Thursday, October 30, 2014

How Countries in Asia Celebrate Halloween

Halloween is the most popular holiday in the United States, but did you know that other countries celebrate it too? Countries around the world have ways of honoring and remembering the dead during this time of year. Even different countries in Asia like to celebrate Halloween, but not in the traditional costumes-and-pumpkins way we might think. 

Each October 31st, people across China celebrate Halloween, or Teng Chieh, by offering food and water to the dead. They also light lanterns with the belief that they will help to guide deceased loved ones as they make their visit to the "land of the living" in Halloween night. 

The Japanese also utilize lanterns for their Halloween customs. The lanterns are traditionally colored red and are hung in every house. These red lanterns are also placed on boats and float through rivers to guide the spirits of the dead back to the homes of their families for the night. It is also traditional for Japanese families to clean the gravestones of their ancestors and prepare special dishes to honor and remember them. These customs and traditions are all referred to in Japan as the Obon Festival. 

Halloween is not big in Korea, but offerings of food and flowers are still made to their ancestors to show respect. 

Hong Kong remembers their lost loved ones through a traditional festival known as the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts. During this time, pictures of fruits or money are burned with the belief that these images will reach the spirits of the dead and provide comfort. 

Although many of the Halloween traditions in Asia are different from those in the United States, certain countries are beginning to pick up many Western Halloween traditions. For example, Halloween recently arrived in Japan. Now around this time of year, decorations such as jack-o'-lanterns can be seen around town of in shop windows and every year Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan puts on extravagant Halloween shows and events. Trick-or-Treating is still not a common practice in Japan, but costume house parties aren't that uncommon. 

Besides the traditional and culture-rich Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, Hong Kong also likes to celebrate the more commercialized side of Halloween. Each year bars all across Hong Kong are decked out in Halloween decorations in an attempt to increase local interest in the holiday. Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park also host a Halloween Bash each year to promote and celebrate the holiday. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Get Your Hands on the New Nintendo 3DS Along With New Scary Games Just in Time For Halloween

Designers have heard your requests and officially come out with a redesigned Nintendo 3DS, very cleverly named the New Nintendo 3DS. Although the name isn’t all that impressive, the new features it comes with are. The new 3DS is not just a simple redesign, but includes a larger screen and a variety of powerful hardware. Instead of having to hold your head in a certain way to get the 3-D effect, the new onboard camera tracks head movements and adjusts accordingly. 

And one of their best new features is something Nintendo players have been requesting for years- to improve the controls and include a second stick. Well, designers have answered requests and included two sticks to go with the directional pad on the New Nintendo. 

Along with the New Nintendo 3DS, you can purchase a variety of new games that have been released exclusively for this more powerful model- even a few spooky ones for Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The 10 Costumes You Can Expect to See the Most this Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner and that means countless couples, teens, families, and kids are busy planning out their perfect costume for the upcoming night of trick-or-treating and parties. There are always the classics that make an appearance year after year like witches, vampires, zombies and so on but the top ten, most popular costumes of each year are always subject to change based off of the movies that came out that year, most popular animated characters of the year, and overall current trends. For halloween 2014, Google has put together a list of the ten costumes you can expect to see the most on the 31st based off of Google search trends. 

This year’s top ten trendiest costumes:

1. Elsa from Frozen

2. Olaf from Frozen 

3. Maleficent 

4. Ninja Turtle

5. Anna from Frozen

6. Black Widow from Avengers 

7. Captain America

8. Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy 

9. Dog Spider (Don't think this one is for the kids...)

10. Assassin's Creed 

It's no surprise that three characters from this year's most beloved film, Frozen, made it into the top five most searched costumes. But what about the other seven? Were you surprised by the other costumes listed in the top ten for 2014? 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Malala Yousafzai Becomes the Youngest-Ever Nobel Prize Recipient at Age 17

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist for children's education. She known globally for her human rights advocacy for education for children as well as for women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban have, at times, banned girls from attending school. Malala’s work is truly inspiring and amazing but what is also amazing is to learn that this strong, determined woman is just 17-years-old. 

On October 10th, Yousafzai became the first and only Pakistani to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her fight towards all children having the right to an education. Today, Michelle and Barack Obama released a statement in TIME congratulating Malala for her work and expressing their eagerness to join alongside her in “unlocking the extraordinary talents and potential in all our children.”

Her work began at age 11 when she started blogging under a pseudonym, revealing the grim details of life under Taliban occupation as well as her views on education. This got attention from many people, but what truly sparked the revolution was when Malala was shot in the face and shoulder by a gunman from the Taliban. She miraculously survived the attack after spending a lengthy recovery period in Birmingham, England. Her actions followed by the assassination attempt inspired a UN petition in her name, which demanded that all children be in school by the end of 2015 and eventually led to Pakistan’s first Right to Education Bill. 

Since she first began her blog in 2009 Malala has been, and continues to be, an inspiration to us all. Her strength, resilience, determination, and courage is far beyond admirable and I have no doubts that she will continue her work until it is finished and encourage thousands around the world to join in with her. And as a teenager who has accomplished more than many adults have, she is a true demonstration of why children everywhere have the right to be given a voice and provided an education.