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Asian Geographic - - Front Page - THE QUIZ ON ASIA

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WORLD NOMAD GAMES

Against the back­drop of glob­al­i­sa­tion, the aim of the fes­ti­val is to pre­serve the unique and di­verse iden­ti­ties and ways of life of the no­madic peo­ples. Pro­posed by Pres­i­dent of the Kyr­gyz Repub­lic, Al­mazbek Atam­bayev, and started in Septem­ber 2014 un­der his lead­er­ship, the an­nual games saw some 2,000 ath­letes from 82 coun­tries com­pet­ing in 37 sports last year. The fes­ti­val, which in­cludes horse rac­ing, archery and wrestling, is ex­ten­sively cov­ered by in­ter­na­tional me­dia and has a ded­i­cated web­site. out h Ko­rea

CHUSEOK

Known as Ko­rea’s thanks­giv­ing day, Chuseok falls on the 15th day of the eighth lu­nar month and is the time to cel­e­brate the har­vest. Kore­ans hold memo­rial rit­u­als ( charye) at their an­ces­tors’ graves on this im­por­tant tra­di­tional hol­i­day.

THIMPHU TSHECHU

Ob­served on the 10th day of the eighth lu­nar month, Thimphu Tshechu is one of the most im­por­tant fes­ti­vals cel­e­brated as trib­utes to Guru Rin­poche, the great Bud­dhist mas­ter who brought Bud­dhism to Bhutan. This re­li­gious so­cial oc­ca­sion is a time of cleans­ing and re­newal. Lo­cals are decked out in their tra­di­tional out­fits and gather at Thimphu Tashichoed­zong to watch cham dances de­pict­ing the life of Pad­masamb­hava per­formed by monks and lay­men in elab­o­rate cos­tumes and masks.

TAUNGGYI BAL­LOON FES­TI­VAL (Back­ground Photo)

Burmese cel­e­brate the end of the rainy sea­son by re­leas­ing gi­gan­tic hot- air pa­per bal­loons into the sky. Teams from the city de­sign and make them for com­pe­ti­tions that take place at night. Can­dles and fire­works are of­ten at­tached to th­ese bal­loons, which makes this spec­ta­cle a dan­ger­ous one to at­tend. Other fes­ti­val ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude all- day weav­ing com­pe­ti­tions and car­ni­val games.

HMONG NEW YEAR

Hmong New Year is when Hmong peo­ple cel­e­brate the end of the rice har­vest­ing sea­son and the start of a new year. Ten dif­fer­ent dishes are pre­pared each day over the three- day fes­ti­val, also a time when shamans in­voke and hon­our spir­its of the de­sceased as well as those as­so­ci­ated with wealth and heal­ing. Fes­tiv­i­ties in­clude a tra­di­tional game called pov pob ( toss­ing a cot­ton ball), ox fight­ing, top- spin­ning con­tests and mu­sic per­for­mances. Young Hmong women and men also dress up, as it is an oc­ca­sion for them to meet po­ten­tial part­ners.

WHIRLING DERVISHES FES­TI­VAL

Syn­ony­mous with the prac­tice of whirling as a form of wor­ship to God, this week- long fes­ti­val is cel­e­brated by Mevlevi Or­der be­liev­ers ( Whirling Dervishes) founded by Ce­laled­din Rumi ( a Sufi mys­tic and poet). In whirling rit­u­als ( sema), se­mazen don­ning sym­bolic garb chant to the ac­com­pa­ni­ment of reed pipes as they twirl with their right hand pointed up­wards to­wards God and their left point­ing down to the earth — all be­lieved to in­duce a state of spir­i­tual ec­stasy. Seb- i Arus is held on the fi­nal night of the fes­ti­val to com­mem­o­rate the death of Rumi in mid- De­cem­ber of 1273, be­lieved to mark his union with God. Mevlana Mu­seum, where the fes­ti­val is held, is also where the mau­soleum hous­ing Rumi’s tomb and the dervish lodge he lived in. Be­liev­ers gather at dar­gahs ( Sufi shrines) to chant and sing after ob­serv­ing sema. Sema per­for­mances also take place reg­u­larly in other parts of Turkey like Ankara, Is­tan­bul and Cap­pado­cia.

DONG ZHI ( WIN­TER SOLISTICE FES­TI­VAL)

In Chi­nese, ‘ Dong Zhi’ refers to the as­tro­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non of the long­est night of the year in the north­ern hemi­sphere. Ob­served since the Han Dy­nasty pe­riod, it is a time for fam­i­lies to gather and feast in cel­e­bra­tion of longer days ahead. Sweet gluti­nous rice balls sym­bolic of to­geth­er­ness ( due to its Chi­nese pronunciation) or dumplings are al­ways eaten on this oc­ca­sion.

The ASIAN Geo­graphic Hot Soup Chal­lenge is a com­pet­i­tive quiz that tests stu­dents on their gen­eral knowl­edge about Asia. En­tries are open to mem­bers of the pub­lic! En­ter the 8th ASIAN Geo­graphic Hot Soup Chal­lenge for a chance to be the na­tional in­ter-school cham­pion.

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