Today is Vaisakhi

Today is one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar, Vaisakhi – also spelt Baisakhi.

Vaisakhi is the Sikh New Year festival.

Vaisakhi has been established as a harvest festival in the Punjab for many centuries now. It had been celebrated long before it gained an added dimension for Sikhs.

In 1699 the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, chose Vaisakhi as the occasion to transform the Sikhs into a family of soldier saints, known as the Khalsa Panth.

A Procession to Celebrate Vaisakhi

A Procession to Celebrate Vaisakhi - Sikh New Year

To celebrate, Sikhs often hold processions through the streets. It is a festival where people celebrate together.

If you are a Sikh, Happy New Year 🙂

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Chinese New Year occurs after New Year in the Gregorian calendar – usually at the end of January to the start of February time. The Chinese calendar is known as the Chinese Zodiac and is not only based around the solar calendar, but also the lunar.

Each year in the Chinese calendar is named after an animal and this year, its the year of the Rabbit. There are many legends about how the years became named as such, so here is one of the more common tales for your enjoyment, on this Chinese New Year’s Day!

Long ago in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. On his birthday he told the animals that there was to be a swimming race. The first twelve animals across the fast flowing river would be the winners and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them.

The animals all lined up along the river bank. The rat and the cat, who were good friends, were worried because they were poor swimmers. Being clever they asked the strong ox if he would carry them across the river.

‘Of course, just climb on my back and I will take you across.’ the kind ox said.

So the rat and the cat jumped onto the back of the kind ox. Soon they began to get very excited as ox soon took the lead in the race. They had almost reached the other bank when the rat pushed the cat into the river leaving him to struggle in the water. Then just before the ox was about to win the race the rat leaped on his head and on to the bank, winning the race.

‘Well done,’ said the Jade Emperor to the proud rat. ‘The first year of the zodiac will be named after you.’

The poor ox had been tricked into second place and the second year of the zodiac was named after him.

Shortly after the exhausted tiger clawed his way to the river bank and took third place. Swimming across the river had been an enormous struggle for him against the strong currents. The Emperor was so delighted with his efforts that he named the third year after him.

Next to arrive was the rabbit, who hopped all the way across on some stepping stones and then found a floating log which carried him to the shore.

‘I shall be very happy to call the fourth year after you,’ the surprised Jade Emperor explained.

Just then a kind dragon swooped down to take fifth place

‘Why didn’t you win the race, as you can fly as well as swim?’ the Jade Emperor asked.

‘I was held up because some people and animals needed water to drink. I needed to make some rain,’ the dragon explained. ‘Then when I was nearly here I saw a poor little rabbit on a log in the water and I blew a puff of wind so that the log would float to the river bank.’

‘Well that was very kind of you and now you are here you will have the fifth year of the zodiac named after you.’

The next thing the Jade Emperor heard was the sound of the horse’s hooves. Just as he was thinking the horse would be the next animal to arrive, a sneaky snake wriggled out from around one of the horse’s hooves. The horse was so surprised that he jumped backwards giving the snake a chance to take the sixth place in the race. The poor horse had to be satisfied with seventh place.

Soon afterwards a raft arrived carrying the goat, the monkey and the rooster. They explained to the Emperor how they had shared the raft that the rooster had found. The goat and monkey had cleared weeds and pushed the raft to the shore. The Emperor was very pleased that the animals had worked together. He said the eight zodiac animal would be the goat, the monkey would be ninth and the rooster the tenth.

The next animal to finish was the dog.

‘Why are you so late when you are one of the best swimmers?’ asked the Jade Emperor.

‘The water in the river was so clean, that I had to have a bath on the way,’ explained the dog.

His reward was to have the eleventh year named after him.

Now there was one place left in the zodiac and the Emperor wondered when the last winner would come. Eventually he heard a grunt from the boar.

‘You took a long time to cross the river,’ said the Emperor to the boar.

‘I was hungry and stopped to eat,’ explained the boar. ‘After the meal I felt so tired that I fell asleep.’

‘You have still done well,’ said the Jade Emperor. ‘The last year of the zodiac will be named after you.’

The cat who had been pushed into the water by the rat, finally crawled out of the water but was too late to have a year named after him. He felt very cross with the rat and since then cats have never been friends with rats.

From that day onwards the Chinese Zodiac has followed this cycle of years named after these twelve animals.

Chinese New Year
What a lovely story to start a new year!

Kung Hei Fat Choi! – Happy Chinese New Year 🙂

Thought for the day 19th of January

In this new year, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change,
grant me the courage to change the things I can,
and grant me the wisdom to know the difference.

Grant me the patience for the things that take time,
grant me the appreciation for all that I have,
and grant me the tolerance for those with different struggles.

That was my adapted version of the Serenity Prayer.

Thought for the day

Bye bye snow, hello 2011!

On the 9th of December, I posted an article entitled Let it snow! where I wrote about the sprinkling of snow that I had added to my blog. Throughout December its been snowing on my blog, but now its nearly 2011, so the snow has stopped.

So what can you expect from my philosophy blog in 2011? Articles, and lots of them! I also have a few updates planned for the blog, which I hope to implement in the new year. A faster, smarter, easier to read blog is what I hope to create in the new year.

Happy New Year 2011

My blog is yet to turn 6 months old, and yet its had over 50 posts already this year, not a bad achievement I would say! 🙂

I hope you have a really great new year, and I wish you the best of luck with any resolutions you may have.

Goodbye 2010 hello 2011!

Happy New Year 🙂

Let it snow!

Christmas has really started now, the countdown is on, so just to add to the festive spirit, I have added some snow to my blog! On every page (except the admin area) you can now see snow drifting down from above, giving my blog a truly Christmas feeling 🙂

Christmas 2010
I have used a plugin called “Let It Snow!” which has a very tidy interface, with all the settings you could possible want to fiddle with. If you have any comments on the snow, like its too fast, not enough, too slow etc. please tell me, and I will see what I can do to fix it.

Everyone all around the world is getting set for Christmas 2010, it looks like its going to be a good 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year! 😀