Twas the Night Before Christmas

A Visit From Saint Nicholas Arguably the most popular Christmas poem ever written, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was penned by Clement Clarke Moore and first published on 23 December 1823 in the "Troy Sentinel" newspaper in upstate New York as "A Visit From Saint Nicholas".  Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the …

Where to View California Golden Poppies

As a native of California, I have had a thing for the California Golden Poppy - the Golden State's official flower - since I was a little boy. I grew up in the then sparsely populated hills of Oakland, California, in the United States, and I recall that each spring these lovely golden blossoms would …

Viewing Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC

Japan isn't the only place to enjoy cherry blossoms this spring. The capital of the United States puts on a pretty spectacular floral display of its own – thanks to the friendship and generosity of the Japanese people nearly 100 years ago. The Tidal Basin of Washington, DC – home to the Washington Monument and …

Viewing Cherry Blossoms in Japan

The blossoming of sakura, or cherry trees, starts as early as January in sub-tropical Okinawa, reaching Kyoto and Tokyo in late March or early April, and continuing northward toward Hokkaido – the northernmost of Japan's four major islands – as late as May. Just as weather varies from year to year, the blooming of cherry …

How Chinese New Year Is Celebrated Overseas

Chinese New Year is an official holiday throughout Greater China, which includes the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. It also enjoys official status in countries with significant Chinese communities, such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. Chinese New Year – while not an official holiday – is also celebrated in cities with significant Chinese …

Chinese New Year: Days 3 & 4

Traditionally, it was customary for people to spend Chinese New Year's Eve and the first two days of the New Year with family. By days three and four, things could – quite understandably – start getting a bit tense. To avoid arguments, it was considered best to avoid relatives on the third and fourth days …

Chinese New Year: Day Two

If the Western calendar is linear in nature, the Lunar Calendar is cyclical, running in five 12 year cycles. These comprise two factors. The first are the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. The second are and the five elements: wood, fire, …