Tradiciones Románticas Mexicanas

Mariachi-LA76-Photography (1)

El Día de San Valentín está a la vuelta de la esquina, y encaja perfectamente la naturaleza amorosa y festiva de los mexicanos.  Utilizamos esta dulce excusa para consentir a nuestros seres queridos, amigos y familia.  A través de la historia, el amor siempre ha sido un tema importante para los mexicanos.  Nuestra antigua civilización Mexica tenía incluso dos dioses que representaban el amor: Xochipilli y Xochiquetzal. 

Xochipilli Era el equivalente a Apolo para los Mexicas.  El era el dios del amor, los juegos, la belleza, la danza, las flores, el maíz y las canciones.  Su nombre significa “príncipe de las flores” y tenía a una Hermana gemela, la diosa del amor Xochiquetzal, que significa “Flor Hermosa o Ave de Ornato”.  En honor a este par de dioses y su representación del amor, los Mexicas solían organizar una fiesta de 4 días.  Durante estos días la gente realizaba ofrendas con pan y maíz, se perforaban la lengua con puntas de maguey y bailaban al ritmo de los tambores llamados teponaztli.

Mariachi-LA76-Photography (1)

Hoy día, las celebraciones de Día de San Valentín son similares a las del resto del mundo.  Se dan rosas rojas, se mandan tarjetas románticas y los chocolates se disfrutan en pareja.  Pero aún así tenemos algunas tradiciones muy nuestras.

En pueblos pequeños, la gente joven se congrega en las plazas del pueblo; las chicas de una lado de la misma, y los hombres del opuesto.  Entonces se empieza a caminar alrededor de la misma en direcciones opuestas, así será posible que se vean a la cara.  En la segunda vuelta los hombres ofrecerán una rosa a la chica que les gustó.  En la tercera vuelta, si la chica se quedo con la flor, significará que accede a salir con el pretendiente.  Si no conserva la flor, significará que ha rechazado la oferta y el muchacho deberá buscar alguna otra chica.

Sin embargo mi manera favorita de expresar el amor en México son “las serenatas”.  Son tan románticas!  Seguramente has visto alguna serenata aunque sea en una película.  Usualmente, el hombre consigue un mariachi, o un trio y visita la casa de su amada al atardecer.  Desde la calle y al pie de su ventana, comienzan a cantar las canciones más románticas.  La intención es despertarla con canciones que le tocarán el corazón.  Cuanto la amada aparece en la ventana, significa que ella está complacida y agradece la serenata (No puedo imaginar que chica puede resistir semejante gesto tan dulce y romántico de su amante!).  Sin embargo, la familia puede ser un tema totalmente diferente – si aprueban al pretendiente lo invitarán a pasar a la casa, pero si no es así, le pueden hasta lanzar una cubetada de agua!

En Capella Pedregal tenemos preparado un paquete especial para el Día de San Valentín y organizamos varias actividades románticas así como dulces detalles durante este el mes más romántico del año.  Quien sabe, incluso podríamos cantar alguna serenata para alguno de nuestros huéspedes!

 

 

Foto: LA76 Photography

El Rey De Reyes, An Underwater Treasure in-Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

El Rey De Reyes

If you like unique sightseeing spots, there is one spot that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Capella Ixtapa and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.  But, be prepared – for this sightseeing tour you will need your swimsuit and a snorkeling gear!  Yes, it is that unique!

Below the blue waters at Las Gatas beach in Zihuatanejo, you will be able to see an impressive bronze statue of Christ, or El Rey de Reyes (The King of Kings).  This statue, which weighs a ton and a half, and is 12 feet tall, represents an expression of faith for the locals.

El Rey De Reyes

The history of this statue goes back in 2006, when locals were called to donate keys, which would then be used to form the heart of the Jesus sculpture.  When enough keys were collected, a sculptor from Acapulco named Marco Antonio Rivero Guerrero, created the sculpture.

