January 2015

Namaste, the Indian way of greeting

Today, at Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, our 5 star resort in Alicante, we are pleased to bring up the world famous Namaste, the Indian traditional greeting.

Namaste, is commonly accompanied by a slight bow made with both hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointed upwards, in front of the chest. This gesture, called anjali, can also be performed wordlessly.

Anjali is full of symbolism. Hands symbolize spirit and matter. They connect the left side of the body with the right one. In Hinduism the right palm means the sole of God´s feet and the left palm stands for devotee´s head.

Namaste comes from Sanskrit and is a combination of two words. “Nama” and “te”. “Nama” means ‘bow’ or ‘adoration’ and “te” means ‘to you’. This gesture shows a great sense of respect.

It can be used at any time of the day, either as a greeting or a farewell. It is traditionally Hindu although everybody in India practices it. In some parts of the country it´s not only used for greeting Hindu people and it is accepted by all religions.

Men don´t greet women with physical contact so they show respect with gestures. Women can shake hands with a Western man but never with an Indian man. Women can also shake hands with women from all over the world.

If you would like to experience the Hindu magic firsthand and learn more about this inspiring culture, we are looking forward to see you at our 5 star hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa.

Lucky Chinese coins

Today, at Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, 5 star hotel in Spain, we want to tell you about the famous Chinese coins.

Chinese coins are considered powerful amulets for attracting wealth and protection. They are an important Feng Shui symbol and are used for bringing happiness home.

They were forged by orders of the first Chinese emperor, who converted them into national currency. They gave wealth o Chinese economy and became prosperity amulets.

Chinese coins are round with a square shaped hole in the middle. The circle expresses the protection of heaven and the square symbolizes the power of the earth. The connection of both represents the communion between heaven and earth. These coins have an active side or Yang, with four Chinese characters, and a passive side or Yin with two characters. The Yang side must always be placed face up.

There is a wide variety of Chinese coins. The number of coins plays an important role, depending on it. The quantity of coins used also hides a special meaning. In order to activate them and achieve greater effectiveness, they must be tied in multiples of 3, 6 and 9. The number 3 symbolizes the Trinity of heaven, earth and men, the number 6 represents heavenly fortune, and the number 9 symbolizes the union of the Universe. Two coins can also be tied together for attracting personal abundance and prosperity.

If you are interested in knowing more about Chinese culture, we suggest you to come and visit us at our luxury resort in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, and enjoy the Asian paradise at the Mediterranean.

The Chhau dance

If there is something that brings up to our minds the Asian continent, that could be its legends and traditions. Today, from the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, we are taking you to India to learn more about one of its most ancient dances: the Chhau dance.

The Chhau dance is a traditional dance prevalent in Eastern India. Chhau dancers perform epic poems as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. There are three styles of the dance, based on its places of origin and development, Seraikella Chhau, Purulia Chhau and Mayurbhanj Chhau. The main difference between these subgenres is that the first two ones are performed with masks.

This dance is linked to the celebration of regional festivals, especially the spring festival of Chaitra Parva. Its origin comes from Eastern India warrior traditions, from the states of Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand, and from different indigenous dances and martial arts.

The Chhau dance is only taught to men who belong to families of traditional artists or families from local communities. It is perfomed at night in an open space to the sound of popular folk melodies, which are played by mohuri and shennai, two typical Indian instruments. A variety of drums also accompany the music.

The themes of this style are usually abstract and symbolic. The Chhau dance is different from any other style of classical Indian dance because of the way the space is used and the way emotions are communicated.

Chauu dancers execute movements which enhance their bodies in the air: spiral turns, movements in the air and an extreme balance. The use of the mask requires a trained body in order to be able to express feelings faceless.

In 2010 the Chhau dance was inscribed in the UNESCO´s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Although it doesn´t have the status of classical Indian dance yet, work is in progress to get it due to its traditional elements.

If after learning more about this amazing dance you would like to visit Asia, we invite you to come to Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, 5 star resort in Spain, and enjoy our complete program of activities.

