basically, it’s used to refer to a group or a community coming together and helping one another to achieve a common, greater goal. It promotes a culture of empowerment and empowerment of every person through innovation, teamwork and action.

Local Filipina Jas can tell you all the concept of Bayanihan

Moving homes

One of the best and most known examples of bayanihan is the past tradition of neighbors helping a relocating family. Volunteers are gathered within a community to help carry a whole house to a new location.

Unlike modern houses today, which are made from cement, concrete and bricks, traditional Filipino houses were made from nipa and bamboo; and built on stilts. This example of bayanihan is done by placing long bamboo poles crosswise and lengthwise below the house. Its then carried using this bamboo frame.

As you can imagine, this is a heavy task, and it requires a fairly large number of people, often about 15-30 people, depending on the size of the house. They work together to carry the entire house to its new location. While it’s tough, all this is done in a festive and happy mood. At the end of the day, those who received help will express their gratitude often in form of hosting a small fiesta for those who helped. Everyone has worked hard, and it’s now time to party!

Kababayans

The Bayanihan spirit shows Filipinos’ concept of supporting each other most especially in times of need. Another feature is that one should is helping another at free will, without expecting anything in return. Filipinos strongly believe in supporting their “kababayans” (fellow countrymen). They do this in any possible way they can and actively reach out to offer help. It’s a beautiful Filipino mentality of helping one another.

The traditional form of bayanihan is rarely performed nowadays. More and more people have moved from small rural communities to large cities for their career. However, it’s beautiful to see that the bayanihan spirit lives on. For example, during natural calamities or disasters we see a strong sense of community. Filipinos will reach out and help their kababayans in need. This is the Bayanihan spirit.

How Filipinos Celebrate Christmas

No one celebrates Christmas better than Filipinos. In fact, the Philippines is known for celebrating the longest Christmas season in the world. It starts as early as September or the “ber” months, and ends one Sunday after the New Year or “Three Kings”. And while Christmas is celebrated worldwide, we Filipinos have customs and traditions that we can uniquely call ours. Here are some of them.

In the Philippines, Christmas starts as early as September. You can already see Filipinos decorating their homes with Christmas lights, huge Christmas trees, and of course, Philippine lanterns, or ‘parols’ made from bamboo sticks and colorful papers.

Local Filipino Christmas Songs

Aside from this, you can feel the Christmas spirit when you go to the malls or listen to the radio because you’ll be hearing timeless Christmas classics by Jose Mari Chan and other Christmas carols.

Simbang Gabi: Attend Mass

The Philippines is a Christian country and that’s why we believe in going to church together as a family. From December 16 up until the 24th, Filipinos attend mass with their family before the break of dawn, this is why we call it simbang gabi. After this, we make a wish and we believe that it will come true.

Noche Buena: Food

The highlight of Christmas for us. We celebrate the eve of Christmas with our families, with all kinds of food on the table. We have lechon, pancit, leche flan, and other kinds of food.

We believe that it’s more fun in the Philippines, especially when you celebrate Christmas not only with your families, but with friends and other people that you love as well.

Indian Customs When Visiting Someone’s Home

Visiting someone’s home in India obliges you to treat the host with utmost courtesy and respect, especially if it’s your first time. To shine as an exceptional and always-welcome guest remember mother dear’s missive to ‘Be polite!’ Also, a little research beforehand helps you avoid any major faux pas.

In India, the hosts are incredibly welcoming and cater to the needs of the guests in the most lavish manner. This is mainly due to the firm belief of Indians in an old Sanskrit saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ that means ‘Guests are the forms of God’. These words lay down the ideal host-guest relationship in India.

In order to get you the perfect guest score, we’ve done the groundwork so you are confident when you are invited to an Indian home.

Accept the invitation cordially

If you’ve frequent interaction with your Indian acquaintances, chances are you’ll be invited to their home for a meal. Refrain from rejecting the invitation unless you have a plausible reason. Inviting someone to their home is an Indian way of expressing respect and affection.

