Wednesday 31 January 2018

Ireland Holidays and Festivals

Northern Ireland holidays are mainly celebrated in the capital Belfast. Events range from sports and music to somewhat controversial loyalist marches. St. Patrick's Day, the Orangefest, and Belfast Festival all offer something a little different. Most take place in May when the weather is nice and everyone is in good spirits.

St. Patrick's Day

Ireland's patron saint is celebrated in Northern Ireland on March 17 as much as he is in the south. Don't forget, they are Irish here, too (not British), only, generally, with a penchant of separation from the south. People dress up in green, fountains are dyed green, and there are parties in the streets. Head to Downpatrick to visit St Patrick's grave.

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

This alternative festival in Belfast, early- to mid-May, is especially popular with the younger crowd. It features art, theater, and music through big name acts at venues within the historic arts quarter of the capital. The event goes over about 10 days and is good for all the family.

Balmoral Show

The Balmoral Showgrounds in Belfast is the setting for Ireland's main food and agricultural event. It takes place in mid-May over three days and is fun for the whole family, with hundreds of stands, along with show jumping, sheep-shearing, and a zone for kids to have fun.

Lord Mayor's Carnival

The colorful street carnival is the highlight of this quirky event in Northern Ireland, which celebrates the end of the Lord Mayor's tenure in late May. Expect floats, lots of dressing up—including the mayor in all his regalia plus gold carriage—and big fireworks.

Belfast Marathon

The 26-mile run goes via the streets of Belfast and draws in thousands of contenders from around the world. The Belfast Marathon takes place at the end of May and also features a shorter, 16-mile fun run, followed by a grand party at City Hall.


This controversial event on July 12 ('The Twelfth') dates from the 1700s and features waves of 'Orange Men' marching through city streets across Northern Ireland. These Orange Men are Protestant (loyalists) marking their allegiance to William III (William of Orange) of England and there is lots of flag waving. Naturally, tensions among the Catholic community can be high and security is typically heavy. Best seen in Belfast.

Féile an Phobail

The 'West Belfast Festival' is one of Europe's largest community festivals, featuring thousands of local children in a huge procession on Falls Road in Belfast. Big music acts, poets, and comedians accompany the event, which takes place over 10 days in early August.

Belfast Festival

The Belfast Festival is a massive event attracting around 50,000 spectators with theatre, dance, pop and rock music, classical music, visual arts, and comedy. The event goes over two weeks, late October through early November, and is worth traveling to Northern Ireland for if you're in the UK/Irish region.

*culled from

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Wedding Traditions in Iceland

Marriage is a very serious business in Iceland. Couples are not urged to rush into matrimony. Long engagements are the norm, sometimes three or four years.

Today Icelanders have adopted
American and European wedding traditions for the most part, but the traditional Icelandic weddings traditions were far more elaborate.

In years gone by, Icelandic weddings could last for a week at a time, often in the bride's home or the church in the bride's hometown.

Before the marriage the couple's engagement would have to be publicly declared on three separate occasions, usually in a church.

The first time was often in the bride's church, the second time in the groom's church and the third time in the church in which they were to be married.
The wedding would usually start at least one day before the actual ceremony, with lots and lots of drinking and song and speeches and merrymaking.

Many toasts would be drunk to the happy couple, to the Virgin Mary , and to various honored guests.

Most toasts would begin with a speech or a poem and then end in song and drink. Multiple toastmasters were often hired to keep the toasts coming for days on end.

On the day of the wedding, traditionally a Sunday, the groom would arrive surrounded by the best man and his relatives and often local nobles.

As the groom approached, the church bells would be rung to announce his arrival. The groom was expected to enter the church and wait for his bride.
The bride would then walk very slowly through the village with her bridesmaids. She would be dressed in her finest clothes.

When she would arrive at the church the toastmaster would escort her to the groom and she and her groom would be seated on the bridal bench in the church. The ceremony would then take place, concluding with the groom placing a ring on the bride's finger.

Following the ceremony a reception was held. The bride and groom, along with the priest who married them and the fathers and the best men and the toastmasters would sit at a high table, while the guests sat at long tables which radiated out from the high table.

