Unique Traditional Dances From Around the World

Traditional dances are a sight to behold. They’re not done just for the aesthetics, but to preserve cultures and remind people of their humble origins as well.

Contrary to Abba’s words, not only seventeen-year olds can be dancing queens. Everyone can be, and these traditional dances from around the world prove that. Traditional dances are a sight to behold. They’re not done just for the aesthetics, but to preserve cultures and remind people of their humble origins as well.       

Indonesia – Kecak Dance

The Kecak is the famous fire dance originating from Bali, Indonesia. It is a popular cultural attraction for local and international tourists alike due to the amazing display of colorful costumes and elaborate fire structures.

This traditional dance is a portrayal of a war between Prince Rama with his monkey army, and the evil Rahwana. The dancers move to the tune sung by themselves.

It’s usually performed at dusk to emphasize the fire attractions. To do the Kecak, 150 men wearing Balinese sarongs sit around a fire structure. In the middle are the priest, Rama, Shinta (Rama’s wife), the Monkey King, Rahwana, and Sugriwa, a Buddhist god.

Italy – Tarantella

The Tarantella is a couple folk dance that involves light, quick steps, and flirtatious & teasing behavior. The female dancers usually carry tambourines as they groove to the sound. The dance is traditionally performed during celebrations, especially weddings.

This traditional dance was believed to cure a specific sickness caused by tarantula bites, hence the name Tarantella. As time passed by, it also became a dance of courtship. In this version, the woman uses liveliness to spark the love of her partner. In return, the man tries to charm her with elegance and tenderness.

The Philippines – Tinikling

Tinikling is the oldest dance in the Philippines. It involves bamboo poles that are moved simultaneously. The original version includes two poles only, but a variation involves four poles in a criss-cross position.

Each pair, consisting of a male and a female, has to dance to the rhythm while the bamboo poles are moving at their feet. The dancers have to maintain composure as they have to avoid getting their ankles caught between the bamboo poles.

Ukraine – Hopak

Hopak is a traditional dance with a Ukranian origin. Its first version only involved males. As it became more popular, Hopak was danced by soloists, couples, and groups.

What makes this traditional dance interesting is that it doesn’t have a fixed set of steps. Men usually improvise steps in the form of high leaps, turns, and squat kicks. On the other hand, women do simple steps by swaying, clapping, and going in circles. Additionally, complex acrobatic movements are common in stage versions of Hopak.

Japan – Kabuki

Kabuki is a traditional dance accompanied with drama. The amazing mix of dance, music, mime, and costumes made it popular in Japan for more than four centuries. The dance drama is also a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, which makes locals and foreigners flock to see Kabuki live.

Kabuki is a visual spectacle that emphasizes looks more than the plot. The set design, music, and dance steps were all carefully crafted to produce a breathtaking show.

Russia – Barynya

The Barynya of Russia is a traditional dance characterized by extremely energetic moves. It is accompanied by chastushka, which is a folk song with a high beat frequency. Chastushkas are full of humor, irony, or satire.

The female dancers wear embroidered Russian dresses and headgears. On the other hand, the male dancers don shirts, loose trousers, and boots with high heels. The dance has a non-complex choreography, with simple steps such as foot stomping and knee bending.

Mongolia – Tsam Dance

The Tsam Dance of Mongolia is a Tibetan Buddhist dance that includes characters of Buddhist legends and animals that symbolizes both good and bad. Seeing dancers wear lion, crow, or deer costumes are a common sight during a Tsam performance. 

Historically, a Tsam dance was done at the beginning of the year to exorcise evil. Nowadays, the dance is mainly believed to bring good fortune. All dancers are required to wear masks (most of which cover the whole head) and elaborate costumes that take many days to perfect.

England – Abbots Bromley Horn Dance

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance is an English folk dance that’s believed to be the oldest one, with an age of more than 1,000 years. This traditional dance is performed each year on the first Monday after September 4 in the Staffordshire village.

During the dance, six people carry the horns. They are accompanied by a musician with a violin or accordion. The Maid Marian (a man in a dress), the Hobby horse, the Jester (a young person with a bow & arrow), and another young person with a triangle complete the ensemble.

Traditionally, all of the dancers have to be males, but modern versions of the dance allow girls to carry triangles, bows, and arrows.

    

5 Amazing Mexican Dishes To Try at Home

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and what’s better than indulging in authentic Mexican food on this festive day? Here are 5 amazing Mexican dishes you can try at home.

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and what’s better than indulging in authentic Mexican food on this festive day? This day holds much importance to people living in Mexico and some parts of the USA as it portrays a good moment in history. So it doesn’t matter if you can’t go to a Mexican restaurant this year or see the parade, you can easily whip up some amazing recipes that are sure to make your day! 

