traditions (16)


For many, the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Kenya is wildlife and safaris. But visitors should also keep in mind this country´s rich artistic and cultural heritage - thanks to its more than 70 ethnic groups such as the Kikuyu, Kamba, Luhya, Maasai, and Kalenjin  - both to witness (such as tribal dances) and to buy as mementos of their trip here (esecially masks, figurines, and other forms of sculpture). This beautiful country keeps the spirit of its ancestors alive through ev

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5 of Spain´s Special New Year´s Traditions

12335576059?profile=RESIZE_930xjacinta lluch valero

We Spaniards love to ring out the old and ring in the new as much as anyone else on the planet. And whilst we of course share many NYE practices with the rest of the world (at least the Western world, I guess), there are several which are fairly unique to our country – and here´s a quirky quintet of them:

Toasting with Bubbles - but with a Twist

Of course all of Spain raises a glass of cava (the méthode-Champegnoise sparkling wine – from sweet to dry – made in Catalonia) t

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9009027467?profile=originalIt’s 5:45 a.m. The sun is already shining, and I am gingerly making my way through the cow corral, being careful not to step in anything I shouldn’t nor get too close to the long-horned cows.

I’m headed to the cow barn at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica, to see how the ranch hands handle the morning milking. Inside, several buckets of steaming, frothy white milk wait in the holding area until they are carried to the hotel restaurant kitchen for processing.

9009028068?profile=originalOne of the r

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9008997056?profile=originalWouldn’t it be nice to dine in a restaurant that only served freshly-made meals made with locally-sourced ingredients, vegetables picked that same day, sauces that didn’t come from a jar or can, bread hot out of the oven, juices that only a moment ago were whole fruit, and desserts loving crafted by an on-site pastry chef?


In fact, you can. This is what is cooking at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The renowned Costa Rica eco-adventure hotel at the base of the Rincon de la

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9008944100?profile=originalThe way Omar Arce sees it, the Costa Rica tradition of the oxcart driver and his oxen is an important cultural heritage that must be kept alive. Nowadays in his country town of Atenas, Costa Rica most roads are paved and cars zoom everywhere. But when Arce, 73, was a boy, the only way to bring the vegetables his father sold from their family farm to the town center was by walking with their team of oxen pulling a wooden cart loaded with produce. The 7 km journey – now a 15-minute drive – would t

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9008920860?profile=originalArticle by Shannon Farley

Every February 14, around the world, people exchange cards, flowers, candy and gifts with their loved ones on this day of romance we call Valentine’s Day. But who is this mysterious St. Valentine, and where did these traditions come from?

9008920474?profile=originalFebruary has been celebrated as a month of romance dating all the way back to ancient Rome. The Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, was celebrated in the middle of February from Feb. 13 to 15. In the 5th century, two martyred saints na

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Spain's Christmas Nativity Scene Tradition


Spain's mix of the modern and the traditional is second to none, in my opinion, but around the holidays, tradition naturally comes to the fore – and nowhere more in the case of Christmas than in the nativity scenes that pop up all over the country, in public and private.

Montar el belén, literally “setting up the Bethlehem,” as crèches are known, is, like decorating the Christmas tree for others around the world, still a Yuletide ritual for many Spaniards, and public examples also abound thro

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9008906864?profile=originalSome of the most elaborate traditional Christmas celebrations take place in the seven countries of Central America. Read on for more about each country’s unique festivity.


Christmas Celebrations in Central America



The Panama City Christmas Parade is the big festivity here. Decorated floats, marching bands and dancers in traditional costumes parade through Panama City to the beach where there is a tree lighting ceremony. At nightfall, there is also a parade of boats decorated with Christmas

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9008901082?profile=originalWhat do a little black mare and the Virgin of Guadalupe have to do with Christmas traditions in Costa Rica?


9008901459?profile=originalOne of the more interesting Christmastime festivals held in Costa Rica is the Festival of “La Yeguita” (the little mare) on December 12. Held annually on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, the celebration combines traditional native beliefs and Roman Catholic customs.

According to the University of Costa Rica, the indigenous legend tells about two brothers caught in a machete-fight over a

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Celebrating the Day of the Dead in Mexico City

Travelers to Mexico at the start of November are be fortunate enough to witness – and participate in, if you choose – one of Mexico’s most celebrated holidays: the Day of the Dead. photo
(click to enlarge)
The Day of the Dead can be traced back to pre-Colombian indigenous cultures; the Aztecs spent an entire month each year performing formal rituals in honour of their ancestors. The modern holiday falls on November 1st and 2nd, with preparations beginning days before. People go to cemeteries to be with
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How Not To Travel Like An Ugly American

From From Kaleel

How Not To Travel Like An “Ugly American”

It's part of travel's enduring mythology: The American tourist, unable to manage even a few sentences in any language other than English, and oblivious to the culture and traditions of other countries..

The unflattering image of the "Ugly American" is a bit unfair, perhaps, but the "USA Number 1!" attitude persists among many American travelers, and Dean Foster, self-styled master of global etiquette and cross-cultural trainer to the world
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by Cristóbal Ramírez

Parasols, lace dresses and suits, fancy fashionable hats, and a field filled with people - that’s how the great Francisco Goya portrayed the fiesta honoring Madrid’s patron saint in his painting San Isidro Meadow back in 1788. Times have changed enormously of course, but Spain’s capital still makes a big deal of this holiday every spring, harking back to the feel of a popular village festival rather than a big-city shindig.

If you happen to find yourself in Madrid in the

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I was at a Mexican restaurant recently, and its colorful assortment of piñatas reminded me of all my trips to Mexico - not to mention one of my oldest childhood memories. You know that car commercial that’s been all over the tube recently, the one with a kid whaling away at a piñata that stubbornly refuses to break – a stand-in for the durability of this particular make of car? It brought me back to one of my earliest childhood memories, my own kiddie party, when my dad handed me a plastic bat

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“Oshogatsu” New Year Traditions in Japan

My family lived in Japan for three years while my husband served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk out of Yokosuka, Japan. During those three years we lived on the economy in Mabori Kaigan for some time. It gave us a unique opportunity to view and take part of the local Japanese culture. One of the most interesting traditions is on New Year’s Day.

Before 1873 the Japanese New Year was based on the Chinese lunar calendar but following the Meiji Restoration Japan adopted the Gregorian calendar and it is n

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