Depending on how wealthy the bride and groom were the feast could be an elaborate three or four course affair or it could be a more simple smorgasbord of breads and cakes.

Before the ceremony ended, the
bridesmaids would take the bride to her bridal bed and undress her, leaving her wearing only her bridal headdress.
It was customary for the groom to present his bride with a gift on the bridal bed. Today it is also common for the bride to present the groom with a wedding-bed gift .

Traditionally the bride would be waiting for her new husband wearing only her bridal headdress, which her new husband would remove.

Once the couple were in bed together the priest would bless them one last time and the couple would drink from the bridal cups to seal their marriage.
Today weddings are seldom this elaborate, or filled with this much ritual. Prior to the wedding the bride's friends often throw her a bridal shower which is often rather vulgar in nature, and is often thrown on the same night that the groom's friends are throwing him a raunchy bachelor party.

The actual ceremony is seldom even one day long any longer and most Icelanders pattern their weddings after the American style, with ring bearers, flower girls, and the throwing of rice following the ceremony.

The wedding reception still tends to be filled with toasts, singing, laughter, and much drinking.

Monday 29 January 2018

Iceland Holidays and Festivals

Iceland holidays and events celebrate a variety of musical and cultural highlights, as well as the traditional Christmas and new year festive season, Easter, and Independence Day. Events take place mostly in Reykjavik, with some dating back to Viking times.

New Year's Eve

As with everywhere else in the world, New Year's Eve in Iceland is the time for celebrations, parties, meeting up with friends, and seeing in the New Year. Reykjavik is the hub of the country, with citizens either attending Mass at Reykjavik Cathedral or listening to it on the radio along with the rest of the nation. After a celebration dinner, each neighborhood gathers around a huge bonfire and parties along with music and dance. Downtown, the bars, pubs, and clubs become packed with revelers.


Held every January, this midwinter feast is one of Iceland's oldest festivals and dates back to the Viking era. The cold, dark day sees traditional foods eaten at home and in restaurants, with many dishes using smoked or picked ingredients prepared the previous year, just as the Vikings did. The tradition demands only ancient Viking dishes are served, so this event isn't for delicate eaters! The day ends with traditional poems, games, sagas, dance, and song, plus large quantities of the strong local schnapps.

Reykjavik Icelandic Horse Festival

Taking place in March/April, the Reykjavik Icelandic Horse Festival celebrates every aspect of these tough and extremely cute little horses. Various events and workshops take place around Reykjavik's breeding ranches and horse clubs, with it all coming together on the final day at the city's Family Park with horse shows and competitions.

Reykjavik Arts Festival

For two weeks in the middle of May, the capital is a hub for its Arts Festival, focusing on traditional Icelandic culture as well as on ballet, modern dance, opera, classical music, and theatre events. Exhibitions at art galleries and museums take place, and the event draws many famous performers to the city.

Bright Days Festival

Celebrating the arrival of summer every June, this cultural and musical event is held in Hafnarfjordur, a short drive from the capital. A variety of cultural performances, art shows, and musical events welcome the short summer.

Independence Day

Known locally as National Day, this is a major festival for all Icelanders, held on 17 June to mark the country's emergence as an independent republic. Street parties and entertainers, parades, fireworks, sideshows, traditional music, and dance draw residents onto the streets and into the bars and restaurants until the sun rises the next morning.

Seafarers Day

June sees the Sjomannadagur Festival in Reykjavik, as well as in many other smaller towns if the weather allows. Vintage ships line the Old Harbour for the annual event, with local fishermen competing in rowing, swimming, and other events. Parades, music, fun things to do, and seafood are the orders of the day.


The longest day of the year is a mystical time, celebrated in June with Jonsmessa, the Midsummer Night festival which dates back to Icelandic Viking times. On this night, seals are believed to take human form, cows gain the power of speech, and elves seduce travelers at crossroads with gifts and other favors. Rolling naked on the dew-covered grassy mountain slopes is considered a healthy pursuit and bonfires compete with the glow of the midnight sun.

Reykjavik Cultural Festival

Twinned with the Reykjavik Marathon, the Cultural Festival kicks off in August and is the capital's most-loved event. Over 100,000 people flock to the art exhibitions, Icelandic dance shows, fairs, concerts, and giant fireworks displays. Pubs, clubs, bars, and restaurants stay open literally all night, and everyone has a wonderful time under the midnight sun.

