Carnival in Düsseldorf

Carnival 1

Carnival is one of the most dominant traditions in the Rhine area.  It has its roots in Catholicism and coordinates with the time leading up to lent.  The Jecken (those who celebrate carnival) celebrate from November 11 at 11:11am through Ash Wednesday.

The real celebration begins after the 1st of the year, when speeches and costume balls and other events take place.  The highlights of the season are Altweiberfastnacht (the Thursday before the season’s end), Carnival Sunday (the following Sunday) and Rosenmontag.

Altweiberfastnacht is truly a day of mischief.  One tradition involves women cutting off the ties of as many men as possible.  But don’t feel too bad for the men—they receive a kiss on the cheek for their troubles.

On Carnival Sunday, hundreds and thousands of people meet at the Old Town and the Königsalle to celebrate the Carnival season together.  They dress in costume, sing and dance for a day of general merriment.

The big finale is the amazing parade that takes on Rosenmontag.  The parade is made up of more than 60 floats that are built over months by the individual carnival clubs (often with the support of many voluntary helpers). The intention of the parade wagons is to caricature and pick up current events in society or other heavily discussed topics.  Children especially look forward to the “Kamelle” candies that are thrown to the crowd as the floats pass by.

It is almost impossible to explain how amazing the Carnival traditions of the Rhine area are– especially Carnival in Düsseldorf.  This is one trip that you have to make for yourself!

(Auf Deutsch)

Christmas In Singapore


Unlike many countries where people look forward to celebrating a beautiful white Christmas, this is the time of year where our usually sunny island of Singapore is visited by plenty of rain. However as dreary and unromantic as it may seem, I can assure you it’s quite the opposite. This is because it is this very time of year where the city truly comes to life.

In the past, competitions used to be held among the shopping malls to see who could come up with the most creative and beautiful decorations.  While the official competitions are no longer, shops continue to set out their Christmas decorations in an attempt to attract more curious admirers.  Just like that, a simple street is turned into a symphony of beautifully crafted works of art.

Photo by Singapore's Tourism Board.

My favorite part is the annual Orchard Road light up – the official unveiling of the completed decoration. This is the one night where people from all over the island come over to this single stretch of road just to pass through the glittering street. There is a certain thrill, I might add, about seeing the finished masterpiece come to life.  Perhaps it’s the excitement of trying to guess what the theme of each year would be or simply the festive cheer that is evoked by the shimmering display.  Either way, it truly is a sight to behold.

Festive cheer is not just limited to the main island of Singapore. Here at Capella Singapore on Sentosa Island, we also do our best to bring in the holiday spirit, with a whole line up of exciting activities, special Christmas menus and luxurious hampers filled with delectable goodies. Even the hotel is decked out of to the nines!  So, if you’re thinking of somewhere to spend your Christmas vacation, just remember there’s always is the tropical Christmas in Singapore.

A Very Personal Christmas at Capella Pedregal


Winter and especially Christmas is one of the most beautiful seasons in Cabo San Lucas. The weather is gorgeous, we have sunny days with 60 – 80 F, the town is very vivid, and the whale season has just started.  Watching them breach the waters along the shore at Capella Pedregal is one of my favorite sights.  But most of all I love that during the Christmas season we get to spend more quality time with our family, friends and co-workers.

At Capella Pedregal we have a tradition very dear to me: every Christmas each of the employees decorates his or her own Christmas ornament, which we hang on a special Employee’s Christmas tree. This year each of us decorated our own whale. We chose a whale as the year’s Christmas ornaments, because “ballena” or a “whale” is a symbol of Baja California Sur.

This year 350 whales, decorated beautifully by 350 employees, are hung on two employee Christmas trees. Each whale represents every individual’s talent and personality. The trees are located one on each side of the main hotel lobby, and symbolize our warm welcome to each guest, wishing a wonderful experience at Capella Pedregal, and happy holidays.

Happy holidays from the whole team at Capella Pedregal!

(En Español)

Una Navidad muy personal en Capella Pedregal


El invierno y en especial Navidad es una de las temporadas más bellas en Cabo San Lucas. El clima es excelente, tenemos días soleados con temperaturas entre 18 a 26ºC, la ciudad está muy activa, y la temporada de ballenas iniciando. Ver estos mamíferos salir a la superficie a lo largo de la costa en Capella Pedregal es una de mis vistas favoritas. Pero más que nada, me encanta que durante la temporada navideña podemos pasar más tiempo con nuestra familia, amigos y colegas.

