February 2015

The Korean Royal Ancestral Ritual Jongmyo Jerye

Today we are travelling from the 5 star resorts in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to South Korea, in particular to Seoul, to find out about its famous royal ancestral ritual Jongmyo Jerye.

Jongmyo Jerye is the ancestral royal rite performance in the Jongmyo temple. Originally, it was a ceremony, which was celebrated by the kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty in the sanctuary where their ancestor were kept.

The Jongmyo shrine was built when the first king of Joseon Lee Seong-Gy established the Joseon Dynasty. It is the oldest royal Confucian sanctuary preserved. It guards the boards, which safeguard the lessons of the previous royal family. It has the main hall or Jeongjeo and the hall of Eternal Peace or Yeongnyeongjeon, with 33 tablets in 16 spirit chambers. The shrine was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1995.

The Confucian ritual Jongmyo Jerye organized by the descendants of the royal family was established in the 15th century. It takes place once a year, on the first Sunday of May. Initially, the ceremony was held because of national disasters or when good things happened, until the liberation of the Japanese Imperial Period, when it started to be held on the first Sunday of May. The ceremony combines singing, dancing and music. Besides, the rite itself includes a prayer for the eternal peace of the spirits of the ancestors kept in the shrine. UNESCO designated it as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2001

During the ceremony, the priests wear their ritual clothes, a crown for the king and diadems the other ones. They make offerings of food and libations of wine with ritual glasses. The music of the Jongmyo Jerye, the Jongmyo Jeryeak, is played with traditional Korean instruments such as gongs, lutes, zithers and flutes. The dance is performed by 64 dancers, which are split in eight lines. It shows a fight between the Ying and Yang strengths. The Munmu dance always begins with a step to the left and symbolizes the Yang strength. It is accompanied by Botaepyong music. Meanwhile, the Mumu dance is accompanied by Jeongdaeeop music, and represents the Yin strength. Unlike the Munmu dance, it starts with a step to the right.

If you are an Asian culture lover, come and visit us at the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Discover the exoticism of Asia in the Mediterranean.

The Japanese greeting

Today we are travelling from the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to Japan to find out about Japanese greetings.

The most common Japanese greeting is the bow or ojigi. This is a slight bow of the upper body. The interlocutor shows respect to the other person with this gesture. Both people don´t tend to stare at each other. This fact accentuates more if there is a social difference between both parties.

The bow, besides from a greeting, it can be used for several purposes such as saying goodbye or showing appreciation or apologizing. There are also different ways of bowing. The degree of the bow depends on the situation and the person you bow. If the other person is an elderly one or an individual from a higher hierarchical level, the bow will be more leaning. Men keep their hands on their sides, while women put their hands together on their thighs with their fingers touching.

There are three types of bows depending on the grade of the bow and the level of formality: eshaku, a light bow of 15 degrees which is used for greeting somebody hello; keirei, a general bow of 30 degrees for showing appreciation; and saikeirei, a bow of 45 degrees for asking for something important or apologizing.

If the person is sit down, he must stand up for bowing, however if the greeting takes place on tatami floor, he must get on his knees to bow and put both hands in front of them keeping the back straight.

Between Japanese people is not a common thing to shake hands. It is normal to avoid physical contact. An example of it is the lack of tokens of love in public, such as kisses or hugs between couples.

The verbal greeting konnichiwa is used in most contexts. It can be used by everyone no matter which is his social status. It means hi, but it is also used for wishing good morning or good afternoon.

Greetings are learnt and practiced by kids at schools. They are very important for Japanese culture. An apathetic greeting is considered as a lack of education, as with passing by without bowing.

If you want to find out more about the different ways of greeting in Asia, come see us at the 5 stars hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, where you will be welcomed with the typical Thai greeting Wai.


Indian bindi

At our luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel Thai & Spa we love travelling around Asia to discover its secrets and mysteries. Today we are taking you to India to talk you about one of the most significant elements for their culture: the bindi.

The bindi is a decorative element, which is mainly worn in India. It is a bright red dot applied in the centre of the forehead. It is also known as Ajna Chakra, Spiritual Eye and Third Eye. It represents the major nerve centre in the human body.