Greeting, The Indian Way

When you visit, make sure to learn also more about the Indian greeting habits in the guide below.

Bring a gift for the honouree

Taking a beautifully wrapped gift for the host is appreciable guest etiquette that shows your gratitude to the host. Should you face a difficulty deciding what to get, a box of sweets or any item from your culture is welcomed. Also, you can never go wrong with home decor, flowers, and artisan type chocolates.

Follow Indian standard time

It is there for a reason! In India, it is considered bad manners to arrive sharp on time, much to the consternation of some exceptionally punctual Westerners.  While it is best to arrive 15-20 minutes late, make sure it’s not too late. Anything later than 30 minutes toes the inconsiderate line.

Dress Modestly

While the clothing ranges from conservative to very modern, it’s best to always err on the side of the caution. If you’re invited to someone’s home avoid revealing clothes and exposed skin as these are frowned upon and make everyone uncomfortable. While the fairer sex is more pressurized to dressing modestly, men are also expected to put on decent attire. Of course, this depends also a lot of the person you’re visiting.

Wear a clean pair of socks

Many traditional Indian families usually take off their footwear outside the main door as they are considered unclean. This custom is no more followed in some households so you can wait to be instructed by the host. And when in doubt, do what the host does.

Return the salutations pleasantly

The commonest way to greet anyone in India is to hold hands together and say ‘Namaste’ which means ‘I greet you with no previous inhibitions or prejudices. While shaking hands is becoming quite an ordinary practice, refrain from giving hugs and air kisses unless the host initiates it. 

Don’t refuse a glass of water

It is customary in India to offer a glass of water to the guests on their arrival. This tradition dates back to ancient days when people had to walk miles bearing scorching heat due to lack of efficient transportation. Although the modes of transportation got better with time, this tradition got rooted in society. Even if you’re not thirsty, take a sip to show respect.

Stay for Dinner

Out of respect the host may ask you to stay for dinner. Don’t refuse, unless you’ve a good reason. For more information about eating habits and table manners read the article below:

Get the conversation going..

There is no surer way to a horrible visit for your host and for yourself than a colossal failure to start a chat. One trick to get the conversation going is to talk about politics and culture without sounding derogatory or condescending.  Also, beware of your appendages for some of them, like pointing finger, is considered rude.

At the end of the visit, make sure to pay the same respect by inviting the host to your place. Of course, prepare and treat them with the same hospitality as they treated you.

Happy visiting 🙂

Indian Eating Habits & Table Etiquette

In India, It’s rightly said that the mastery of table etiquette is supposed to reveal important parts of one’s character. Excellent table manners while having a sumptuous meal means you are thinking about the other people you’re with and respecting their presence. In this guide, learn about all the Indian also saving yourself from getting humiliated.

We’ve done the groundwork so you will feel confident when you have to dine at an Indian restaurant or with an Indian family.

Don’t say no without a plausible reason

First thing first, the natives of India firmly believe in an old-saying ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ which means ‘the guest is god’ so the visitors are treated in the most humble and pleasant manner by the hosts.

Therefore, if you’re invited for a meal, refrain from rejecting the invitation for frivolous reasons because it might be an offense to a respectable gesture of the host. And you’ll miss great Indian dining experience.  This may also be the case if you’re on a business trip.

The right way to eat (with bare hands)

Once the host announces that food will be served shortly, you must go wash your hand thoroughly and pat it dry because many Indians prefer to eat food with a bare hand.  It is highly recommended that you eat with your right hand and use the left hand to serve food or to pass dishes around the table.

Why Indians eat with bare hands

Also, this traditional way of eating has an Ayurvedic reference which states that the nerve endings on your fingertips stimulate digestion. Moreover eating with hands is said to evoke emotion because eating is primarily a sensory experience. You are welcome to use the cutlery if you aren’t accustomed to eating with hands.