Reykjavik Gay Pride

One of the fastest-growing gay events on earth, Reykjavik Gay Pride takes place in August and draws 85,000 visitors to enjoy its offerings. Outdoor festivals, street parties, parades, entertainments, theatre shows, and music events go on all over the city and in its watering holes and restaurants.

Reykjavik Jazz Festival

September sees Iceland's jazz festival of the year, held in the capital for five days. Famous jazz musicians arrive from across the world for this ever-popular event, and for fans there's everything from traditional jazz to contemporary sounds at concerts and gigs all over the city.


The Christmas festivities begin on December 12 all over Iceland, with dancing, drinking, music, feasting on traditional foods, and the decorating of homes, streets, and town centers. Carol singers roam the streets and huge Christmas trees sparkle in the squares. The wearing of a piece of new clothing at Christmas protects Icelanders from being eaten by the Christmas Cat, a folkloric tradition going back centuries, and children leave their shoes on the windowsill to be filled with presents.

*culled from

Tuesday 23 January 2018

The Old Hungarian Wedding and Custom

Hungarian Wedding Preparations:
In the old days in Hungary, it was the best man's job to personally invite guests to the wedding, and to arrange for up to three days of festivities.

Brides wore colorful and elaborately embroidered dresses and decorated headdresses which included woven wheat as a symbol of fertility.
Often, the entire village got in on the action, forming a procession behind a colorfully decorated cart carrying the bride from her parent's home to the groom's home or church.

Sometimes, along the way, she would be "kidnapped" by the guests and have to be rescued by the groom before the ceremony.

Hungarian Wedding Ceremony

Upon arrival at the groom's home, his parents would greet the bride with a glass of wine, which she would drink and then toss over her shoulder, allowing it to break. Often, the couple would break plates on the floor. The more pieces, the more successful the marriage would be.

After a required civil ceremony in the courthouse, a religious ceremony took place in the church at which guests read poems, sang songs, or related some funny story about the couple.
Engaged Hungarian couples wore their rings on their left hands. Once they were married, they switched to the right hands.

Hungarian Wedding Reception

At the reception, there's an endless supply of food, flavored with paprika which was believed to have magical properties, dancing, singing and violin playing.

As with other Eastern Europeans, male guests paid to dance with the bride, either pinning the money to her dress or dropping it into her shoes, which are in the middle of the dance floor.
It was traditional for the bride to present her new husband with a gift of either three or seven (lucky numbers) handkerchiefs, and for the groom to give his wife a small bag of coins.

*culled from

Monday 22 January 2018

Hungary Holidays and Festivals

Hungary holidays and festivals embrace the contrasts of the country itself, from small village folk and religious celebrations dating back centuries to great international musical and cultural events featuring world-famous artists. Budapest has the most in the way of festivals, with Hungary's spring and fall music festivals the most-loved.

Budapest International Circus Festival

Held biannually over five days from the end of January into February, this celebration of all things circus draws acts from all over the world to perform in the capital. Fire-eaters, clowns, dancers, acrobats, jugglers, trapeze artists and more give 30 shows over the five-day event, ending in a gala performance featuring famous talents.

Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix

Early February sees the town and motor racing circuit of Mogyorod come alive for the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix race. Car enthusiasts from all over Hungary and Europe fill the hotels and spill over into Budapest some 12 miles (20 kms) away, and the streets are crowded with fans of the various drivers.

Budapest Spring Music Festival

This iconic musical event draws visitors from all over the world in March to its 200 concerts, many of which are set in the city's glorious historic buildings. World-class artists in opera, classical, jazz, rock and folk perform in great buildings such as the Hungarian State Opera House and the National Gallery, as well as in basilicas, churches and less exalted venues.

Valley of Magic Festival

This much-loved summer festival kicks off in June and runs through July around Lake Balaton and its little towns of Oula, Kapoics, Ocs and Monostorapati. Over 50 venues in Hungary host over 800 individual events of all kinds, attracting local and international visitors to the beautiful setting.