Enchiladas Verde

Enchiladas are simple to make and will give you an authentic Mexican feel while you devour it. Get your hands on the tomatillos, garlic, onion, jalapeños, poblano, shredded chicken, lime, and tortillas. Broil all the vegetables and then toss them into a blender to create a smooth sauce. Then all you need to do is layer up 8 to 10-inch tortillas, insert your shredded chicken (or meat), pour the sauce over your tortillas, and finally, bake it altogether, to get the Enchiladas Verde hot, delicious & ready!

Crockpot chalupas

Chalupas are some of the most common food items opted for on Cinco de Mayo. You can easily make them at home now as slow cookers are here to help you. Add the meat, spices, beans, and vegetables into the crockpot and let them sit for 4 to 6 hours. You can carry on making other delicious for Cinco de Mayo while this gets done. Once the timer is up, all you need to do is shred up the meat, layer the contents from the crockpot onto a tortilla base, add some cheese on top, and voila! Your crockpot chalupas are ready.

Breakfast burritos 

What’s a Mexican festival without burritos? Add a spin to it and start you Cinco de Mayo with a breakfast burrito. Add all the ingredients that you would like in the burrito and start your day right! A saucy breakfast burrito with beans, eggs, and cheese is sure to put you in a great mood while you stay at home. 

Tacos

Indulge in delicious variations of tacos this day! While people mainly opt for beef in their tacos but if you don’t want it, then you can easily switch the beef with chicken or beans. To make your crispy tacos, toss in your preference of meat and vegetables in spiced salsa, add a bit of lime on top to give your tacos that boost in flavor and enjoy! You can create different variations of these tacos and snack on them all day long, you can be creative with this one. 

Red Salsa 

And finally, Cinco de Mayo is incomplete without red salsa and nachos. The best thing about this is that you don’t even need too many ingredients to make it! Get your hands on some tomatoes, spicy jalapeños, cilantro, some onions, and lime; to make the perfect dip, pair it up with your choice of nachos. And don’t be tempted to buy ready-made salsa from your local supermarket, they just don’t taste the same, as a freshly made salsa, and its definitely not as fun.

While this Cinco de Mayo is going to be all about staying at home this year, you might as well indulge in cooking some of the greatest Mexican food! These recipes are simple and easy to make, and make sure to have fun while you’re creating these dishes. Viva Mexico!

7 Tea Rituals From Around The World

Tea is one of the most consumed beverages around the world and tee rituals & ceremonies vary from country to country. This article showcases 7 tea rituals from across the globe.

While sitting staring endlessly at my desktop, drinking tea and indulging in chocolate, thinking of what the next topic should be, should I write about my latest travels to Russia, or about my recent trip to the surreal land of Iceland, or considering its Ramadan, should I write about this beautiful Islamic tradition. As I continue drinking and enjoying my cup of tea and trying to decide what to write about, it came to me, the thing that am drinking, let’s talk about tea. Tea is something that actually showcases how different cultures have adapted a single beverage in various ways, in a way; it showcases how different cultures use the same beverage for remedies, health, socializing etc.  but in complete different ways and methods.

So here it is, 7 tea rituals from across the world.

Note: to enjoy this article to the max, don’t forget your cup of tea.

China

Let’s begin with China, and why not? Considering it’s the biggest producer of tea worldwide. Producing approximately 2.5 million ton of tea per year, that accounts to about 30% of the whole world tea production. It is also said that the Chinese were the first to discover the tea leaf.

One the of most popular traditional Chinese tea ceremonies is known as Gong fu tea, which literally means, “making tea with skill”. The tea ceremony is ideally served to a guest of two to four, and usually the first step of the process is for the guests to smell the tea leaves before the brewing starts. The tea cups are then arranged in circles, and the pouring process is done from a high level in a continuous motion, around the circle until each cup is full. The guests then hold the cup with two hands, and sip slowly through to savor the taste, and once the tea is finished, they continue to hold the cup to relish in the aroma. The type of tea that is normally used in such ceremonies is oolong or pu erh this is because they taste best in such brewing techniques.

India

Similarly, to China, India is also both a huge producer and consumer of tea. India is especially famous for its Chai Masala blend of teas which traditionally includes black tea leaves mixed with certain spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, and pepper. Tea Vendors can be found in every street corner, they are called “Chai Wallahs”, they sell their unique tea blends in small sustainable clay cups.