Traditional Chinese painting

Today, from Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, 5 star resort in Spain, we are bringing you to the oriental art world. Asian culture has left a historical legacy with great artistic contributions to humanity. A good example is the traditional Chinese painting.

Traditional Chinese painting or guóhuà, “national painting”, is a perfectly defined art form which reflects national consciousness, inclination and aesthetic disposition. It shows ancient Chinese people´s understanding of nature and society.

The history of traditional Chinese painting is divided into five long periods: the  Eastern Jin Dynasty (265-420), the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Song and Yuan Dynasties(960-1368), Late imperial China (1368-1911) and Modern painting which copies traditional techniques.

During the first half of the Tang Dynasty, the landscape and the paintings which symbolized flowers and birds began to gain relevance. With the Tang Dynasty painting flourished in the royal court, and during Song and Yuand Dynasties excitement grew for the natural world.

Traditional Chinese painting comprises three main categories: landscape painting, flowers painting and human figure paintings. These three theme include three aspects of the universe and human life. The human paintings describe society and interpersonal relationships, landscape painting expresses the relationship between men and nature, and fauna and flora symbolize the varieties of natural life and how they live in harmony with men.

It emphasizes unity among subjectivity and objectivity of the artistic image. Traditional Chinese painting reflects China´s philosophical and aesthetic concepts. The works can either be very symbolic and intriguing or extremely detailed.

It uses unique brush and ink techniques. The brush and the ink are also used for transmitting the aim of the painting. The central element of Chinese painting is the line. Lines are the main elements of calligraphy too, therefore both arts have been closely associated since their origin.

Currently traditional Chinese painting is still practised and has been adopted by numerous artists from around the world. Its technique, the materials used and pictorial motifs have remained unchaged over time.

If you would like to enjoy the Asian culture without moving from Spain, come to our luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa.

The Zen Garden

At Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, a 5 star resort in Spain, we are greatly into nature. Today we move from our well tended gardens to a very famous one for the Asian culture: the Zen Garden.

The Zen Garden or karensasui, is a type of Japenese garden which was created for contemplation. In contrast to European gardens, flowers nor plants are common in these ones. Its beauty is based on minimalism and symbology. It consists of a land of sand which contains gravel and rocks. Grass, moss and other natural elements are also found on certain occasions.

The Japanese rock garden is a physical expression of the ideas about the vacuum of the Zen Buddhist philosophy. They were introduced by Zen Monks as places for thinking about religious teaching during the Muromachi period (1336-1576), when the two main aesthetic ideals of this garden appeared: yugen, elegant simplicity, and yohaku no bi, the beauty of emptiness. The first Zen Garden was created by the monk and gardener Muso Soseki in the 14th century.

The most famous karensasui is located in Kyoto, in the Ryoan-ji Zen Temple, which is known as the Temple of the Dragon at Peace. Ryoan-ji is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The aim of Zen Gardens is to offer a space of perfect harmony with nature. They originally were inspired by the Chinese poetry and ink paintings of the 9th and 10th century. A good karensasui must be both of them, image and poem.

There are different ways to explain the arrangement of the garden. The sand symbolizes the sea, and it gets a greater visual impact when waves or circles are made on it. The rocks represent the Japenese islands.

According to a recent theory given by the researchers Gert van Tonder, from Kyoto University, and Michale J. Lyons, from ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communications Labs, Ryoan-ji´s rocks create a subliminal message of a tree. These two experts assure that people´s subconscious is able to identify it and they also consider this tree as the responsible for the relaxing effect of these type of gardens.

If you would like to feel the peace a Zen Garden spreads, you can either create your own one, or visit our luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa and relax at our wonderful Zen pool, which is heated to 30º degrees all year.

Thailand’s long neck women

There are many traditions and rites of different tribes and ethnic groups which last in time. At the Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, a luxury hotel in Spain, we try to offer you the best of Asia without leaving Spain. That is why today we are going to talk about Thai culture, in particular, one of its most ancient customs.