According to tradition, the bindi is the chakra, which is considered an energy point that helps finding inner peace through meditation. Another theory guarantees it is a symbol of the Goddess Parvati, which provides feminine energy and protects either the woman who wears it or her husband.

The bindi is used for showing a woman is married. In the past, the groom would paint with a dot his own blood on his wife´s forehead for symbolizing they were married. Nowadays, the blood has been replaced by make-up and paint. Hindu wise men state that the red lead power, called sindhoor, and the spearmint plaster have refreshing properties, which refresh the nerve centre associated to this point and calm the mind.

There are different forms of bindis, depending on the religion. Those ones who believe in God Vishnu must apply the bindi in a yellow, saffron or red U-form. And the ones who venerate God Shiva have to paint three horizontal lines with ash or Bhasma.

Currently, the bindi has lost its original meaning. It is mainly uses as an ornament and is also worn by single women. However, single women can´t wear red bindis, these ones are only for married ladies. For Asian culture, the red colour symbolizes love, prosperity and honour.

If you would like to feel the Asian tradition, come see us to our 5 star resort in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. A luxury oasis in the Mediterranean!

The Wayang Puppet Theatre

Today we are travelling from the 5 stars hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to Indonesia to find out about one of its most ancient cultural traditions: the Wayang Puppet Theatre.

The Wayang Puppet Theatre is an ancient form of performing art, which showed up in the island of Java, Indonesia. It´s famous for it’s carefully manufactured puppets and its complex musical style. It was originally represented in the royal courts and in the rural communities of Java and Bali. Nowadays it is also performed in the islands of Madura, Lombok, Sumatra and Borneo. UNESCO designated it as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on 7 November 2003.

The meaning of Wayang is shadow. There are different types of puppets, but the two big groups are: wayang golek, three-dimensional wooden puppets, and wayang kulit, or shadow puppet made of perforated, elaborately painted leather. They are different on their facial features, their articulated bodies and their costumes. Wayang Kulit is the most known and appreciated one.

The dalang is the puppeteer in the wayang performance. The puppeteers where considered as experts in the transmission of aesthetic and moral values through their art. These elaborated representations were commonly used for criticizing social and political problems. The characters of the Wayang myths come originally from Persian tales, ancient Indian epic poems and local myths. Interpretation techniques and the repertoire were transmitted orally through the puppeteers, musicians and craftsmen families.

The Wayang is not only entertainment; it is a sacred art part of religious ceremonies and important events of Javanese life.

If you would like to live a 100% Asian experience, we are waiting for you at the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa. Enjoy Asia in the Mediterranean!

Taj Mahal, the love palace

A very special day is coming for all those who are in love and for those who want to show their love to their loved ones, February 14. At the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa we want you to enjoy this day bringing you to the love temple par excellence: Taj Mahal.

The Taj Mahal, or “Crown Palace”, is a group of buildings, built in Agra, in Northern India, and stood on the southern bank of the Yamuna River, between 1631 and 1648, by order of the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

It is the most important tourist destination in India. The Taj Mahal was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and it also was selected as one the new Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

There is a beautiful love story behind the Taj Mahal. The emperor Shah Jahan ordered its construction in memory of his wife, Princess Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away while giving birth to their 14th child.

Prince Shah met Princess Arjumand at a bazar in 1607. He felt in love at first sight. After 5 years waiting to get marry and without seeing each other, the couple got married in 1612. After the wedding, the prince names his wife Muntaz Mahal, “Chosen One of the Palace”.

A few years after being crowned King, Shah has to face the death of Mumtaz Mahal who died after giving birth to her daughter. On her deathbed she asks him for building on her memorial a monument, which symbolized their love.

The beauty of Taj Mahal represents the love that the emperor felt for his loved one. The luxurious materials it is made of, were carried by 1,000 elephants from all corners of India and Central Asia: jasper, jade, crystal, marble, old red sandstone, sapphires, turquoises, lapis lazuli, diamonds, coal and cornelian. Over 20,000 men worked on its construction.

If you love Asian luxury, we suggest you to come to Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, 5 star hotels in Spain, and enjoy our Oriental Romance.