En Capella Pedregal tenemos una tradición muy especial para mí: cada Navidad, cada uno de los colaboradores realiza su propio adorno navideño, el cual colgamos de un Arbol de Navidad especial de Colaboradores. Este año cada uno de nosotros decoró su propia ballena Navideña. Elegimos la ballena por ser un símbolo de Baja California Sur.

Este año, 350 ballenas hermosamente decoradas por nuestros 350 colaboradores, están colgadas en dos árboles de Navidad de Colaboradores. Cada ballena representa la personalidad y talento individual de cada uno de ellos. Los árboles están localizados en cada lado del lobby principal del hotel, y simbolizan nuestra cálida bienvenida a cada huésped del hotel, deseándoles una hermosa experiencia y felices fiestas en Capella Pedregal.

¡Felices Fiestas les deseamos todo el equipo de Capella Pedregal!



(In English)

Mexican Posadas

pinata by joey.parsons via flickr

Today marks the beginning of the Posadas festivals in Mexico.  Celebrated during the nine days leading up to Christmas, these are perhaps the most colorful ‘fiestas’ in Mexico because of the variety of elements they include.  From the festive decor, to the religious traditions, to the breaking of piñatas, and of course, the lavish meals—there is just so much to see and do during this celebration!

Every family celebrates Posadas with their own special touch.  My family’s Posada party is usually very traditional.  We gather in the house of one of our family members.  The house is decorated for the occasion including a Christmas tree and Nacimiento (a Nativity scene), and each of the women of the family brings a dish, which we all share at the dinner.

The Posada ceremony begins with all of the guests stepping out of the house, while the host stays inside.  We walk the neighborhood singing typical Posada songs, which represent the journey of Joseph and Mary seeking a place to stay overnight.  This “pilgrimage” ends at the hosts’ front door, who after exchanging chants with us welcomes everyone in the house and invites us to a dinner with typical Mexican dishes like pozole, tamales, rajas de chile, atole and buñuelos.

After dinner we gather for breaking of the famous piñata.  This is probably the most well known of the Posada customs and is my favorite part!  According to ritual, each person is blindfolded, and then is asked to hit the piñata, while being cheered on by family.  This practice represents the Catholic belief that people must act in blind faith and follow God in the fight against sin (represented by the piñata).   And when they overcome sin they are blessed with God’s grace (the candy).  Traditionally, the piñata has 7 points that correspond with the 7 deadly sins recognized in Catholicism.

If you visit Capella Ixtapa before Christmas, we’d love to invite you to our Posada celebrations.  It is an excellent opportunity to become part of Mexican traditions.


(En Español)

Posadas Mexicanas

pinata by joey.parsons via flickr

Hoy es el inicio de las fiestas de las Posadas en México. Celebradas durante los nueve días antes de la Navidad, estas son probablemente las fiestas más coloridas en México por la variedad de elementos que incluyen. Desde la decoración festiva, a las tradiciones religiosas, romper la piñata, y claro, la espléndida comida. ¡Hay tanto que ver y hacer durante estas celebraciones!

Cada familia celebra las Posadas con su toque personal. La Posada de mi familia es usualmente muy tradicional. Nos reunimos en la casa de uno de los miembros de la familia. La casa se decora para la ocasión incluyendo el árbol de Navidad y el Nacimiento, y cada una de las mujeres de las familias trae un platillo, los cuales compartimos entre todos en la cena.

La ceremonia de la Posada comienza con los invitados saliendo de la casa, mientras los anfitriones se quedan dentro de ella. Caminamos por el vecindario cantando las típicas canciones de Posada, las cuales representan la travesía de José y María buscando un lugar para pasar la noche. Esta peregrinación termina de vuelta en la puerta del anfitrión el cual después de intercambiar cánticos con nosotros nos da la bienvenida a su casa y nos invita a cenar platillos mexicanos típicos como pozole, tamales, rajas de chile, atole y buñuelos.

Después de la cena nos reunimos para romper la famosa piñata. Esto es probablemente la costumbre más conocida de las Posadas y también ¡mi parte favorita! De acuerdo a la tradición, cada persona se le vendarán los ojos y después se le pedirá que le pegue a la piñata, mientras el resto de la familia lo anima y orienta. Esta práctica representa la creencia Católica sobre que la gente debe actuar a fe ciega y seguir a Dios en la lucha contra el pecado (representado por la piñata). Y cuando logran vencer al pecado serán premiados con la gracia de Dios (los dulces). Tradicionalmente la piñata tiene 7 picos que corresponden a los 7 pecados capitales del Catolicismo.

Si visitas Capella Ixtapa antes de la Navidad, nos encantaría invitarte a nuestras celebraciones de Posada. Será una excelente oportunidad para ser parte de las costumbres Mexicanas.


(In English)