The Danube Carnival

Multi-cultural, exciting, and full of music, the Danube Carnival takes place in Budapest's Vorosmarty Square and other venues every June. Professional and amateur contemporary dancers, folk musicians and artists from across Hungary and Europe join for 10 days in performances, street entertainments, concerts and parties.

Koros Valley Folk Arts Festival

Hungarians are immensely proud of their folk heritage and do all they can to preserve its long history, especially in rural areas. This festival, held every July and August in the town of Gyula, is one of the best of its kind, featuring traditional music, dance, drama, and crafts.

Budapest National Gallop

Lovers of horses and riding won't want to miss this September event, taking place annually over three full days and featuring the superb Hungarian horses. A celebration of the Hussar culture and its military traditions sees many diverse events culminating in the spectacular National Horse Race in Hero's Square, with riders from villages, towns and cities all competing for the big prize.

Budapest Palinka and Sausage Festival

Foodies will love this event, held every October on Castle Hill. Featuring at least 20 different varieties of the Hungarian brandy, palinka, their distillers are on-hand to explain their intricacies along with the makers of the famous Hungarian sausages and their produce. Street entertainment, music, dance performances and general merriment are all part of the gastronomic fun.

Budapest Christmas Fair and Festival

Despite the cold weather, Budapest is a magic place to be in at Christmas, with carolers, pre-Christmas parties and the largest Christmas Fair in the country held in Vorosmarty Square. Loved equally by locals and visitors alike, you'll find gifts, local artwork, paintings, crafts, Christmas decorations, traditional food and drink, mulled wine, and a Nativity scene.

*culled from

Saturday 6 January 2018

National Holidays and Religious Festivals in Halkidiki Greece

Easter in Halkidiki Greece
The Explanation why Catholic and Orthodox Easter often fall on different dates (highly simplified). Both, the Orthodox and the Catholic Church use the same moon-based calculation to determine the date of Easter. However the Christian Church refers to the Gregorian calendar while the Orthodox Church uses the ancient Julian calendar which is few days behind. This difference in combination with the calculation regarding the moon-circle can cause a difference of 0, 1 or 5 weeks.

Greek Easter Traditions
The Big Week

The Big Week is the Holy Week leading up to Easter. Visitors who spend this time of the year in Halkidiki will be rewarded with a very profound insight in local traditions and customs. Every day has its topic and the church holds daily services. Most Greeks start to take the fast serious and abstain from meat, dairy products until Christ's symbolic resurrection on Saturday night. The strict version of the lent also does not allow the consumption of alcoholic drinks as well as the use of oil in cooking on most days. Many Greeks follow these rules during the Holy week and nearly all honor this tradition at least up from Easter Friday.

The big Monday, Holy Tuesday and Holy Wednesday

The first 3 days of the Holy Week. The churches are open and people kiss the Icon of Christ.

The Big Thursday
The traditional Easter Bread 'Tsureki' is baked and boiled eggs are dyed red (Red as the symbol of Christ's blood and the color of life). Rezept of the Tsureki can be found below
The church is open all night. In many villages the women already prepare the Epitaph with flowers.

Good Friday

The Good Friday is a mournful day, taken very serious in Greece. The people honor the tradition of the Epitaph with piety and devoutness. In Halkidiki the procession starts in late Evening, led by the priests and the carriers of the Epitaph. The villagers follow the procession, usually with a little burning candle.

Many households don't switch on the TV or music on Good Friday. It's a day of silence. The play-back of music is not permitted during the procession.

Holy Saturday

On Saturday the people prepare the traditional soup 'Magiritsa' which is served after the midnight-ceremony to break the fast. The Holy Saturday is also the day the Eternal Flame, lightened in Jerusalem, is brought to Greece.
Before midnight everyone moves to the church-square, equipped with a long, white candle. Also rich decorated colorful candles can be found. The priests start the mass and shortly before midnight all lights are switched off. The atmosphere of the people's excitement is palpable. At midnight, the moment the priest calls out the 'Christos Anesti' the Easter has its absolute climax. Total joy and euphony is in the air, floating over the entire place. The Eternal Flame is passed from the priest to the people and from person to person. In the church start the Byzantine Chants. Family, friends and neighbors exchange Easter Wishes before moving on to enjoy the Magiritsa.

