01 Apr Fool Me Once

As you are undoubtedly aware, today is Easter. Okay, so it isn’t. We know you know, but it was worth a shot. Today is, in fact, April Fools' Day, and if no one has caught you off-guard with a prank or joke yet today, then we apologize for breaking your streak. At least we didn’t put cellophane over your toilet or something, right? RIGHT? April Fools’ Day is a long-held tradition that is an official holiday in exactly zero countries. Perhaps this is a testament to the enduring whimsicality and fun of a day in which you can play terrible jokes on others with no consequence? In any case, though the origins and original purpose of the holiday are debated and hard to prove, it March-es on (HaHA! Get it? March-April?? I’ll show myself out.) Many people, companies, news providers, and governments get in on the fun by concocting wild stories that are JUST believable enough. This brings much mirth, hilarity, and reinforces the paranoia of those of us who have a hard time trusting others in the first place. To further your understanding of this worldwide day of pranking, we’ve singled out three countries where April Fools Day is observed in very particular fashion. No free-styling here, if you want to fool your neighbors there is a certain way to do so. Scotland – Hunt the Gowk “Gowk” is the traditional word for a “fool” and the Scottish trick takes a village to pull off....

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04 Aug Enter the Pilgrim

Spain is a religious country, but it wasn’t always Christian. For hundreds of years leading up to around 1000 BC, Spain was predominantly Muslim. A strong Arab influence (think Granada) ruled the day. During this time Judaism was also heavily present. Enter the Middle Ages, a pushy king in a Spanish province, and the Bible being mass produced for the first time. Christianity rose above the other widely held beliefs, and has remained the most popular to this day. Consequently, pilgrimage is still a strongly held tradition across the country and thus we present: Panrimo's Top 5 Spanish Pilgrimages 5. La Semana Santa, Holy Week [caption id="attachment_962" align="aligncenter" width="2288"] Bring your own mask.[/caption] http://www.euroclubschools.org/userimages/Domingo_de_ramos_astorga.jpg Arguably the most important holiday in Spain, Spaniards take a week to remember the trial, deception of his friends, and suffering of Jesus Christ. Processions occur with actors walking the streets, whipping a man carrying a cross. It can get fairly intense. 4. Dia de Todos los Santos, All Saints Day [caption id="attachment_963" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Flower shops seriously love this day.[/caption] http://elgranitodearenadeishtar.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/cementerio_989711207.jpg The 1st of each November, Spaniards take time to remember loved ones who have died. Families walk to graveyards to place flowers and gifts at sites. It is a very community-oriented affair. 3. The Way of St. James, or El Camino de Santiago [caption id="attachment_964" align="aligncenter" width="800"] C'mon kids! Only 1 month of walking to go![/caption] http://frescotours.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/cd2181.jpg St. James was one of Jesus’ 12 apostles, and the first Christian martyr. His body was taken from Jerusalem and across Spain...

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07 Dec Christmas in China

[caption id="attachment_2333" align="alignnone" width="576"] Maybe it's time to rethink the Christmas tree.[/caption] China has been red, politically, since 1949. And over the past decade in December urban centers in China literally become red. Walk down a busy Beijing street in December and it’s like you’re in the US: wreaths adorn storefronts, tinsel hangs from doorways, and red ribbons perch atop oversized present displays, promising holiday cheer. In shops, buyers purchase Holy Apples for their children and paper lanterns to decorate the home. With the Communist party in power, China has no official state religion and the majority of Chinese people are atheist. Christmas isn’t recognized as a “government” or “religious” holiday, and only in a few places is it technically a “public holiday.” As a result, Christmas celebrations in China have been stripped of their religious underpinnings. This directly opposes the sentiment behind Christmas, which Christians celebrate as “the day [that the] Christ was born.” In Hong Kong, a former colony of Western powers, Christmas is celebrated as a public holiday despite the general public not being Christian. It seems historical development plays a role. But on the whole, China’s political history defies this idea. After the Communist party took control, China’s government attempted to shelter the country from foreign influence. For decades, Christians in China (~2%) weren’t permitted to openly celebrate Christmas for fear of government intervention. Especially during the 20th century, Christmas began representing a very capitalist, Christian holiday – wholly non-Chinese,...

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