Offering to God

In many Indian families, there is a long-surviving tradition to offer a cooked meal to the deity as a token of devotion and respect. And for this sole reason, the food is not tasted during the preparation. It is believed that food eaten in this manner is free from bad omen and has a spiritual blessing. After this, the host normally serves food to everyone or you will be instructed to help yourself.

Sharing is caring

It is a custom in India to share food with others but only from the serving dish or bowl. Under no circumstance should you offer anybody food from your plate or help yourself to some from theirs because it is considered highly unhygienic and offensive in most parts of India.

Also, if you are offered more servings by the host avoid refusing unless you’re really full. Saying ‘have one more serving’ is a traditional Indian way of showing affection. The more you eat, happier the host as quantity of the food you eat shows if you’ve enjoyed the meal or not.

Have no leftovers

In Indian households, it is not appreciated if you have leftovers on your plate. Families believe in not wasting food as there are millions of people who die of starvation. There are two ways to avoid wasting food- either you indulge in the dishes that tempt you out of all that is served or you take tiny portions of everything that is on the table. Once you’ve wolfed down the meal, stay seated until everyone is done eating or it conveys bad table etiquette.

Lastly, do not forget to pay a compliment to the host for the delicious meal.

Conclusion

In India, dining etiquette plays an imperative role, much like in other culinary cultures. The convention of eating in India mirrors the nation’s traditions and cultures. Although the table manners may slightly differ in certain regions of India, the basic etiquettes will help you display an immaculate table manner.

Happy eating 🙂

5 Must Know Indian Pregnancy Traditions & Customs

Pregnancy and childbirth are treated with a plethora of traditional precautionary measures in each and every corner of the world. This is no different in India.

These customs are believed to keep the mother and the unborn child safe from any harm. Just as every pregnancy is unique, the customs and traditional practices vary from one place to another from pregnancy myths to predicting baby’s sex.

We’ve master-crafted a list of Indian Pregnancy Customs in order to get you familiar with some traditional practices.

1. Punsavana- The male-making rite

Considering India’s obsession with the male child, it’s no wonder that people perform male-making rite during the third month of the pregnancy sanctifying the fetus and emphasizing the continuity of a family through a male heir. The prevalent belief of many states that the deity governing the sex of the fetus is activated and a male child is assured. Sons are preferred over daughters because the traditional social set-up in India focuses on the son as being the breadwinner of the family, caretaker of the parents, and the one to light the funeral pyre of the parents.

2. Simmanantannaya—also known as Valaiakappu

A popular Indian practice known as Simmanantannaya is the custom where the pregnant lady wears red or green glass bangles from the seven months of gestation. The sound of these bangles is believed to reach the womb and comfort the fetus. Also known as Valaiakappu, the focus of this sacrament is the well-being of the baby. These bangles are removed after the delivery of the baby and given to the midwife.

3. Godhbharai- the Indian version of Baby Shower

Godhbharia is a well-cherished Indian custom that roughly translates to ‘fill the lap.’ After the seventh month of pregnancy, Indian families celebrate a woman’s pregnancy by performing prayers, showering the would-be-mother with blessings and gifts, and throwing a lavish meal in the unborn baby’s honor. Traditional festive tunes are played during the function to make it a fun event.

4. Seemantham: Uplifting the brain of the baby in the womb

According to the Indian custom, this ceremony is organized by the in-laws of the to-be-mom during the fifth, seventh, or ninth month of pregnancy. In this ritual the pregnant lady listens to religious hymns and the sound of the glass bangles to calm her mind and send a positive vibe to the baby in the womb.

In fact, this custom is supported by a scientific study that baby’s memory cells start to activate after the seven months of pregnancy. Hence the unborn child can record the sounds and vibrations from its surroundings. Elders believe that by performing seemantham, the baby will be sharp and intellect.

