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There exists in Malayalam a term for a kind of mania that Keralans succumb to en masse during the winter festival season: anapraanth, or “elephant madness”. Various manifestations of this uniquely South Indian mentality occur, but the most pervasive is the tradition of parading elephants around temple precincts during festivities – or utsavam – accompanied by ear-splitting drum orchestras and firework displays.
Tens of thousands turn up to adore the assembled tuskers, which are always caparisoned with gold headdresses (nettipattom).
Now that you are comfortable with a few words (from Hindi lesson - part 1), it is time to look at some phrases.
Arriving in Nepal, we were struck by how very calm and relaxed it is compared to bustling India, where we had spent the previous month. The pace of life slowed and we were able to get really excited about seeing my dad who would be meeting us in Kathmandu in a few days. We whiled away the time over a glasses of South African wine of course the infamous Nepali steak. Wow, what a steak it was and it only cost two English pounds for the hunk of prime beef!
Nothing compares to the excitement of being in a country for a traditional festival or celebration. Some Southeast Asian countries are celebrating their New Year this weekend making this one of the most exciting and vibrant times to visit. This said we are also very lucky to have a taste of several Asian festivities in London this week.
April is regarded as the hottest month in Burma and is also the happiest and jolliest time for many Burmese people, as it is the time the water festival comes to welcome the Burmese New Year. This year Thingyan will be held from 12th to 16th April and New Years day falls straight after on 17th April.
Part of the fun of travelling is trying to communicate with the locals. Smiles, nods, frowns, and arm waving can often get us a long way.
Next week London Coliseum will host five vibrant and stimulating performances of classical Chinese dance, song and music. Shen Yun the New York based performing arts company aims to blend traditional Chinese art forms with a modern twist in order to revive and modernise this style of cultural performance.