Pamanhikan, a Filipino pre-wedding ritual

There are many cultural traditions, which last in time. Today we are travelling from the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to the Philippines to know more about one of its most ancient traditions: the pamanhikan.

Ancient Filipino people believed that losing their cultural traditions meant turning their backs on their Filipino legacy. This is why Filipino parents transmit their children their cultural legends so that they keep in touch with their roots.

When a Filipino man and woman decide to get married, the groom and his parents must arrange a pamanhikan, a formal way of asking the parents of the bride for her hand. The meeting usually takes place at the woman´s house, but the proposing family is the one in charge of preparing and bringing the food.

During the pamanhikan both parties meet for the fist time. For Filipino people, marriage is the union of two families, not just of the couple. The groom´s family must handle the financial responsibilities. Bride´s parents ask for a dowry, which must be given before the wedding. This dowry can either be money or a service. Once the date of the wedding and the dowry are set, the couple is considered officially engaged.

Filipino population are very superstitious. The bride must no try on her wedding dress before the nuptials, or the wedding won´t be held. Besides, if a family member has to leave during the banquet, all those who haven´t finish eating must turn their plates clockwise three times to guarantee a safe trip to the person that leaves.

If you would like to experience the Asian magic without leaving Spain, come see us at the 5 resort in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa.


Mudiyettu, ritual art of Kerala

Today we are travelling from the 5 stars hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa to India to find out about one of its most famous dances: mudiyettu.

Mudiyettu is a ritual dance drama from Kerala, a state in the south-west region of India, based on the mythological tale of a battle between the goddess Kali and the demon Darika. It combines dance and acting.

It´s an act in which everyone participates. The performances take place in Bhagavati Kavus, the temples of the goddess in villages along the rivers Chalakkudy Puzha, Periyar and Maovattupuzha.

Mudiyettu performers purify themselves through fasting and prayer and draw a huge image of goddess Kali, called kalam, on the temple floor with coloured powders, wherein the spirit of the goddess is invoked. This prepares the ground for the next act in which the divine sage Narada beg Shiva to contain the demon Darika, who is immune to defeat by mortals. Then Shiva orders that Darika will die at the hands of the goddess Kali.

Responsibility for its transmission lies with the senior performers, who engage the younger generation as apprentices during the performance. Mudiyettu is an important cultural element for transmission of traditional values, ethics, moral codes and aesthetic norms to the next generations.

In 2010 Mudiyettu was inscribed in the UNESCO´s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

If you have enjoyed learning more about Indian culture, we invite you come to the luxury hotel Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa and be pleased with the Asiatic luxury in the Mediterranean.


Japanese gardens

Today we travel from the spectacular garden of the luxury hotel in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, to the most famous garden in Asian culture: the Japanese garden.

Japanese gardens come up from the basic need of Japanese people of being in contact with nature. You may easy find them either in private houses or historical places such as castles or Buddhist Temples and, their main purpose, is to reproduce a natural space.

They arose under the influence of the Chinese gardens. During the Heian period, the Japanese garden had its own quite basic appearance. It is improved during Kamakura, Muromachi, Momoyama and Edo periods until accomplish nowadays beauty.

Japanese gardens are filled of symbolisms and spiritual messages. There are two types of gardens: the descriptive ones, whose purpose is simulating nature; and the essential ones, which seek to show the essence of nature.

Digging in this particular landscape art we can find three main typologies: Tsukiyama or panoramic garden, a big descriptive garden with hills and artificial lakes. Hiraniwa or flat garden, it is always linked to chaniwa or tea garden and to kare sansui or zen garden. Zen gardens are the most famous ones around the world. The last but not the least is the Tsuboniwa or indoor garden, which is located inside the house.

There are several iconic elements that you will always find in these delicate gardens: rocks, water, sand or gravel, decorative elements such as stone lanterns or statues, different vegetal and animals, and a teahouse. Every element in the Japanese garden has a specific meaning.

The connection between a man and his garden is considered very important for the Japanese population.

If you would like to contemplate the beauty of Asian nature, we invite you to come and wander through our tropical gardens at our 5 star resort in Spain Asia Gardens Hotel & Thai Spa, you will instantly feel the nature vibe!

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