Category Archives: Ethnic Art and Dance

2nd Annual Float for Life Event

COUSTEAUThe day includes a float and a talk by Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the conservationist, filmmaker, photographer, and author who studied the sea. She will talk about her love of the oceans and growing up with her grandfather as her guide. Her father, Philippe, who co-produced numerous projects with Jacques, died when she was 3.
“Our oceans are in trouble,” Cousteau said. “Float for Life gives people an opportunity to reconnect with the ocean be reminded that we all have an important role to play in ocean conservation. After all, people protect what they love.”
SANIBELThe float promotes the environmental, economic, psychological and physical benefits of water as part of a fundraiser for the Sanibel Sea School. The school is a nonprofit focused on marine-based preservation and offers day camps, outings, and adult classes centered on wildlife and habitats in Sanibel.

“One of our favorite things to do with our campers is a soul float,” said Director of Operations Leah Biery.
A soul float is similar to a Float for Life. While being supported by life jackets or laying back on paddle and surf boards, the children float along the beach.
“We feel the water around us, catch the current,” she said. “They are feeling and connecting with the ocean and enjoying it.” And it’s done with the same goal as Float for Life.

Image result for float for lifeThe school is “in hopes that falling in love with the ocean will make them want to protect it,” Biery said.
In the inaugural Float year, 60 people participated, and Lynch is hoping for far more this year.
Participants will form groups of three; as one person floats, the others will support them gently for about 10 minutes. Then they will rotate.
“We believe the positive floating connection to the water will inspire individual calls to action to protect our oceans,” Lynch said. “It is pretty amazing how restorative it is. Some people feel like it’s an hour, others feel like it’s 2 minutes.”
She explained that the Gulf water is roughly the same salt content as human blood, creating a connective bond.
“When somebody is floating, they naturally feel at home because of the lightness,” she said. “When you lay in the water, you feel the quiet. The water is calming to your nervous system, and, along with the likeness of the salt content, the body lets go naturally. Muscles start to let go.”

By enforcing the body/nature connection, she said it leads to action, whether it’s “picking up plastic bags or straws on the beach or voting your conscience at the polls.”
Participants will receive an eco-friendly water bottle and samples of Earth-friendly sun screen.
Biery said the school is enjoying the partnership with Float for Life.
“We’re always amazed about how well the communities of Sanibel and Fort Myers come out to support us,” she said.
COUSTEAU2CROPAlexandra Cousteau
The granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, known for his ABC show “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” from 1966-76, will speak about her famous family and her conservation work at the second annual Float for Life at Pink Shell in Fort Myers Beach.
Image result for float for life“After our first year, we wanted someone to draw more people and bring awareness to ocean conservation,” said Float for Life founder Shelley Lynch, a mental health therapist from Orlando.
Image result for alexandra cousteau blue legacyAlexandra Cousteau founded Blue Legacy, a non-profit organization to empower people to reclaim and restore the world’s water, one community at a time.
She has co-hosted “Blue August” on the Discovery Channel and was chief correspondent on water issues for Dicovery’s “Planet Green.”
She lives in Washington, D.C., and Berlin.

Connect with this reporter on Twitter @stacey_henson

Happy New Year 2015!

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The following youtube video, “Happy New Year – Auld Lang Syne by Sissel (Live).wmv.flv”, features phenomenal videography of panoramic vistas, endearing nature scenes, and of course the remarkable voice of Sissel Kyrkjebø, the Norwegian soprano.

WIDELY OBSERVED NEW YEAR SYMBOLS AND TRADITIONS

Resolutions: It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions, and people all over the world have been breaking them ever since. The early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year.

Fireworks: Noise-making and fireworks on New Year’s eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year’s celebrations.

SCOTLAND

The birthplace of “Auld Lang Syne” is also the home of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY), the rousing Scottish New Year’s celebration (the origins of the name are obscure).  The Torchlight Procession is the official start of three-days of spectacular Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events.

Credit: Lloyd SmithLast year’s event welcomed over 35,000 participants and spectators, joining the Up Helly Aa’ Vikings, massed pipes & drums and thousands of torch carriers as they illuminate the city from our start position on George IV Bridge to the finale viewing areas at Waterloo Place and Calton Hill. The Torchlight Procession fireworks finale can be viewed across the city and beyond! One of the traditions is “first-footing.”