5. Avoid funerals

As per the traditional Indian belief, during pregnancy women ought to abstain from funerals for the fear of the dearly departed souls lingering too close to an unborn child. The natives carry the belief that nurturing a new life and giving a farewell to one don’t mix well. So avoiding funerals is a precautionary measure to provide safe and positive ambiance to the unborn baby and the mother-to-be.

All these customs are performed to ward off evil from the pregnant lady and pray for the well-being of both to-be-mom and the unborn child.

Concluding notes

Just like marriages, pregnancy is also celebrated with much fervor in India, the land of customs and traditions. Many rituals are passed down from ancestors through generations and have undergone numerous changes. However, the basis of these traditions remains the same- to pray for a safe pregnancy and birth of a healthy child.

While the above traditions remain relevant today, some younger generation Indian couples may attach less significance to them relative to older generations. The actual implementation will somewhat depend on family background, how one is raised.

Indian Greeting Customs

Greetings are exchanged as delightful pleasantries worldwide. While it seems simple enough, this “first impression” greeting conveys your respect for others. How you may wonder? When you are aware of the traditional greetings of a country, it sends a powerful message about how you view and value other cultures.

In India, although a western-style handshake is gaining huge momentum, there are instances when it is not accepted resulting in a completely unseemly experience. So what do you do? Shake hands? Go in for a hug? Or give an air-kiss? A greeting can get awkward at times, isn’t it?

In this guide we’ll describe different methods of greeting while also including the actual greetings in Indian language.

Different ways of greeting in india

In order to save you from embarrassment, we’ve master-crafted a list of appropriate greetings when in India.

1. Stand up to greet ‘Namaste’

In much of India Namaste with a simple bow is the go-to greeting followed by the question about one’s well-being. “Namaste” translates to “I bow to thee” or “I honor the Godhead within.” In India, this traditional greeting is done by pressing both the palms together and touching the forehead to express your sincere regard. A warm smile is the icing on the cake! As Indian culture is based on a hierarchical system so elders are greeted first to show your reverence towards them. Make sure you stand up and greet the people unless you are completely bed-ridden.

2. Get blessed as you touch elder’s feet

In addition to saying ‘Namaste’, touching the elders’ feet has been an ancient Indian tradition to express utmost respect regarding age, experience and achievements of the person. It has been believed for ages that if a young individual touches the feet of the elders then the former receives blessings for his long and prosperous life. The elders bless the person touching their feet for long and prosperous life. This gracious gesture demonstrates your respect for the Indian customs which will gain you some brownie points.

3. Hearty Handshakes

Handshakes are becoming a more popular and convenient way of greeting in India especially in metropolitan cities. While firm handshakes are common among westernized Indian men, they avoid greeting women the same way unless she offers her hand. This is mainly due to the reason; even a brief touch is taken as an intimate action in orthodox Indian environment. Therefore, many Indian women avoid contact with men in public situations. And yes, offer your right hand for a handshake as the left hand is prejudiced to be unclean.

Addressing someone

While it is customary to address elders by the relationship you share with them and not by their first name, in case of strangers you can go try ‘Sir/ Ma’am’ and ‘Uncle/Aunty’ for more familiar people. The Hindi words “bhai/bhayya” (brother) and “behen” (sister) are often used to summon people around your age. In order to your respect towards an individual you can also add gender-neutral suffix ‘-ji’ onto a person’s first name.

Avoid cultural faux pas

Most of the Indian are big on personal space so while having a conversation allow an arm’s length space with people. Also, try not to touch anyone’s head as it is considered rude in many parts of India. Additionally pointing footwear at people is considered an insult because it is believed that foot and footwear are unclean. So if you accidentally happen to hit someone with your foot, do apologize.

These Indian Greeting Customs will show your new Indian acquaintances that you’re committed to being respectful and courteous.