In Halkidiki it is also the moment the Clubs and Music-bars are open the gates to welcome the celebrating people.
Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday is celebrated with family or friends with focus on an opulent dinner: The Easter-Lamb. The lamp or goat is grilled, baked, cooked or prepared as traditional specialties such as Koukouretsi.

Easter Monday

Holiday. Many Greeks are gathering from all over the country, glad to enjoy the festive get-together within the family.

Thursday 4 January 2018

Gibraltar - Food and Drink

Gibraltarian cuisine is mainly influenced by the long relationship between the Andalusian Spaniards and the British who lived in this territory for centuries. There's a significant influence of many foreigners who made Gibraltar their home over the past three centuries as well. This foreign culinary impact on the Gibraltarian cuisine includes regions such as Malta, Genoa and Portugal. This variety of tastes has given Gibraltar an eclectic mix of Mediterranean and British cuisine.

There are bars and bistros throughout the town and at the two marinas. They all operate under Mediterranean licensing hours, selling British beer as well. Restaurants cover a whole range of cuisines, offering British, French, Spanish, American, Moroccan, Italian, Chinese and Indian dishes. In general, Gibraltan food is a combination of British, Maltese, Italian and Spanish influences though it is rare to find it in restaurants and cafés.

The most common specialities in Gibraltar are spinach tortilla, calentita and panissa. The last two are both like quiche but made from chick pea flour. When it comes to tipping in this country, it is wise to tip between 10 and 15%.


This is the popular local pasta dish of Italian origin. It consists of penne in a tomato sauce with beef or occasionally pork, mushrooms and carrots among other vegetables, which depends on family tradition. Finally it is all topped with grated "queso bola". The origin of its name probably comes from the English word "Roast".

Fideos al horno

This is a baked pasta dish very similar to the Maltese imqarrun or Greek pastitsio. It mainly consists of macaroni, bolognese sauce, and various addiotinal ingredients including egg and bacon that also may vary according to family tradition. The macaroni is usually topped with a layer of grated cheese or béchamel that melts during the baking process. Even though the main ingredient of this dish is macaroni, the name "fideos al horno" is actually Spanish, meaning "baked noodles".

Bread (savoury)

This is a baked pancake-like dish, the Italian farinata, also known as fainâ in Genoa and as fainá in Spain. It is made with chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt and pepper. The word calentita is the informal diminutive of the Spanish word caliente, which means "nice and warm".

A very similar dish is widely consumed in Algeria, where it is known as Calentica, Galentita or Karantita. This dish has the same Spanish etymology. According to local sources, Calentita was introduced into Algeria by the Spaniards who were garrisoned at the port of Santa Cruz during the 16th century.

It is believed that it goes back all to 1704, when connections between the Barbary Coast and Gibraltar were established. The Sephardi Jews from the Barbary Coast may have reintroduced this dish to Gibraltar, where it was kept until modern times. Another widely suggested theory is that the origin of the calentita is in Genoese migrations to Gibraltar and Iberia that started before the Anglo-Dutch initiative in 1704.

At that time, the Sephardi Jews from the Barbary Coast became major food providers for the British in Gibraltar, bringing their customs, language and food culture. In Gibraltar, it is widely believed that name may have come from street vendors who would shout "Calentita!" in order to sell their freshly-cooked wares. Indeed, the last known calentita street vendor, named Paloma, is still remembered locally by older people. However, this story is unlikely to be true, since the name can be traced to the 16th century during the Spanish presence in Oran.


Panissa is a bread-like dish similar to calentita. Sharing its Italian origins, it is believed to be a descendant of the Genoese dish which carries the same name. Unlike calentita the ingredients are first simmered in a saucepan for over an hour, stirring constantly, to form a paste which is then left to sit for a while. When the polenta-like dough is set, it is cut into small strips and fried in olive oil.

Bread (sweet)
Bollo de hornasso

This is a sweet and dry bread similar to the Spanish hornazo. It is made with self-raising flour, sugar, eggs, butter or margarine, and aniseed. Bollos de hornasso are usually made around Easter in Spain, but in Gibraltar they are also popular during Christmas. Gibraltarian hornassos can normally be distinguished from the original Spanish hornazo as they do not tend to be decorated with hard-boiled eggs. However, Gibraltarian families of Spanish descent may still decorate them in this traditional manner. It is usually glazed with beaten egg.