Credit: Lloyd SmithShortly after midnight on New Year’s eve, neighbors pay visits to each other and impart New Year’s wishes. Traditionally, First foots used to bring along a gift of coal for the fire, or shortbread. It is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark, and handsome man is the first to enter your house after the new year is rung in. The Edinburgh Hogmanay celebration is the largest in the country, and consists of an all-night street party.

GREECE

Orestiko_New Year’s Eve

A different type of celebration for New Year’s Day is happening in Argos Orestiko, a town in Northern Greece.  From New Year’s Eve to January 2, the locals wear their carnival costumes and celebrate in an unusual way. Unlike the rest of the cities in Greece, Argos Orestiko celebrates with a carnival during Christmas and especially around New Year’s Day. In fact, this was a custom of western Macedonia in Greece, which had its roots there at the time while the country was enslaved by the Ottomans. In order for people of the area to celebrate freely, they were in disguise — the men dressed as women and vice versa. This celebration kept on for centuries, even after the liberation of the region in 1912, and now it offers unique moments of festivities under the sound of music and, most of the time, with very cold weather.

BELARUS


In Belarus, unmarried women compete at games of skill to determine who will get married first in the New Year. One game involves setting piles of corn and a rooster before each of the single ladies. Whichever pile the bird approaches first, is believed to be the one who is to be married first.

 JAPAN

In Japan, on New Year’s Eve people prepare for and welcome Toshigami , the New Year’s god. People clean their home and prepare Kadomatsu or Shimenawa to welcome the god before New Year’s Eve. Buddhist temples ring their bells 108 times at midnight in the tradition Joya no Kane. The rings represent the 108 elements of bonō, mental states that lead people to take unwholesome actions.  In most cities and urban areas across Japan, New Year’s Eve celebrations are usually accompanied by concerts, countdowns, fireworks, and other events to mark the beginning of the New Year.

People gather around the Zojoji Temple to release helium balloons up in the sky containing New Year’s wishes and watch the lighting of Tokyo Tower with a year number displayed on the observatory at the stroke of midnight.

THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch burn bonfires of Christmas trees on the street and launch fireworks. The fires are meant to purge the old and welcome the new.

SPAIN

At midnight, Spaniards eat twelve grapes, each one bringing luck for one month of the year. The actual countdown is primarily followed from the clock on top of the Casa de Correos building in Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid. It is traditional to eat twelve grapes, one on each chime of the clock. This tradition has its origins in 1909, when grape growers in Alicante thought of it as a way to cut down on the large production surplus they had had that year.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

New Year celebrations in the USA

On New Years Eve, at 11:59 pm, millions of Americans tune in to watch the dropping of the giant ball in Times Square in New York City. The ball, which is made of Waterford Crystal, weighs 1,070 pounds, and is six feet in diameter, reaches the bottom exactly at midnight. What most people don’t know is that this ritual is carried out five times, as local news stations replay the event at midnight in each time zone.

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and best wishes for health, happiness and prosperity in 2015

from Martin, Dave, Louise

MARTIN, DAVE, LOUISE FOR BLOG
~ Rainsoft Ottawa ~
Eternally Pure Water Systems, Inc.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_Eve
http://ryanseacrest.com/2010/12/28/9-strange-new-years-traditions-from-around-the-world/
http://www.infoplease.com/spot/newyearcelebrations.html

Ana Rucner – Ode to Joy

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I’m certain the you will be as delighted as I was to watch this mesmerizing and captivating video.  I know I’ve never seen this level of excellence in videography – kudos to those who created this on behalf of Croatia’s Tourism Board.

This Youtube video, “Ana Rucner – Ode to Joy” was uploaded on Nov 23, 2011 as the official video of the Croatian National Tourist Board “Ode to Joy” – Croatia – the new tourism star of the European Union. 

The video, featuring the most famous of Ludwig van Beethovan’s music – Ninth Symphony , was recorded in Ston, in Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

ANA IMAGE 2Performed by: Ana Rucner, Croatian cellist star

Ston is home to the second largest stone wall in the world and the video comes following Ana filming a music video on the Great Wall of China, which provided the inspiration for joining the two sites. The hope is that the music video will like Ana’s previous videos, bring tourists from all over the world closer to Croatia, showcasing elements of Ston’s culture and heritage , gastronomic offer, vineyards and salt works.

