Finding Romance In Chinese Astrology

year of the horse

On 31 January, Singapore celebrated the Lunar New Year – this is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar as it symbolizes the coming of spring.  I personally love the Lunar New Year celebrations because it is a wonderful opportunity to get together and celebrate with the family.

chinese astrology

The Chinese culture has its own zodiac or astrological signs, which rotate each Lunar New Year.   The different signs are named after 12 different animals, (see my post HERE for more information on the animals and the story behind them). This year marks the year of the horse.

Like the western astrological signs, each character in the Chinese zodiac has unique characteristics and personality traits.   As a result, different signs are more compatible as friends, companions and lovers than other.  Because we are approaching western culture’s Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun to share a chart outlining compatibility.  You may be surprised to learn that many people still rely on these charts when determining if a mate is suitable for them!

Chinese Astrology

If you are in Singapore and would like to know more about your zodiac sign, you can always approach a Capella Singapore Personal Assistant who can arrange you meeting with a Chinese Astrology expert to teach you more about your sign and the significance of the Chinese zodiac.

Romantic Mexican Traditions

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Valentine’s day is around the corner, and it perfectly fits the loving and festive nature that defines Mexicans.  We use this sweet excuse to pamper our loved ones, friends and family.  Throughout history, love has always been very important to Mexicans and as a result, we have many romantic Mexican traditions.

Our ancient civilization Mexica had two gods, that personified Love: Xochipilli and Xochiquetzal.  Xochipilli was like the Apollo of the Mexica.  He was the god of Love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn and songs.  His name means “the prince of the flowers” and he had a twin sister, the goddess of love, Xochiquetzal, meaning “precious flower or ornate bird.”  In honor of this pair of gods and their representation of love, Mexica used to celebrate with a four day festival.  During this time the people would make offerings of bread and corn, pierce their tongues with maguey thorns and dance to the beat of drums called teponaztli.

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Today, Mexico’s Valentine’s Day celebrations are similar to celebrations around the world.  Red roses are given, romantic cards written and chocolates enjoyed.  But we do have some traditions that remain our own.

In smaller towns, young people often meet in town squares; the girls stand on one side, the boys on the other.  Then, they walk around the perimeter in opposite directions, so they can face and look at each other.  On the second round the boys offer a flower to the girl that they like.  On the third round, if the girl has retained the flower, it means that she has agreed to go out with her suitor.  If she doesn’t keep the flower, it means she has rejected him and the boy must pick another girl.

My absolute favorite way of expressing the love in Mexico are “las serenatas” (serenades).  They are just so romantic!  You have probably seen the act of playing a serenade in some movie.  Usually, the boyfriend gathers a group of mariachi, or a trio, and visits the girlfriend’s house after the sunset.  On the street, under his loved one’s window, they all start to sing the most romantic and heartfelt songs.  The intention is to wake her up with songs that will touch the heart.  When the girl appears at her window, it means that she is pleased and approves of the serenade (I can’t imagine a girl could resist such a sweet and romantic gesture from her loved one!).  However the family may be a different story- if they approve of the suitor he may be invited in to visit, but if the family does not they may toss the water on him!

At Capella Ixtapa we have prepared a special Valentine’s Day package and are organizing many romantic activities and sweet attentions during this most romantic month.  Who knows, we might even get to play a serenade for some of our lucky guests!

 

 

Photo: LA76 Photography

Tradiciones Románticas Mexicanas

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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.

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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!