Japan Christmas: From Zagmuk in Mesopotamia to Colonel Sanders

For at least four thousand years, since the ancient festival of Zagmuk, December 25 has been celebrated. The Mesopotamian festival of Zagmuk lasted twelve days, including December 25. During Zagmuk, the Mesopotamians visited friends, exchanged gifts and walked in processions complete with lights and songs. Just as some do today, the Mesopotamians also went singing from door to door.

As the center of Western culture moved west from Mesopotamia to Rome, the Mesopotamian festival of Zagmuk moved too. Like Zagmuk, the Roman celebration included visiting friends and exchanging presents. One of these gifts was cake. The Romans also began to decorate their halls with greenery and candles.

The Roman celebration was Saturnalia, honoring Saturn, the god of agriculture. The middle of the Saturnalia celebrations was on December 25. The Romans calculated that December 25 was the winter solstice. As the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice has always been an important day for most agricultural societies to celebrate, to scare away the dark times and rejoice that the days will get longer, leading to planting.

Eventually, Christmas became a religious holiday for Christians when they declared that Jesus was born on that day. Christmas was a predominantly Christian holiday for hundreds of years, but nothing lasts forever. Over the past several hundred years Christmas has become more of a commercial holiday, focusing on Santa Claus, giving and receiving presents, and having a good time. Thousands of Christians, disappointed in this have turned their back on Christmas and now celebrate the Festivals of the God of Israel.

Now, thousands of years and thousands of miles from the Mesopotamian festival of Zagmuk, Japan has its own form of Christmas, shaped by some of the old aspects of Christmas and some new ones: Kentucky Fried Chicken and Fujiya Food Service Co., Ltd. Fujiya is a Japanese confectioner founded in 1910 in the city of Yokohama. These two corporations, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Fujiya, have helped to shape modern Christmas in Japan.

Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken came to Japan in 1970 when Japanese were eating much less meat and poultry than today. Kentucky Fried Chicken was striving for success in Japan, but not finding it. As a Christmas promotion, Kentucky Fried Chicken tried to market fried chicken as a Christmas treat. Kentucky Fried Chicken employees dressed up in Santa Claus costumes and Japanese lined up to buy fried chicken, imagining it was a traditional American Christmas dinner.

Every year in Japan, millions and millions of Japanese now purchase Kentucky fried chicken for their Christmas dinners. Millions of other Japanese also serve chicken as part of the Christmas dinner. Japanese look at Colonel Sanders and note his resemblance to Santa Claus. In Japan, Christmas now means fried chicken and KFC.

Japanese are also interested in traditional American desserts. In 1910, the Fujiya Co. sold the first Christmas cake in Japan, which was a sponge cake decorated with strawberries and chocolate. Topped with cream and a sugar Santa Claus figure made from sugar, the cake finally became popular in the 1950s. As economic success came to Japan, the number of Japanese families with refrigerators grew.

Almost everyone had a refrigerator by the late 1960s, and the butter cream changed to whipped cream. Strawberries became available year round and became part of the modern Japanese Christmas cake. For some reason, Japanese imagine that their Christmas cakes are designed after American Christmas cakes. Americans in Japan do not see this, looking at Japanese Christmas cakes and thinking more of birthday cakes.

Other aspects of Christmas in Japan include the holiday being a romantic holiday to spend with your true love, including a romantic gift. Japanese also put children’s presents next to their pillows so they see them first when they wake up in the morning, and let’s not forget reservations. You will probably need a reservation to get that KFC chicken. After all Christmas is KFC’s busiest time of the year.

If this seems entertaining to you, imagine how entertained the Mesopotamians would be by how you celebrate Christmas.

Papillon Grand Canyon National Park Helicopter Trips to the South Rim

Papillon Helicopters is famous for it’s Grand Canyon South Rim trips. I was in charge of the family’s canyon getaway this year. Naturally, I booked with Papillon. Here’s a quick review of my getaway:

There were six of us. We stayed at El Tovar in an area of the Park called Grand Canyon Village, which is based in the borders of the National Park. I highly recommend this hotel. It may be costly, but it is worth every penny as you are seconds out of the rim’s edge.