In November 2006, the Archbishop Diocese Felipe Aguirre Franco blessed El Rey de Reyes, and in January 2007, Pope Benedict XVI blessed a replica of the statue.  It then travelled through several cities in Mexico, including Acapulco, Mexico City, Patzcuaro and Morelia, and was received by over 50,000 people.  At each city they visited, local priests conducted mass, rang the cathedral bells and citizens celebrated the statue with a festival and fireworks.

Once El Rey de Reyes was returned to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, they immersed it to the ocean at Las Gatas, a quaint little beach, located on the south side of the Zihuatanejo Bay, popular for swimming and snorkeling.  The statue is a symbol of the local’s commitment to faith.

If you are interested in visiting El Rey de Reyes, your Capella Ixtapa Personal Assistant can organize a scuba diving or snorkeling trip to see it in all its splendor.

El Rey De Reyes Un Tesoro Submarino En Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

Si te gustan los sitios turísticos únicos, hay uno que no debes perderte cuando visites Capella Ixtapa e Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.  Pero, ve preparado –para este tour vas a necesitar tu traje de baño y equipo de snorkel!  Sí, así de singular es!

Bajo las azules aguas de la playa Las Gatas en Zihuatanejo, tendrás la posibilidad de admirar una impresionante estatua de bronce de Jesucristo, o El Rey de Reyes.  Esta estatua, la cual pesa mas de tonelada y media, y tiene más de 3.5 metros de alto, representa la expresión máxima de fe de los locales.

El Rey De Reyes

La historia de esta estatua viene del año 2006, cuando los locales fueron llamados a donar llaves, las cuales posteriormente serían utilizadas para dar forma a una estatua de Jesucristo.  Cuando se habían ya juntado suficientes llaves, un escultor de Acapulco llamado Marco Antonio Rivero Guerrero, creó la escultura.

En noviembre del 2006, el Arzobispo Felipe Aguirre Franco bendijo EL Rey de Reyes, y en enero del 2007, el Papa Benedicto XVI bendijo una réplica de la estatua.  La cual posteriormente viajó a través de varias ciudades de México incluyendo Acapulco, Ciudad de México, Pátzcuaro y Morelia, siendo recibida por más de 50,000 personas.  En cada una de las ciudades que la estatua visitó, los curas locales organizaron misas, hicieron repicar las campanas de sus iglesias y los fieles celebraban la estatua con una fiesta y fuegos artificiales.

Una vez que el Rey de Reyes volvió a Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, lo sumergieron en el océano en la playa de Las Gatas, una pequeña playa ubicada al sur de la Bahía de Zihuatanejo, sitio muy popular para nadar y snorkelear.  La estatua es un símbolo de la fe de los locales.

Si estás interesado en visitar El Rey de Reyes, tu Asistente Personal de Capella Ixtapa puede organizarte un tour de buceo o snorkel para que lo admires en todo su esplendor.

Capella Singapore’s Peranakan Experience

Traditional Peranakan beading work.

Last week I had the opportunity to accompany one of the Capella Singapore Personal Assistants on a trip to the Peranakan museum as part of the new Peranakan Experience that we have created for guests who would like to explore the local Singapore culture.

Part of the tour took us to the Peranakan Museum, which showcased decades of age-old Peranakan culture and history.  For those unfamiliar, the Peranakan culture evolved from the early Chinese and Malay settlers in colonial Singapore and Malaysia who intermarried resulting in an exotic blend of cultures.

One thing I found particularly interesting was the strong matriarchal tendencies among the Peranakan.  While the men were the sole breadwinners for the family, the women, known as Nonyas, stayed home and ran the household.  As a result, one of the unique traits of Nonya women is that they are skilled in the culinary arts and crafts that distinguish the culture.  Luckily for me, I had the opportunity to experience both these luxuries.

Following our tour of the Peranakan Museum, we headed to a near by Peranakan restaurant.  The cuisine, while employing many traditional Chinese preparations, is extremely unique in its flavor profile.  We tried everything from a Fish Head Curry (not nearly as mad as the name suggests!) to Kueh Pie Tee, which featured shredded bamboo shoots and shrimp inside mini pie shells.  The flavors were exotic and bold and the dishes beautifully presented.