Happy Greeting 🙂

Indian Customs Before Entering a New Home

Entering a new house signifies an incredible beginning in your life and each one of us would want to start on a happy note with positive energy. To have a great start in the new abode people all around the world believe in aplenty housewarming rituals that are purported to bring good luck to the home. From lighting candles your first night at home and burning sage to boiling milk and prepping meals, there is no end to the list of rituals people have used to break in their new digs.

In India moving into a new home is considered only second in ceremonial importance to that of a wedding, and many acts are performed to bless the home and ward off evil spirits. You may be familiar with some of the much-believed-rituals but some might surprise you.

We’ve master-crafted a list of the most essential prerequisites of an auspicious move to your new home.

Pick an auspicious date and time

The first thing that you need to do is ask a learned priest to pick out the best suitable date and time to perform the most important rituals before you set foot inside your new house. It is believed that the time when the ceremony is performed is extremely crucial to get the best out of the ritual and to ward off evil spirits.

Perform Vastu Puja (Architectural worship)

According to Vastu Shastra ‘Science of architecture,’ a house has to be constructed following some specific principles to integrate architecture with nature otherwise it might be a magnet to evil forces. To eliminate any fault the house might have incurred due to flaws in the design and construction, the family is recommended to perform a fire ritual on the threshold of the new home as fire embodies warm feelings and spiritual guidance.

Right is right

We’ve been prejudiced for centuries that anything in the right side is always correct and have bias opinion to something on the left. Possibly derived from this perception the Indian custom states, the first footstep inside the house ought to be your right foot for a good omen.

Perform Griha Pravesh Puja (First entry into the house ceremony)

It is important to perform a traditional Vedic Griha Pravesh Puja to ensure everything goes well and to sanctify the home from any inauspiciousness. For this ceremony, a shrine room is prepared with a picture of a deity and a small oil lamp in the north-east direction of the house. Griha Pravesh is usually centred on Lord Ganesh (the elephant-headed god), who is regarded as the protector of mankind and the one who bestows good fortune and riches to a family.

Boiling milk

The ritual that follows the Griha Pravesh ceremony is boiling milk until it spills over the rim of a new open-pot. This symbolizes the abundance of prosperity and food which will bless the house. A glass of that milk is then offered to God and the rest of it is served to the family members. This gesture signifies that both joys and sorrows are to be shared amongst the family member.

Precautionary measure to ward off negative forces

Fresh chilies and limes are threaded together on the front doorway to protect the home and family off any undesirable intentions or ‘evil eye’ that may be brought to the house by visitors or strangers.

These rituals help make your home a haven. After all:

“Home is where love resides,

where memories are created.

friends are always welcome

and laughter never ends.”

Getting the Most Out Of Your Business Trip To Singapore

Singapore offers a little bit of everything for anybody traveling to Southeast Asia. However, the question is, what makes Singapore an attractive hub to investors and business people alike?

Multicultural Society

Singapore boasts four predominant cultures: Malay, Chinese, Eurasian, and Indians. Business people can take a trip to this city-state to enjoy the cultural diversity.

Ease of Doing Business

Singapore offers a smooth and short process for acquiring business permits and setting up shop within the country – both for locals and non-locals. Additionally, Singapore is among the first nations within Asia to embrace new tech for business people to use.

Are you planning to visit Singapore any time soon for a business trip? Here are excellent pointers to make the most out of your stay there.

Find the Right Accommodation

Singapore has plenty of excellent places of accommodation for business travelers. If you are looking forward to staying there for an extended period, you can always check in to corporate apartments.

These apartments are designed for business tourists and are 30% cheaper than hotels. Additionally, they’re fitted with modern facilities alongside social amenities located within the neighborhood.

Get Connected   

Singapore is a telecommunication hub and, being a corporate center of the Asian continent, staying connected is easy. You can easily buy a SIM card; however, you will need to show your passport at the time of purchase.

Besides that, the city-state is supplied with high-speed free internet.