Ana plays modern interpretations of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, with musician Neven Kocković accompanying and shellfish harvesters from Ston also featured. 

water-dropletHave a wonderful weekend everyone and share this video with family and friends – a great way to keep in touch.

   

Fight to force B. C. legislation to protect waterways

 BC SALMON The following article is taken from WaterCanada’s Mar/Apr issue; “A Legal Hotbed – Environmental groups in British Columbia are fighting to force the government into using legislation to protect its waterways” by Siobhan McClelland.
Environmental groups are testing the litigation waters in British Columbia to challenge government actions that put the marine environment at risk.

PIPELINERight now, British Columbia is a
hotbed for environmental issues, with private companies interested in using the province’s waterways as part of their operations, including fracking and natural gas businesses.

               
ECOJUSTICEBut Ecojustice, a Vancouver-based organization that represents several environmental groups, is pursuing many legal cases against the government. The organization claims the government hasn’t used its legislation or has violated its legislation, resulting in too much power being handed over to private companies that are making decisions that affect the environment.
WATERWAYS PROTECTION PROGRAMWhile there are environmental laws that provide protection for Canada’s waterways and marine life, some question how effective the legislation is.

“It’s frustrating to have legislation on the books, which the various levels of government ignore or OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAinterpret in a manner different than what was represented to the populace when proclaimed,” Maureen Bell,
(see link at end for one of Maureen’s articles on water rights) a Calgary environmental lawyer, said. “In such cases, the politicians get full points for creating the legislation, but if it languishes on the shelf or is perverted in its application, it isn’t much good.”
MARGOT VENTONMargot Venton, a staff lawyer at Ecojustice, said that people have been using the courts to try to protect the marine environment since the 1980s, when the rules changed to allow public interest parties standing, or the ability to become involved in environmental cases and bring lawsuits.

VANCOUVER COASTLINE“I think right now, in the British Columbia coast, there’s a lot of tension over how we will develop resources and what we are willing to risk in the development of these resources,” Venton said. “Some of the FISH FARMpotential resource uses, like pipelines or fish farms or whatever it is, are really placing these issues front and center in people’s minds, and we’re realizing that the threat is becoming really obvious.”
BC OIL AND GAS COMMISSIONEcojustice is currently challenging the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission’s decision to issue short-term water approvals to fracking companies, arguing that the companies should have to go through the more stringent process of bringing water-license applications.
RANDY CHRISTENSENEcojustice staff lawyer Randy Christensen said short-term water approvals, which are usually good for two years, are being renewed by the same company five or six times. He said Ecojustice wants the companies that use water for fracking purposes to go into the water-licensing process, where the government would then assess the impact of the water withdrawals more carefully and look at the cumulative impacts of many water withdrawals in one area.
“Our concern right now is that there are really two different routes of getting the water. One has minimal oversight and one has more robust oversight,” Christensen said.
SALMON LIFECYCLEHe added that the cumulative impact of the fracking operations could affect water flow conditions in certain areas and fluctuations in water flow could affect the life cycles of fish in rivers and streams. This could possibly result in shortages at certain times of the year that would affect other people’s water use.
“These are all the kinds of things that need to go through the licensing process so that you have studies and assessments, and you know the impact of what those uses could be,”
Christensen said.
DISEASED SALMONFracking operations aren’t the only concern for Ecojustice. In another case, Ecojustice alleges diseased farmed Atlantic salmon have been unlawfully transferred into an open-pen fish farm, where the diseased fish would share water with wild fish. The claim is that FISHERIES LOGOFisheries and Oceans Canada has unlawfully given a private company the power to decide whether to transfer the diseased salmon.

Venton said decisions about the risks associated with the transfer of diseased fish should be made by the government, not private companies.
FISH FARM BEST“It’s more appropriate for the government to make the call about that risk than it is for a private individual or private company running a farm to make that call,” she said, arguing that the law doesn’t allow anyone to put fish that may carry a diseased agent into the ocean because this could potentially harm the conservation and protection of fish in the ocean.
PRIVATE CO MAKE DECISIONS“I think there is a general trend, in particular in the federal government, to get out of the business of governing,” she said, adding that this is her personal opinion. “There’s also a trend
in Canada toward deregulation and toward handing more and more power and decision making to the companies, with less and less oversight. You see that in British Columbia.”
DON'T FRACKKirsten Ruecker, a communications advisor at Fisheries and Oceans’ office in the Pacific Region, wrote in an email that the government was unable to comment on the fracking and salmon cases as these matters are currently before the courts.
ECOJUSTICE SAVE SALMON IN COURTThe fracking case does not have a hearing date yet. The salmon-farming case is scheduled for a hearing on June 9.