Pan dulce

This is sweet fruit and nut bread that is usually prepared at Christmas time. The term pan dulce means "sweet bread" in Spanish, but its origins may also lie in Italy with the Genoese pandolce or Portuguese sweet bread. The main ingredients can include lard, margarine, sugar, self-raising flour, blanched almonds, raisins, sultanas, pine nuts, candied peel, eggs, aniseed and anisette among others.


These are thin slices of beef surrounding breadcrumbs, bacon, eggs, olives, vegetables and herbs. These can be baked, fried or cooked in wine. Rolitos is another dish of Maltese origin, similar to braġjoli. It is also known as beef olives in English, even though some families prefer making them with pork or chicken. The word rolito comes from the Spanish word rollo, meaning 'roll', as the meat is rolled to hold the other ingredients inside.


This is a choux pastry ball with a typically sweet filling of whipped cream or custard. They are usually garnished with chocolate sauce as well. The initial meaning of the name profiterole is unknown, but it can be translated as a kind of roll which is "baked under the ashes". Profiteroles are the national dish of Gibraltar, meaning they are often served during Gibraltarian festivals and celebrations.


The japonesa, of Japanese lady in English, is a sweet fried doughnut filled with a custard-like cream.
Japonesas are usually enjoyed at teatime or as a snack, and they are traditionally coated in syrup or granulated sugar. The name is a reference to Japanese Dorayaki cakes that are similarly shaped, having a sweet filling as well.

*culled from


What do rock stars and Hollywood stars have in common? They've all chosen the stunning scenery of Gibraltar as a backdrop to their weddings. In fact, Sean Connery loved it so much, he got married there twice! But regardless of whether you want to enjoy a celebrity vibe or tie the knot in a low key ceremony with friends, Gibraltar is the perfect location for your wedding.

The photo opportunities
Whatever the location you choose, the opportunities for sensational wedding photography are everywhere. From the lush tropical greenery of the Italianate Dell in the Botanical Gardens to the deck of a yacht in the middle of the sparkling Mediterranean, you'll find the perfect backdrop. Or why not celebrate at the Mons Calpe Suite, perched 412 metres in the air atop the Rock itself? The views are exceptional and you can even have your wedding photos taken in a cable car.

The honeymoon destinations
Gibraltar is just a stone's throw from glamorous Morocco, where you can fall under the spell of the Imperial cities of Marrakesh and Rabat or spend your honeymoon exploring the Sahara on camelback. Or step across the border into spectacular Andalusia, Spain's southern gem with its incredible beaches, stunning mountain scenery and the incomparable splendour of the Alhambra Palace in Granada. Gibraltar itself is a magical honeymoon destination, with luxury hotels and boutique spas ideal for newlyweds.

The wedding culture

Gibraltarians love their weddings, with guest lists regularly topping the 200 mark and plenty of flamboyant Llanito customs including abundant food, wine and dressing to the nines. One custom that your stiletto wearing guests will adore is the tradition of giving flip-flops as wedding favours, while it's difficult to resist the sheer love of life that you'll find in dynamic Gibraltar. Just 2.5 hours from the UK, you'll enjoy a mix of the Mediterranean and British culture where there are no language or monetary barriers, yet you'll experience a wedding quite unlike any other.

Marriages in Gibraltar are recognised worldwide, so why not enjoy a unique wedding day in this amazing part of the world? If you dream of getting married abroad but don't know where to start,
Contact us today and start planning your dream Gibraltar wedding.

Wednesday 3 January 2018

Gibraltar Holidays and Festivals

Gibraltar's biggest festival of the year is its annual National Day, held each September 10 to commemorate the first sovereign referendum. Gibraltar also hosts annual chess and singing competitions, as well as an international boat regatta in April. After Christmas, Boxing Day is celebrated with the Polar Bear Swim and the eve of Epiphany with the Three Kings Cavalcade parade. Gibraltar holidays are family friendly and a great way for visitors to get insight into the culture.