“Giraffe” women, also called the long neck women, are major tourist attraction for the country. Belonging to the Padaung tribe, they wear ornaments, which are known as neck rings, around their throats in order to make them look longer.

Girls´parents are the ones who decide whether their daughters wear the rings around their necks or not. They start to put them on at the age of five, and from time to time new rings are added, until their necks can not support any more weight.  These rings create the visual effect of a longer neck without changing it. The incorporation of these rings stylizes women´necks making them look like the animals they are compared to. They never take off these ornaments, not even for sleeping or taking a shower. The “giraffe” woman will always be tied to these rings. If they ever get rid of them they would lose their social status and would not be able to become “giraffe” women again.  It is significant that they are the ones who  think this custom is part of a tradition which makes them feel proud. In addition,  men find more attractive the women who put these rings on.

The origin of “giraffe” women in Thailand comes from the end of 1980 and the beginning of 1990 when many people of this tribe ran away from Myanmar, which was called Burma, to Thailand because of the Burmese dictatorship. Currently they live in the mountains of Siam with an uncertain legal status. They are not recognized as Burmese citizens nor as Thai ones. However, the roots of this custom of lengthening women´s necks is still a mystery.

If you want to experience first hand the Asian culture, we invite you to discover our 5 star resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Asia right at your fingertips.

Thailand’s long neck women

There are many traditions and rites of different tribes and ethnic groups which last in time. At the Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, a luxury hotel in Spain, we try to offer you the best of Asia without leaving Spain. That is why today we are going to talk about Thai culture, in particular, one of its most ancient customs.

“Giraffe” women, also called the long neck women, are major tourist attraction for the country. Belonging to the Padaung tribe, they wear ornaments, which are known as neck rings, around their throats in order to make them look longer.

Girls´parents are the ones who decide whether their daughters wear the rings around their necks or not. They start to put them on at the age of five, and from time to time new rings are added, until their necks can not support any more weight.  These rings create the visual effect of a longer neck without changing it. The incorporation of these rings stylizes women´necks making them look like the animals they are compared to. They never take off these ornaments, not even for sleeping or taking a shower. The “giraffe” woman will always be tied to these rings. If they ever get rid of them they would lose their social status and would not be able to become “giraffe” women again.  It is significant that they are the ones who  think this custom is part of a tradition which makes them feel proud. In addition,  men find more attractive the women who put these rings on.

The origin of “giraffe” women in Thailand comes from the end of 1980 and the beginning of 1990 when many people of this tribe ran away from Myanmar, which was called Burma, to Thailand because of the Burmese dictatorship. Currently they live in the mountains of Siam with an uncertain legal status. They are not recognized as Burmese citizens nor as Thai ones. However, the roots of this custom of lengthening women´s necks is still a mystery.

If you want to experience first hand the Asian culture, we invite you to discover our 5 star resort Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Asia right at your fingertips.

“EMA” WOODEN PLAQUES: COMMUNICATING WITH THE GODS

 

Starting out the year we will talk to you about resolutions, dreams and wishes. From Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we show you a glimpse of how in Asia the most devout people worship their Gods to ask them for favors in love, luck, etc.

The “ema” wooden plaques are small wooden shingles where people write their prayers or wishes for the “kami” (Shinto gods) to answer them. They may be purchased in Shinto sanctuaries.

These plaques, as we have just said, are used to communicate our wishes to the “kamis” gods or spirits. For our wishes to come true, we must write what we want on one side of the plaque and hang it in the sanctuary, where it will later be burnt in order for our wish to reach the gods loud and clear.

The designs of the “ema” plaques vary depending on the sanctuary. The plaques often have animals on them, images related to the different seasons, or the city where they are, or sometimes other symbols related to the sanctuary. It is common to see plaques with the image of a horse (as horse “ema” means horse).

Among the most common wishes, there is good health, good fortune, good luck in business or a new venture, good luck in studies or love, a healthy pregnancy and delivery, although you may ask for whatever it is you wish.

We are sure that one of your wishes is to come to Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa… We would be delighted to receive you in our luxury mediterranean resort. We are waiting for you!

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