Mongolia

You most probably heard of sweet tea, but have you heard of salt teas?  Mongolian tea also known locally as Suutei Tsai, is a type of tea that is served with every meal.  The tea is made with green tea, milk, water and salt.  Yes, you heard that correctly, salt! This unique type of tea is typically served in small bowls as opposed to cups or glasses. So next time you want to try something exotic, why not add salt to your tea? At your own risk, of course!

Morocco

From Asia, all the way to North Africa, and specifically to Morocco, where tea is more than just a beverage. Moroccan tea, also known as Touareg tea, is a blend of green tea and mint leaves mixed with a generous serving of sugar. Moroccan tea acts as the core of Moroccan hospitality, as it is always the beverage of choice that is served to house guests. It is usually served three times in one sitting, with each serving the taste varies slightly. The reason for the three servings is explained by this famous Moroccan proverb “The first cup is as gentle as life, the second is as strong as love, the third is as bitter as death”. It’s not advisable to refuse any of the three servings, as it may seem disrespectful towards the hosts.

Argentina

Yerba mate on a white wooden table. studio shot

Next stop: South America, to the land of silver, Argentina. In Argentina, Uruguay and South of Brazil, tea is a completely different story, it is usually made from a special kind of herb known as Yerba Mate. Argentineans consider yerba mate more than just a beverage, it is usually sipped in social events, to connect people together; yerba mate to Argentineans is “a way of life”. It is usually prepared in a small pot from which it’s consumed through a special metal straw called a bombilla. The same pot and the same bombilla is usually passed around the group, and everyone takes a few sips from the same container, to symbolize a social bond between the guests, friends or family members. The drink is known to be very bitter and is usually served without a sweetener. Oh and if you’re wondering if it tastes anything like tea, it doesn’t.

Russia

What better than to drink a lovely hot tea beverage in the cold winters of Russia? Russians have a traditional process of preparing tea, which starts with heating water in a metal container called a samovar. The water is mixed with a large quantity of tea and brewed for a prolonged period in a specific container. This creates what is referred to as the zavarka tea concentrate. Wealthier families in Russia tend to have decorated samovars made of fine metals and is traditionally served in glass cups held in metal encasings called podstakannik. These metal holders are decorated with a similar amount of complexity as the samovar. The type of tea that is used for the tea concentrate varies, from fruit-based tisanes to herbal teas, typically made with local plants.

England

Afternoon tea for two

And of course, we can’t have an article about tea without mentioning England.  In England, “afternoon tea” has been a way of life since the early 19th century. During this time, two meals a day was the norm, and due to the long gap between the two meals, an afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford, which then inspired the upper class of society, and soon became the norm across all of England.  A typical afternoon tea includes a chosen type of tea served with light sandwiches and savories, which is then followed by scones filled with cream and jam and ending with sweet pastries. Which tea though? Good question! Today, there is over 1,500 different teas that are consumed in England. They all vary in style, taste, and color. And that’s why England is the land of tea.

The Top 8 Rated Attractions Of New York City

New York is attractive for many to live in, to migrate to, and to visit. Here are is our pick of the top 8 must visit attractions of New York City.

“The Empire State,” “The Great American Melting Pot,” “Gotham,” “The City that Never Sleeps,” and most famously “The Big Apple” are the references or nicknames for New York. Fast-paced and ever-changing with ideals like peace and liberty along with cultural and linguistic diversity, New York is attractive for many to live in, to migrate to, and to visit. Here are is our pick of the top 8 must visit attractions of New York City.

Statue of Liberty

the Statue of Liberty has kept its torch high in New York Harbor since 1886 and is a quintessential emblem of American independence, and no travel to Liberty Island is full without a visit to the Mother of Exiles. The huge pedestal of the statue contains an observation deck as well as galleries documenting the interesting past of the 305-foot copper statue.

The Empire State Building

Having made an appearance in numerous movies and tv shows, The Empire State Building is a world-famous landmark that remains a Manhattan icon for a good reason. The main deck on the 86th floor is the tallest open-air observatory in NYC, providing breathtaking 360-degree views of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and more. If it isn’t high enough, head to the 102nd floor’s indoor observation deck for a complete shot of Central Park. The 80th floor holds the Dare to Dream exhibit, which honors the 3,400 people who built the 1,454-foot skyscraper and features original and authentic photos, design drawings, and development notes.