Three Kings Cavalcade

Gibraltar's first major festival of the year takes place on the day before Epiphany, when people in costumes toss sweets to the townsfolk during the annual Three Kings Cavalcade parade along Main Street. Marching bands play lively music and prizes are presented for the most impressive floats.

Gibraltar Chess Festival

Each year between January and February, the four-star Caleta Hotel hosts one of the world's most prestigious chess tournaments. Nearly 60 Grand Masters participate in the Gibraltar Chess Festival, whose final event boasts around 240 players from around the world.

Gibraltar International Boat Show

Although luxury yachts are the star of this April event, automobiles, fashion, dance, and music are also main attractions. Gibraltar's police and navy display their latest vessels, while the water zone at the Ocean Village Marina offers dolphin watching tours, canoe racing, and scuba diving lessons.

Gibraltar National Day

Gibraltar's most important national holiday takes place on September 10, the anniversary of the 1967 sovereignty referendum, when citizens voted to stay under British sovereignty instead of joining Spain. Residents dress in white and red, the colors of their flag, and join a lively street fest on the Naval Grounds. A food fair showcasing some of Gibraltar's tastiest dishes takes place at the John Mackintosh Square, while Grand Casemates offers a children's corner filled with amusement rides and bouncy castle. Fireworks are held over the Bay of Gibraltar and 30,000 red and white balloons representing Gibraltar's total population are released into the sky.

Gibraltar Song Festival

The most talented local musicians get the opportunity to share the stage with some of the world's most famous musical acts at the annual Gibraltar Song Festival. This early September event features a songwriting contest where hundreds of people around the world compete to win a large cash prize. All proceeds are donated directly to area charities.

Polar Bear Swim

Gibraltar is not usually overly cold at Christmas, but the waters of Catalan Bay are frigid on this Boxing Day event where dozens of brave (or crazy?) people take the plunge during the city's annual Polar Bear Swim. Warm mulled wine and mince pies help bathers warm up once they return to dry land.

*culled from

Tuesday 2 January 2018

German Wedding

A traditional wedding day in Germany could actually last three days. First, German couples who are getting married must have a civil ceremony at the city center, which only family and close friends attend. After that a religious procedure is available. There is a large difference between a civil and a religious wedding. Civil wedding ceremonies are only possible inside the Registry office, and religious weddings can normally only be celebrated inside churches.

The majority of Germans marry in civil ceremonies. It is celebrated under the premise that at least one person is a (temporary) resident in Germany. The registration is done, in most cases, at the Standesamt in the city or town hall, or in a smaller town, at the police station. The non-resident may need to gather the required paperwork and obtain affidavits from a consulate or embassy. A civil wedding may be held a few days before the religious wedding.
Due to an old law in Germany, the application for the marriage license usually must be hung out at a public building for at least one week so that the general public is informed. Non-residents can make other arrangements through an international registry office (only four).

After the civil ceremony, the couple is joined by a number of friends and family (including those who witnessed the ceremony) and toasted with champagne. They then go to lunch.
The traditions of a religious ceremony are rather rich. In earlier years, a horse-drawn carriage with black horses transported the bridal couple to and from the church. Today, limousines and full sized cars are used. German brides do not have traditional wedding attendants except for flower girls.

The church where wedding takes place may be at a different location from the civil wedding. In Northern Germany, when a bridal pair is going to church, it is the custom, before they leave the house, to throw a firebrand on the threshold over which they must pass.

On the wedding morning, a breakfast called 'morning soup' or 'bridal soup' is served for the guests. Most weddings are held in the late morning. The groom calls for his and drives her to the church. Guests usually seat themselves. Usually the first pews are reserved for the family. The children walk as pages; little girls wear fresh flowered wreaths. Guests may be invited to the couple's home, a banquet hall or country mansion for a reception. Champagne, white wine or schnapps may be served at the reception.

In many parts of Germany, when the priest joins the hands of the couple, the bride tries, to get the upper hand. The bridegroom tries to do the same, and often a struggle of hands ensues, which is sometimes settled by the priest placing the man's hand uppermost. One of the pair, generally the bride, also tries for the same purpose to put her foot on top of the groom's shoe. When the couple kneels during the ceremony, the groom may kneel on the hem of the bride's gown, to symbolize he will keep her in order. The bride may step on his foot when she rises, to assert herself.
As the newlyweds leave the wedding chapel, they throw coins to the children watching.