I think you are able to make plans with Papillon to be picked up. Otherwise, you can arrange a pick up at the transportation desk inside the Bright Angel Lodge. I hired a Toyota Landcruiser with regard to our trip. I packed the bunch inside and completed the 10-minute drive to Grand Canyon National Airport.

The airport is situated just outside Tusayan. You can’t miss it. There’s lots of activity. Choppers as well as planes turn up and depart from it frequently. The Papillon terminal is the biggest. I parked the SUV and got us checked in (incidentally, the coffee there is great!).

The atmosphere is quite pleasant. I met a lot of fellow travellers from Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The reception is cozy. We were up late yesterday so I slipped in a power nap. I awoke to my sister tugging on my jacket as well as informing me it was time to fly.

Helis hold up to six individuals (in the event you weigh in excess of 275 pounds you may be asked to buy what they call a “comfort seat.”). Since this was family, I upgraded all of us to the EcoStar 130, which features 25% additional cabin room, theater-style seating, as well as a 180-degree wraparound windshield for far better views.

I also booked us on the extended flight. Papillon’s standard South Rim chopper journey is half an hour. That’s plenty for most people. I figure that what you see in half an hour would require a couple of days on the ground. Yet I needed more (it isn’t every day you fly the canyon), therefore I went with a excursion that offered us between 45-50 minutes of airtime.

Take off was amazing. Our helicopter, nose forward, roared from the runway and made a low-altitude flight over Kaibab National Forest, which hosts the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine on the planet. In 10 minutes, we said bye to the edge and found ourselves front and center in the Dragoon Corridor, the widest and deepest section of the Grand Canyon.

It was an incredible sight. The Colorado River was below us. So was the Temple of Ra. The buttes and spires were surreal. There were no clouds on the horizon. Our pilot described that our visibility was about 140 miles in comparison to 30 for people on the ground! The chopper powered on to the stately North Rim. Here we turned back, taking in Hopi Point as well as Grand Canyon Village while we made our descent.

Papillon records all flights employing digital cameras on the outside and inside of the chopper. I recommend you buy a copy of your journey on DVD. I did. The quality was great. I created copies for everyone. They loved it. Undoubtedly a great souvenir of our helicopter journey.

Papillon Helicopters Grand Canyon South Rim tour receives two thumbs up from us. This had been a journey of the South Rim. I’m happy we did the extended trip. The extra airtime had been worth the cost. Our guide was great and entertained us with details and tales of the region. He made the destination come alive for my family. This had been definitely a trip highlight for my family and me. We’ll certainly be doing this air excursion again.

Why take off to Conrad Rangali Island for Your Dream Stay

Rangali Isle is a divine atoll in the Maldives–isles in the Arabian Sea, off the southwestern point of India. Rangali Island is in the southern part of the Ari Atoll, approximately 55 miles from Male, the capital of the Maldives. Rangali Atoll is home to 50 water villas of ever escalating degrees of luxury.

Rangali Isle is residence to 50 water villas of yet degrees of extravagance. Rangali Water Sports: Adrenalin junkies know how to aim their hands at wind surfing, kite surfing, catamaran sailing, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing banana rides, knee boarding, wake boarding and snorkelling. Rangali Island, where the Seashore Villas are situated, has some of the greatest white sandy beaches in the Maldives. Rangali Bar is the social focal end on the island, with a relaxed, sand floored setting and outside seats. Rangali Atoll offers the younger guests and their parents a exclusive distraction feel throughout their lodge at the resort. Find barefoot comfort at the award-winning Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, place on two restricted atolls amongst miles of idyllic white-sand beach and unspoilt reef. Equally day and nighttime transfers to Rangali Island by seaplanes are offered. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Isle is the pure residence for spa lovers with not one but two spas on its tropical atolls. Dine five meters below sea level at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Isle only one of its kind sub-eating place. Pamper in a Thai rub down or minerals mask the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. After arriving in Male there is still a transfer across the airdrome by bus and a half hour delay for a half hour air travel in a twin engined otter jet to take you to Alif (Ari) atoll and Rangali Atoll. What makes Conrad Maldives Rangali Island one of a type worldwide is that it houses the only fully submarine bistro in the whole globe. The resort is built on two glamorous tropical isles, Rangali and Ranglifinolhu, linked by a 500-meter footbridge running across a azure pond of striking transparency. On Rangali Atoll, sumptuous Water Villas are place on stilts in the water, with sea view baths and direct entrance to the pond from the deck. The Rangali Isle’s Over Water Spa with alluring view of the coral reef below. Not forgetting the wine connoisseurs, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island boasts 10, 000 bottles of wine all waiting to be finded.

