One of our local tourist attractions in San Francisco are the parrots of Telegraph Hill. Feral and free-flying, these Cherry-Headed Conures are often seen (and heard!) in flocks over Coit Tower and the North Beach neighborhood. Originally from Peru and Ecuador, these parrots are believed to be descendants of escaped or released pets. In 2004 there was a film made about them, titled The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.
Another flock of wild parrots can be found in Park Guell, in Barcelona Spain. A gorgeous park filled with architecture by Gaudi and rolling gardens, it also is home to a large flock of Monk Parakeets.
Horses have been an important part of Spain’s culture, agriculture, military, and sport for hundreds of years. However Spain’s most famous breed of horse would have to be the Andalusian.
Engraving of Andalusian, 1743
The breed was developed in the Iberian Penninsula in the 15th century, and was originally used as war horses to carry warriors during battle. They were eventually replaced by sturdier, larger horses who could carry men in armor, and since then have become sport horses, doing anything from dressage to bull-fighting.
We have our own New Year’s traditions in the USA. In almost every major city there is a grand firework display. People gather around their TVs to watch the ball drop in Times Square, and champagne is the drink of choice. We have hats and glasses, noisemakers and confetti. In many parts of the USA eating black eyed peas is rumored to bring you good luck, and they’re often served with collard greens and pork or ham. We make resolutions for the New Year, and kiss each other at midnight.
But what are other countries’ traditions around this date?
At midnight on January 1st, Buddhist temples across Japan ring their bells 108 times, to ward off the 108 sins in Buddhist belief. Traditional food on this date is a dish of seaweed, fish cakes, mashed sweet potato, burdock root, and sweetened black soybeans, called osechi, as well as kagami mochi, which are rice cakes topped with oranges. Postcards are sent to friends and family celebrating the New Year, and haiku poetry is celebrated with themes of new beginnings.
In Mexico it’s traditional to eat 12 grapes at the chimes of midnight, making a wish with each one. Houses are decorated in the color red, and wishes are made for the New Year. In Mexico City the New Year celebrations occur in Zocalo, which is the main large plaza of the city.
In Finland there is an old New Year’s eve tradition that involves dropping hot pieces of tin into cold buckets of water. The shape that they assume can be interpreted as indications of the New Year. Different shapes have different meaning, signifying wealth, happiness, sickness, sorrow, and love.
Scotland has a New Year’s Eve tradition referred to as “first-footing”. The first-footer is the first person to cross the threshold and enter a house in the New Year. Signifying a bearer of good luck, the first footer (often young and dark-haired) carries with them a coin, bread, salt, whisky, or coal, depending on what the family is wishing for in the New year.
Panama celebrates the New Year by the burning of Muñecos, effigies of celebrities or politicians during bonfire parties. Contests are held as to who has the best muñeco. The burning of muñecos is believed to fight off evil spirits in preparation for a new year.
Let’s say Happy New Year! in:
Gleðilegt nýtt ár! (Icelandic)
Bonne Annee! (French)
Feliz Ano-Nuevo! (Spanish)
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! (Welsh)
Gelillog Nieuwjaar! (Dutch)
Sretna Nova Godina (Croatian)
Sawadee Pee Mai (Thai)
And from all of us at Tea – Best Wishes for a very happy New Year!
The Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest spans the Danube river, connecting the Western and Eastern parts of the city. Opened in 1849, the bridge is named after Count István Széchenyi, who financially and politically supported its construction. Made of beautifully intricate wrought iron, the bridge was greatly damaged during the Siege of Budapest during World War II , and was partly rebuilt.
While exploring Budapest our designers came across a magnificent lion gracing the abutments at the end of the bridge.
He is a smaller stone replica of the famous bronze Trafalgar lions, guarding Nelson’s Column in London. and was installed on the bridge in 1852. Inspired by his noble features, our designers created this stylish shirt:
Know any little lions in your life? You can find this shirt here.
One of the best things about learning other languages is identifying words that don’t exist in English. My mother teaches English as a foreign language and always has fun exercises for her students on this theme. This blog post inspired us at Tea last month to start thinking about and collecting our favorite words that exist in other languages, but that don’t have direct English translations.
Some of our favorites:
Espirit d’escalier (French) Having the perfect comeback (too late).