When a couple exits the church after the ceremony, there is a saw horse that sports a thick log and a handsaw. The couple is expected to saw the log in half, symbolizing their taking on the first hard task of their new life together.

Monday 1 January 2018

Germany Holidays and Festivals

Germany has many festivals for visitors to enjoy throughout the year, including some famous world over like Oktoberfest. Perhaps not that well-known outside of Germany, Fasching (the German version of the carnival) is a fun season for adults and children alike. Participants dress up and there is partying until the early morning hours. There are also plenty of local German holidays, which visitors can enjoy in villages outside the main cities.

Bruchsal Asparagus Festival

The white asparagus is revered in Germany and many look forward to asparagus season, known as Spargelzeit. Eaten with butter or hollandaise sauce with a slice of ham or a crepe, there are many asparagus festivals in Germany, but the biggest by far is the one in Bruchsal (near Stuttgart), in southern Germany. The festival is held in the middle of May and attracts asparagus connoisseurs and buyers from all over Europe. Come and taste fantastic produce and then visit the beautiful Baroque palace of Bruchsal.

Dresden Music Festival

This annual festival takes place in May and June, and showcases some of the best classical musicians, orchestras, ensembles, choirs, and opera singers. With a history of over 30 years, this is one of the leading music festivals in Germany and attracts music lovers from all over the world. Tickets for concerts should be bought well in advance.

Museum Bank Festival (Museumsufer Fest)

A popular and fun event in Frankfurt is the Museum Bank Festival, which takes place for a two-day period in August along the banks of the Main River. The event gives visitors a chance to visit all the museums in town for one price. Both sides of the river are packed with shops, bars, and food stalls, as well as treats for children. Many of the famous eateries in Frankfurt set up booths, making this a great time to sample a wide variety of dishes, as well as get some culture.


The most famous festival in Germany and possibly the world, Oktoberfest actually takes place at the end of September and into October. Held in Munich, it is the best place to enjoy great beer, local food, and a boisterous atmosphere. All beers served must be brewed within the city limits so rejoice in regional delights. If Dirndl-clad ladies serving beer is your dream, then don't miss it! The Oktoberfest attracts over six million visitors, so booking rooms and flights months in advance is a must.

Fasching (Karneval)

Some call it Fasching, some call it Karneval depending where you're from. Generally starting on November 11 at 11:11 a.m., some regions celebrate it on January 7. It is a crazy festival, with lots of good and bad jokes, costumes, confetti, bead necklaces, parades, and celebrations. Don a crazy getup and expect to hear different Fasching calls depending on where you are like Helau! (Düsseldorf) and Alaaf! (Cologne and Bonn).

Christmas Market (Weihnachtsmarkt)

If you're spending Christmas in Germany, almost every city or town will have a Christmas market, generally starting in early November and running until the holidays. The most famous are those in Rothenburg, Nüremburg, and Cologne where there is great food, rides, and ornaments for sale. Not to be missed is the glühwein (hot wine) or jagertee (rum and black tea), which will warm you up on cold winter nights. Most Christmas markets are open until 10:00 p.m.

*culled from

2018 Is Number 3 In Numerology

Personal Year 3
Social expansion & creative successes
This is a number 3 personal year. This is a social, happy year, and it generally tends to exude bright and cheerful vibrations. This is a year when you will want to check up on old friends and broaden your social circle to include some new ones. Romance and love affairs may bloom. You are inclined to live life to its fullest now, even if you have to pay the consequences later on. You are likely to be more sociable and the bridle of responsibility will seem to be loosened a bit. You are inclined to scatter your energies and undertake too many things at the same time. You can safely take some time off to enjoy yourself, but resist the temptation to completely give in to having a good time; keep your goals in mind. A 3 personal year is a good time to expand personal creative talents, particularly those related to the arts and verbal skills. Recognition in this regard is likely this year.

While this can be a happy year as far as personal expression and activities are concerned, it may be a disastrous year on the business scene. A generally frivolous attitude in that environment can cause rash decisions and impractical, unfinished schemes. This is not likely to be a very good year for your finances, and it is fortunate that the next year is designed to compensate these effects.
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