Understand the Language

Singaporeans speak Malay, Mandarin, and English. Also, there is Singlish, which borrows heavily from English. It is crucial that you understand a few phrases from the local languages which may come in handy when you need help.

Get Yourself a Work Permit

Singapore has strict immigration rules. If you’re visiting the country for a business trip, having a work permit is essential. Besides a work permit, it is also important to know how you’ll get your visa.

This shouldn’t be a bother. You can visit Visa Express, where you can find assistance in getting the necessary documentation for a trouble-free stay.

Your Behavior

Singapore has made significant progress thanks to the discipline of its citizens. As a foreigner, you’ll be required to behave well else you will find yourself on the wrong hand of the law. Here are some of the don’ts: do not litter, avoid PDA (Public Displays of Affection), and avoid emotional behavior in public.

Carry the Right Clothes

Singapore has a tropical climate, meaning the weather there is hot and humid. Cotton clothes are the best since they allow for proper aeration and comfort. Additionally, get yourself an umbrella or a stylish raincoat for the rainy days.

Be Polite

This is standard in all countries. Always be sure to let the hosts speak first during meetings, keeping your interruptions low if possible. Additionally, make your speech or talk brief and to the point.

How Asians Celebrate Christmas

Christmas in Asia celebrated in a big way irrespective of the smaller number of Christians and Catholics compared to the rest of the world. Most of the Asian countries does not recognize Christmas as a public holiday.

World’s longest Christmas season is celebrated in Philippines which begins on September 1st, every year.

Missionaries and colonists have introduced Christian holidays to many countries of Asia.

The big shopping malls heavily capitalize during the Christmas season as people love to shop for their near and dear ones.

Let’s find out how the Christmas is celebrated in Asian Counties.

India

Only around 2% of the population is claiming Christianity as a religion in India; Hinduism and Islam are the primary religions.

Christmas is a national holiday due to British influences and because of mid-academic year vacations.

Christmas is popularly known as “Badaa Din” (Big Day) in Northern India and people celebrate it by planting trees.

Mostly Mango or banana tree is decorated. Big hanging star-shaped paper laterns are very popular. People who live in north-west India go from village to village singing Christmas carols during the whole week.

Christians head to midnight mass and Christmas eve is celebrated with a Western-Style meal. Lively beach parties in Goa are most happening during the Christmas season.

Philippines

We’ve a separate post on how filipinos celebrate Christmas including a local filipina who explains all the ins and outs of this important holiday:

How Filipinos Celebrate Christmas

China

Christmas is more and more popular in large cities in China due to huge number of expats and greater western influence. Hotels that primarily catering to Western guests are decorated and shopping malls may have special sales.

Hong Kong and Macau are fully buzzing during the Christmas season. In rest of the cities of China, Christmas tend to be private affairs between families and friends. Colourful cellophane-wrapped “Christmas apples’ are a popular gift.

For most of China, Xmas is just another workday as everyone is looking for Chinese New Year Holiday in January or February.

Japan

Less than 1% of Japanese claim to be Christian; Buddhism and Islam are the primary religions.

Japanese parents usually give Christmas gifts to their children on Christmas eve and not during the day.

Christmas is celebrated in a big way in Tokyo, night is full of lights with big screens along main crossroads. During the Christmas season, the Tokyo city shines everywhere with Christmas lights and trees.

Christmas eve is normally seen as a romantic day when couples get to spend time together and exchange presents.

During the Christmas week, the Emperor’s birthday is celebrated on 23rd December which adds lot of excitement.

South Korea

Christmas is widely celebrated in South Korea as 30% of the population are Christians, rest are either Buddhist or don’t have a religion.

Christmas is an official public holiday, however South Koreans go back to work on Boxing Day, the 26th.

The Japanese enjoy the secular celebrations of Christmas, next only to New Year’s Day which is a sacred holiday.

Xmas is great time for lovers who exchange gifts and go on special dates.