American Museum of Natural History

The American Museum of Natural History, established in 1869, is one of the biggest and most respected museums in the world. The complex comprises four floors of display halls of over 32 million items, including exhibits ranging from plant and animal species to historical artifacts, fossils, minerals, and more. It includes a planetarium, an Imax theatre, and several lecture rooms. It is a perfect place to promote a wider interest in science and culture. The museum gives well-guided tours and even occasional sleepovers at the museum.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, colloquially named “The Met,” established in 1870, is a rich chest of unique and exquisite artifacts where art is honored. Crafts, antiques, furniture, shoes, clothes, books, weapons, and guns are all part of this stunning set. The museum lives in three iconic locations, “The Met Fifth Avenue,” “The Met Breuer,” host of modern and contemporary art, and “The Met Cloisters,” which holds medieval artifacts. Established as a way of educating the American public on the beauty of international art and architecture, the organization quickly expanded to become one of the world’s leading art repositories.

Top of the Rock Observation Deck

The Edge, a 1,131-foot-high-observation deck, is the tallest man-made viewing platform in the Western Hemisphere. A triangular platform at the top of 30 Hudson Yards where patrons can peer down on New Yorkers walking below like little ants.

9/11 Memorial and Museum

The memorial and the museum are solemn, poignant, and touching tributes to almost 3,000 people who lost their lives during the 9/11 and 26 February 1993 terrorist attacks. It offers a full illustration of the bravery and humanity displayed globally, nationwide and worldwide during the attacks, and is interspersed with fragments of buildings and other wreckage retrieved by those who sacrificed their own life to rescue others.

Broadway

From lavish musicals such as The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia! , edgy, thought-provoking films, frequently starring big-name stars in leading roles, there’s plenty for everybody in one of the world’s leading theater destination. Lyceum is Broadway’s longest continuously running legal building, and Manhattan’s most popular theatre.

Coney Art Walls

Located in the center of the Coney Island Amusement District, Coney Art Walls is an outdoor public art gallery, designed by Joseph Sitt and Jeffrey Deitch, displaying pieces by prominent local and foreign artists. The public art wall project provides live entertainment and iconic dining from all over New York City

New York is an ever-changing city that provides us with a variety of to notch places choose to visit, it is hard to narrow them down in one list, but these locations are evergreen and iconic, and they have a reputation all around the world.

Should Finland Be Your Next Destination?

Finland is a land filled with exotic people, breathtaking scenery, and some of the most interesting social customs on earth. Let’s talk about why Finland could be the best destination for your next European trip.

If we are all being completely honest, it’s rather unlikely that Finland is very high on your list of worldwide dream destinations. However, that might be a big mistake, if you know the charm and character that this little gem in the Nordics carries, it’s country that should definitely be on your bucket-list. Finland is a land filled with exotic people, breathtaking scenery, and some of the most interesting social customs on earth. Let’s talk about why Finland could be the best destination for your next European trip.

Nature

Finland is one of the most sparsely populated countries in all of Europe. But don’t let that deter you! The country is filled with endless beauty when it comes to nature, and sights to see. Outside of the bustling cities, the country of Finland has nearly 200,000 lakes, and Finns love to hike around them, swim in them, and experience them in their daily lives.

In addition to the gorgeous lakes, up north in the Finnish Lapland is one of the most clear places in the world to view the famous northern lights. Some hotels even have glassed igloos to sleep underneath the vibrant green skylight, now how would want to miss something like that? In contrast, the Finnish summers turn the country into ‘the land of the midnight sun’, with endless daylight.

For those who love being in tune with the earth and natural beauty, Finland is one of the best places on earth for it.

The Culture

The Finns have a rather bad reputation for being quite reserved and quiet people. However, once you spend a few days in Helsinki (the capital city) you will quickly learn that reputation only extends to the first few minutes. Once Finns realize that you are someone interested in them or their culture, they quickly become some of the most fun and welcoming people you are likely to meet on your European travels.

One thing that Finland is known for, is their sauna culture. The sauna was actually invented in Finland, and it is a rather important piece of their social interaction. In fact, there are almost as many saunas as there are people in Finland. The Finns love to crack open some beers, grill sausages, and spend their days swimming in the many lakes around them and going in and out of the sauna. It is one of the most exotic, and exciting cultural experiences that you are likely to experience anywhere in Europe. Not to mention, they even do it in the dead of winter, followed by swimming in the frozen waters!

Food

Finland is known for more than a few cultural staples in their diet. The Finns have lived in their land for thousands of years, and have had time to perfect their own recipes and iconic dishes that can only be found in Finland; such as the Karelian pie, and the infamous ‘mustamakkara’ which means ‘black sausag’e–usually eaten with berry jam. Finnish food is guaranteed to be unlike anything you have ever tried before.

Final Thoughts

For those who love to take a step into a more exotic adventure, the great white north could be the perfect destination. Finland is filled with natural experiences, deep history and culture, and charming people who love to meet travelers. Perhaps Finland might be the ‘hidden gem’ destination you have been looking for.