Pisan zapra: (Malay) The time needed to eat a banana.
Chantepleurer (French) singing at the same time as crying.
Waldeinsamkeit (German) the feeling of being alone in the woods
Pochemuchka (Russian) a person who asks a lot of questions
Gezellig (Dutch) warm, friendly, happy, cozy, in relation to a place.
Meraki (Greek) doing something with soul, creativity, or love
Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island) to borrow objects one by one from a neighbour’s house until there is nothing left
Age-otori (Japanese) To look worse after a haircut.
Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese) An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude.
Nito-onna: (Japanese) for a woman so dedicated to her career that she has no time to iron blouses and so resorts to dressing only in knitted tops.
Katy has this story:
My aunt always uses the word: “genare“, an Italian word that technically means “to bring forth”. She uses it to mean “to use something for the first time.” My Italian Uncle’s family always used it that way. I always thought that was a cute word. She doesn’t like “genaring” things and lets them sit in her closet for a long time before using them.
What are your favorite words in other languages that don’t exist in English? Share in the comments below!
It’s time to start thinking about Holiday travel! To make it a little easier (and more fun) our good friends at eBags are giving one lucky Tea fan a Caribbean Joe 3 piece hardside luggage set - perfect to take you to family gatherings throughout the season (and beyond).
Caribbean Joe Malibu Luggage Set
The Caribbean Joe Malibu 3 Piece Hardside Luggage Set protects your belongings with the enhanced durability of the 4-corner riveted protective shells. The set includes 20”, 24” and 28” cases made from flexible ABS composite material in eye-popping colors. The 4 wheel spinner system provides the smoothest and most effortless movement for your life on the go.
To enter, please share your favorite ebags.com bag, backpack, or piece of luggage as a comment on this contest post. Be sure to tell us why you love it and include the link to your favorite item in your blog comment. The contest runs for two days–from 11/10-11/11. The randomly selected winner will be announced on Friday morning.
Maramures is an old county in Northwestern Romania. Largely rural and agricultural, Maramures has held onto traditional farming and lifestyle methods, choosing to use manual labor to plow their fields and harvest their crops. Fine detailed handiwork is valued – and results in stunning embroidered fabrics, beadwork, carpet weaving and wood carvings. The cultural traditions of the Maramures region date back to before the Renaissance era, and have been carefully nurtured and preserved, and handed down through generations.
This season our designers were greatly influenced by a common item of traditional dress worn by Maramurian women and girls – a traditional red and black striped dress or skirt.
Honored as traditional garb for girls and women of all ages, you will still find variations on this style and pattern across the region.
This season our designers took a modern approach to this inspiration, and created our Maramures Dress:
With its bold black and red stripes, and its ability to be layered with warm leggings and cozy mocknecks, this dress is perfect for the winter and holiday season.
Transylvania is a region in central Romania, nestled next the the Carpathian mountain range to the East and South. Dating back to the Roman empire, Transylvania has a rich history of battles, monarchies, and occupations. Despite its colorful past, in the USA Transylvania is known best for the myths of vampires, werewolves, and spirits that supposedly reside there.
In 1897 Bram Stoker wrote a book he called Dracula. While stories of vampires had existed before the release of Dracula, the popularity of the novel pushed them into the mainstream through books, theater, and movies. But how based in fact are these stories of the world’s most famous vampire?
The name “Dracula” is rumored to have originated from Vlad the Impaler’s full name – Vlad III Dracula. Vlad III is heralded by Romanians as a hero for fighting off the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 13th century, but unfortunately killed thousands of civilians in the process. Bram Stoker came across stories of Vlad when researching Romania for his novel, and borrowed the name Dracula for his main character.
What about Dracula’s castle? Transylvania has many old castles, and there are three in debate as to which is “Dracula’s” castle – Poenari Castle, Hunyad Castle, and Bran Castle. Bran Castle is marketed as the most credible, partly due to the fact that Vlad the Impaler (Dracula’s namesake) used to use the castle as a base during battles. Wanting to experience some of the legend, many tourists visit Bran Castle in search of the story of Dracula.
I always find it interesting to find out there is a little bit of truth, however tangential, in famous legends, particularly those of the spooky variety. Have a safe, fun, and happy Halloween!