Traditional Peranakan beading work.

Traditional Peranakan beading work.

From there we headed to a shop run by a Peranakan woman, who still creates the traditional beaded shoes as well as selling beautiful kebayas.  Like the food the clothing was also brightly colored and rich in ornate detail.  We were told that some of the shoes could take several months to make as each bead was sewn on individually.  The same held true for the blouses and sarongs, as even the most “casual” kebaya was intricately decked out in skilled embroidery. Truly an art form!

The Peranakan culture is truly a significant part of the Singapore culture and something you really must experience for your self.  The next time you are at Capella Singapore be sure to ask your Personal Assistant for the Peranakan Experience.  I am sure you will love to learn about the history, culture and food just as much as I did!

The History Of Mooncakes

Mooncakes 1

One of my favourite Chinese festivals, the Mid Autumn Festival happens each year on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Lunar Calendar. This year, the Mid Autumn Festival took place on the 19th of September. The festival is celebrated throughout Asia, wherever there is a large ethnically Chinese population.  And in each of these locations it has adopted additional names, one of the most popular here is Singapore is the Mooncake Festival.

Mooncakes 1

For those unfamiliar, Mooncakes are a small pastry, often round is shape, that contain a variety of filling ranging from lotus seed pastes to nut mixtures to salted egg yolks.  These days you can also find chocolate, ice cream and green tea versions.  During September almost every food outlet sells their own custom version, so the varietals are endless.  The outside of the pastry is then imprinted with different Chinese characters and imagery, each design unique to its purveyor.  It is common for people to give them as business gifts as well as to relatives.

An exciting historical account of how Mooncakes came about dates back to the Yuan Dynasty when the Mongolians ruled China.  The people of China baked Mooncakes and hid messages in them, which contained their battle plans against the Mongolians.  The success of this method led to the successful uprising of the Chinese to overthrow the Mongolian rulers and the Ming Dynasty was born.  It is said that Mooncakes are eaten every year to commemorate this inspired act.

The next time you are in Singapore in September, look out for when the Mid Autumn Festival takes place and you could be in for a cultural treat.  And don’t forget to ask your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant about their favourite Mooncake source- you may be in for a treat!

Celebrating Singapore National Day With The Merlion

Singapore National Day

Just last week, the whole country was abuzz as we celebrated our 48th National Day on 9 August 2013.  National Day celebrations in Singapore are always an elaborate affair and one that I love to partake in.

Singapore National DayThe highlight of the festivities is the Singapore National Day Parade.  Each year, the National Day Parade presents an exciting display of fanfare, from the traditional parade march by all the uniformed organizations in Singapore to a stunning air acrobatics show by the air force to colorful stories of Singapore told in song and dance.  This all leads up to a spectacular display of fireworks, which beautifully lights up the skyline of our central business district.

This year, the National Day Parade consisted of several different segments, taking participants on a journey through Singapore’s history and the dreams for the future. One of the segments was a fun chapter portraying the traditional folk stories that we were told by our elders.

Many of the stories feature the Merlion, an iconic symbol of Singapore.  The body of the Merlion is of a fish, which represents Singapore’s history as a fishing village and the Merlion has the head of a lion, which represents Singapore’s Malay name “Singapura,” meaning lion city

Singapore National DayOne story of how the Merlion came into being dates back to when Singapore was still a fishing village.  There was once a very bad stormy night that had engulfed the city in dark clouds and the raging winds had woken the villagers.  As the terrified villagers watched the storm unfold, suddenly a bright light emerged from the Southern waters surrounding a mystical creature.  The creature battled the waves and the storm and by morning the wind and the waves began to die down and the creature had retreated into the waters leaving a colorful trail.

Rumor has it that when the creature – the Merlion, had conquered the storm, it claimed its victory by standing on a proud perch on Mount Imbiah which is located on Sentosa Island. Today a large statue of the Merlion is erected at the Imbiah station on Sentosa Island, just a five-minute walk from Capella Singapore, where visitors can uncover the tales of the mythical creatures of the sea and find out their fortune for the year ahead.