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Wedding Preparations in Indonesia

Reception process

Having a wedding party in Indonesia is a long story to tell. Some said that it’s a 2-hour party with one-year preparation. Well, they might be right for some reason, because it’s not that simple to have a wedding preparation in Indonesia as we seen in the western country, for example. A lot of energy and consideration is needed to make a numerous decision. As the wedding is going to be a sacred party for couples, and they want to be the best party of their memories.

I can say that there are some differences between urban and rural areas in consideration. In urban areas, what becomes the primary concern is the elegance and luxury of the party, while in rural areas, the order of the tradition must be followed to keep the sacred of this wedding party. Religion and beliefs are also distinguishing factor in planning a wedding party.

Plan It With Budget

The reason why it’s a long story to tell is that it needs around 6-12 month preparation before the wedding day. But other couples may require only three months or less before the D-day. It depends on their daily schedule. As it going to spend a lot of energy, they prefer to use wedding vendors. Many vendors offer various benefits. Today, many wedding vendors in town, or on the internet. Couples can choose which one is the best for their desire and, of course, with their budget. However, in rural areas, some preparation is done by family and neighbor, such as food, place, and the entertainment. It happens because of a high sense of gotong-royong (cooperation) among these peoples. As far as I know, the average cost for Wedding preparation in Indonesia is around IDR 15 – 40 million.

Special Date and Invitation

Way before the D-day, couples need to choose a perfect date. Some couples prefer the long holiday to celebrate the party, but others are finding the best date based on certain reason. By asking a Kyai (a person who know about religions well) or Sesepuh (a people who know about the customs well).

I’m sure that every couple never wants to miss their particular moment at their wedding. So, they want to capture it by hiring professional photography service. Couples also need to prepare a souvenir and send an invitation to colleagues and families. But most of it is the invitation to their parent’s colleagues and families.

Akad Nikah and Gown

Before having a wedding reception, there is an Akad Nikah (wedding ceremony). is the main point of this wedding celebration. It is a religious ceremony to inaugurate the legitimacy of both brides as a husband and wife.

At the wedding reception, bride and groom wearing customs gown or the modern one, prepared by wedding vendor. Different customs required different preparation in some parts. But as a whole, wedding preparation in Indonesia is a long way to go.

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The life of New Couples in Cambodia

Generally in Cambodia, there is only men that start courting women even sometime women start to fail in love to men first, they still not dare enough to show their feeling. It can be say that because of the culture reflection. After a man start to feel in love or interest with a woman, he will try to follow that woman. In the past they will write the latter but for recently they will ask her phone number and call her. On the other hand, nowadays since the technology is updated, man can be ask her name in the social media (FB, Line and etc.) and chat with her.

Firstly, if the man and the lady can talk to each other much more or get on well together, they will their let their parents know about relationship between two of them. Each family will let their child to invite his/her partner come to visit home. Each parents will try to look at the attitude, appearance, personality, of child’s partner and ask them something about their family or their education/occupation. After the new couple got approved from their parents, the man will invite his parents come to visit his partner parents and start to propose the girl.

For the wedding, the groom’s family going to give the dowry to the bride’s family with the limit which they discussed. They will invite the monks to search for a good day for the wedding day. After the wedding day is selected, each families will prepare the invitation letter for the guests to join. Parents need to renew something in their house and start to book something for the wedding day such as foods, cameraman and something else for the upcoming wedding day.

Regarding with life of new couple after marriage, most of them going to live with the wife’s family. However, it is not hundred percentage for that because for the couple who are rich they may decide to buy their own house for living the rest of their life. Husband and wife will try their best to increase their income to support their living and save for their next generation. Then if the wife got pregnant and give birth to child, her husband will ask her to suspend the job and look after the family and the baby and even sometime stop the for the period. Man will try harder with his job while his woman is being a housewife. After two or three years till the child grow up and can to enroll the school, wife will seeking for a new job or run their small business to support the family. If the family go smooth, they will continue together till the rest of their time.

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