Only single of its kind to the Maldives and six feet underneath sea level, the Wine Cellar is electronically cooled to perfection ensuring the 300 various types of wine are kept back in the finest situation even on the hottest of time.

Rangali Isle is a lovely atoll in the Maldives–atolls in the Arabian Sea, off the southwestern point of India.

Spa and Leisure include: Jiva Grande Spa to be found on an intimate atoll adjoining the resort is a physical and spiritual haven for the senses. Mandhoo Spa Eating place: Mandhoo Spa eating place offers innovative and enjoyable spa cuisine. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Atoll is the natural quarters for spa lovers with not one but two spas on its tropical atolls. Positioned on stilts 100 metres from the sea, Mandhoo Spa Bistro offers spa cuisine balanced organic ingredients. The new Destination Spa features a romantic spa, eating place and twenty single villas with their own exclusive treatment room. The spa has 13 individual treatment rooms – five with private steam, sauna and Jacuzzi, in addition to the four glass floored treatment rooms at the Over Water spa. Each spacious villa, built on the stilts over the sea, boasts alluring ocean views, a exclusive treatment room, a magnificent over-sized bath tub and a sun deck.

Rangali really is something akin to paradise. Rangali Island offers t the younger visitors and their parent s a exclusive entertainment experience for the period of their lodge at the resort.

Gran Canaria is a perfect place for a nice family holiday

The holiday island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands is much loved for its beauty and also its mild climate, with year-round warm hot sunshine. Gran Canaria is actually located closer to the African coastline, than the coastline of the mainland of Spain.

There is certainly no shortage of things to do in Gran Canaria, and in fact there are numerous gorgeous golden beaches all round its coast, that makes it totally possible to enjoy a delightful holiday simply resting by the sea. I would very much encourage you to spending a minimum of one day of your vacation to examine the island.

No one would want to spend a holiday trip on the tropical island without at the very least one visit to the capital Las Palmas, on the north-east coast. If you ‘ld like, you can combine the visit to Las Palmas, by having a visit to the beach. Las Palmas has three beaches, the very best is considered being Las Canteras, which is really just a short stroll from the shopping area in town.

A short drive south of Las Palmas you could visit the community of Aguimes, the oldest town in Gran Canaria. There is a lot to take a look at in this place, mainly the Guayadeque Ravine where you will see a complete cave village carved into the side of the hillside, with its cave bar, cave restaurant and cave church.

Most of the tourist resorts are located on the southern part of Gran Canaria, two of the most popular tourist areas are Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles. Playa del Ingles is known as the party capital, and is definitely the place to pay a visit to if you like bars, clubs and nightlife. Maspalomas is without a doubt more family friendly and also considered more upmarket, offering a number of five star accommodations. The dunes of Maspalomas is an exceptional nature made desert between Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles. Pay a visit to the dunes just before sundown, and you can watch the sand turn red in the beautiful light.

About 10km inland from Maspalomas is Palmitos Park, a subtropical oasis including a botanical garden, one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions. There is a lot to see on this spot that it can rather easily take up a whole day, with plants and orchids, over 200 species of exotic birds, and a great selection of animals including apes and crocodiles. There is also a large butterfly house, and the park regularly puts on exhibitions and presentations. The attraction of Palmitos Park is enhanced by the surrounding mountains, so you see beautiful vistas at every turn as you wander through.

A bit further west, the old fishing town of Puerto de Mogan, at the entrance to a steep sided valley, claims to be one of the most idyllic communities on island. This is the spot to be if you enjoy doing things in and on the water. Puerto de Mogan has some really good restaurants, particularly fish and seafood restaurants, like the fishermens own, Cofradia. If you like watersports, there are numbers of possibilities to pick from in the harbor area of the town. If you like to go on a sailing trip or on a dolphin safari, you can do that as well.

This is just a few of the things you can do on a vacation in Gran Canaria. It doesn’t really matter what you prefer to do during your vacation. Gran Canaria has everything !