Buddha Shaped Pears – Pears In The Shape Of The Budha

Buddha Shaped Pears – Pears In The Shape Of The Budha

Buddha Pears - Pears In The Shape Of The Budha

Buddha Pears - Pears In The Shape Of The Budha

Gao Xianzhang (an indigenous farmer hailing from the village of Hexia in Northern China) has managed to mould juicy pears into little Buddha figurines. Gao Xianzhang worked six years to perfect his Buddha-Pear-Growing technique and has grown over 10,000 Buddha-shaped baby pears with amazing and inspiring results. The pears are grown in an aerated plastic Buddha mould, each painstakingly attached to baby pears during the growing phase. Many people purchase Gao Xianzhang’s Buddha Pears as soon as they are picked and the mere sight of the Buddha Pears hanging from the trees induce a sense of the surreal and meditative. People believe that the Budha pears will bring them good luck and have been willing to pay upto US $7 for each pear.

Longest Solar Eclipse of 21st Century to Pass Over India, China

Full Eclipse

Full Eclipse

Longest Solar Eclipse of 21st Century to Pass Over India, China

July 21 (Bloomberg) — The longest full solar eclipse this century, lasting 6 minutes and 39 seconds in some areas, will plunge cities, including Shanghai, into darkness as it passes over India and China tomorrow.

Shanghai, China’s wealthiest city, will experience 5 minutes of darkness when the moon blocks out the sun at about 9:39 a.m. local time, according to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon’s orbit moves between the Earth and the sun so that the sun is fully or partially obstructed.

“It’s certainly a buzz because it’s quite beautiful,” said David Thurley, 62, a retired environmental and waste water engineer who traveled from Albury in southeastern Australia to watch the event in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. “It’s through this demonstration that we know how the solar system works and it’s there for all to see.” Thurley has seen two previous eclipses in Australia and Libya.

Tomorrow’s eclipse is benefiting the tourism industries in China and India that have had fewer visitors because of the global recession and swine flu. The Park Hyatt Hotel on the 91st floor of the Shanghai World Financial Center, China’s tallest building, has fully booked its 2,830 yuan ($414) package for watching the eclipse that includes a night’s stay and champagne breakfast for two.

China posted a 4.8 percent decline in visitor arrivals from a year earlier during the first five months of 2009, according to the China National Tourism Administration. India’s tourist arrivals fell 9.2 percent in the first six months of this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Indian Coast
The eclipse will first be visible at about 5:28 a.m. local time on the western coast of India, before the shadow crosses the eastern states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. It will pass over the cities of Surat, Indore, Bhopal, Varanasi and Patna, according to NASA.

Residents of Mumbai won’t get a view of a full eclipse as the path will move just north of the city, according to the U.S. space agency. A full eclipse will also be visible in parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar before crossing into China, according to NASA.

During an eclipse, Hindus offer prayers by visiting temples and turn containers of food and water upside down. Food left uncovered during the event is thrown out or given to beggars. Some Hindus don’t eat or drink during the eclipse and bar pregnant women from stepping outdoors, sewing or using knives. Many immerse themselves in water for cleansing.

Scientific Basis
“There is no scientific basis for the Indian belief that an eclipse is inauspicious,” said Harish Bhatt, dean of the Faculty of Academic Sciences of the Bangalore-based Institute of Astrophysics. “It is just the moon’s shadow on the Earth.”

Such an event enables scientists to study the temperature of the sun’s gases and chemicals, Bhatt said.

In China, the cities of Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hefei, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai will experience a full eclipse, according to NASA.

The ancient Chinese text, Records of the Grand Historian, written more than 2,000 years ago, describes eclipses as indicators of change. China’s State Council, the nation’s cabinet, issued a statement on July 18 calling on local governments to ensure social stability during the eclipse and to prevent the spread of superstition.

The Park Hyatt Hotel in Shanghai has booked rooms for guests coming to view the event, as well as business travelers who have extended stays or are arriving early for the eclipse, said Lillian Zhang, the hotel’s public relations manager.

Eclipses are “stunning and genuinely beautiful,” said Don Rankin, 47, who traveled from London to view the eclipse from Hangzhou with his 14-year-old son. “Whenever you see one, you just wonder when the next one is going to be.” Rankin began planning his trip to China nine months ago. It’ll be the fourth eclipse he’s witnessed.

Bloomberg Reference

Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year Of The Ox 2009

Chinese New Year 2009 – The Year of the Ox
by Holly Hartman

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4707 begins on Jan. 26, 2009.

Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

An Obstinate Year
Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in ox years tend to be painters, engineers, and architects. They are stable, fearless, obstinate, hard-working and friendly. Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda, Walt Disney, and Anthony Hopkins were all born in the year of the ox.

Fireworks and Family Feasts
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children “lucky money” in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

The Lantern Festival
In China, the New Year is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other’s homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast on New Year’s Eve. In the United States, however, many early Chinese immigrants arrived without their families, and found a sense of community through neighborhood associations instead. Today, many Chinese-American neighborhood associations host banquets and other New Year events.

The lantern festival is held on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

In many areas the highlight of the lantern festival is the dragon dance. The dragon—which might stretch a hundred feet long—is typically made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Traditionally the dragon is held aloft by young men who dance as they guide the colorful beast through the streets. In the United States, where the New Year is celebrated with a shortened schedule, the dragon dance always takes place on a weekend. In addition, many Chinese-American communities have added American parade elements such as marching bands and floats.

Chinese New Year Ox Symbol