 

Siobhan McClelland is a former lawyer now working as a freelance journalist and the new media editor at Canadian Geographic. She has written for several law publications on a variety of topics.

Maureen Bell – “Water Rights Set To Make Waves” ~
http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&articleid=757

DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL ~ TEAM SHOWBOAT ~ “UNDER THE BIG TOP”

 DRAGON BOAT 2013

DRAGON CUTE GIMPYouTube promotional video for Ottawa‘s upcoming 20th annual Dragon Boat Festival – June 22-24, 2013, published on Jun 7, 2012 by CTVOttawaMorningLiveA dragon boat comes rowing down the street outside of the CTV Morning Live studio, so Jeff Hopper heads out to chat with them!

TEAMThe Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, now North America’s largest festival, began in 1994. Four years later, a charitable component was added to raise funds for local charities. To date, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation has raised over $2.5 million for local charities.

SHOW BOAT LOGOFor several years, under several different names, the members of Showboat have pledged and paddled in the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.  Sponsored by the Chinatown BIA, Showboat, under the direction of Rick Martin, Kevin Reichstein, Mealanie St. Jean and Stephanie Mayer, consists of 20 paddlers, a few alternates, a steersperson and a drummer. This dynamic Dragon Boat team draws a lot of attention, year after year, as the whole day is spent in themed costumes – obviously this year’s theme is “Under The Big Top”.

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​The vast majority of the teams attending the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival are there for competitive reasons, paddling in various heats in a quest for medals.  Chinatown’s Showboat concentrates on fundraising activities throughout the year to support charities that benefit from the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation.  So far this year Team Showboat has already raised $17,000 in fundraising events such as:

Karaoke Night KARAOKE

Zumba in the park  ZUMBA2

Great Glebe Garage Sale  GLEBE GARAGE SALE

VIP Gala Launch Party        9441VIP GALA LAUNCH PARTY

Drawing from the immense talent that exists in the community, events at various venues around town and the generosity of many Showboat supporters, the team has raised considerable funds. Since 2005, the team raised $82,752.38.

For 2005 through 2007 and again in 2010, the team was recognized by the Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival through the Team Spirit Cup award.

I just had to include the following inspirational video I found on YouTube, “Must Watch Dragon Boat Clip!!!”, taken from various dragon boat events in Singapore.  This video was created to show that the sport, dragon boating, is not just about training hard to win, but to enjoy and embrace all the elements that it encompasses ~ Love ~ Pride ~ Unity ~

KAYAK PADDLEGIMPICONDip, dip and swing your paddles

              Flashing with silver

              Follow the wild goose flight

            Dip, dip and swing…

Good luck Team Showboat!KAYAK PADDLEGIMPICON

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY ~ RIVERDANCE

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MICHAEL RIVERDANCERiverdance, the internationally-acclaimed celebration of Irish music, song and dance that has thrilled millions around the world is now in its 15th phenomenal year of touring.
 
MICHAEL FLATLEYFLUTEThere are many Lord of the Dance videos and I think this is one of the best ~  featuring the dancers, the High Priests, and Michael Flatley playing the  flute with orchestra accompaniment.  The music is absolutely captivating ~ hauntingly beautiful!!! (approx. 4:40 into the video).  Michael Flatley is the creator, producer and director of Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames and Celtic Tiger is an amazing dancer, and he is also a phenomenal flutist as well.
   
      
 
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Written, devised, produced and choreographed by Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance premiered at The Point Theatre in Dublin on July 2, 1996, within just eight weeks of its inception. The audience went wild. By the end of the evening, the show had received several standing ovations and such rave reviews that it was to become the most talked about, most written about, and the most critically acclaimed show in musical history.  Lord of the Dance has gone on to receive unparalleled accolades, and to break theatrical records across the globe. Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance not only brought Irish dancing to the world stage; it catapulted  the art of Irish dance to a higher plane, unprecedented worldwide recognition and cove straight into hearts and minds of millions worldwide.

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