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celebrations children Germany inspiration morning coffee talk Photography

Morning Coffee Talk ~ 6/365

Good Morning!

It is December 6th, and in this part of the world, a very important visitor appears to bring the Christmas spirit to children around Germany.

Nikolaus (who is not Santa), but a  (Sankt Nikolaus or der Heilige Nikolaus), who was probably born around 245 C.E. in the port city of Patara in what we now call Turkey. Very little historical evidence exists for the man who later became the Bishop of Myra and the patron saint of children, sailors, students, teachers, and merchants.

He is credited with several miracles and his feast day is December 6, which is the main reason he is connected with Christmas. In Austria, parts of Germany, and Switzerland, der Heilige Nikolaus (or Pelznickel) brings his gifts for children on Nikolaustag, Dec. 6, not Dec. 25. And yes, ‘ das Christkindl’ still comes with more presents on December 24th! 

Children clean their boots and leave them outside the door for Nikolaus to fill them with goodies, nuts, oranges and small gifts (if the children were good). There is a lot more to do with this tradition that is fascinating including the scary devil looking characters that travel with Nikolaus to frighten the children, but those are mostly skipped in our home.

hThe images were taken last night from home and the quiet neighbourhood, and it seems that Nikolaus upgraded from boots to basket on this occasion.

Happy Nikolaus day to you wherever you are… 

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Categories
celebrations Germany Photography street photography

Chasing the Christmas spirit~

Europe loves its Christmas Markets, the festive mood, the warm drinks cuddled by cold hands, the delicious smells of roasted almonds and the magical lights that chase away the darkness of winter. From the first advent till the winter solstice, people try to spend as much time as possible out in the markets calling on hope, warmth and light to comfort them through the long hard winters.

In the last 2 weeks I went with my camera and some fellow photographers chasing the Christmas spirit from Valkenburg in the Netherlands to Duesseldorf and then today to magical Cologne.

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celebrations Germany Photography street photography

Living the temporary fantasy~

During the last few days, Germans around Duesseldorf have been assuming new identities, merrily yelling our “Helau” and throwing candy from parades. The ‘Karneval’ is going at full force and no it’s not over! There are 2 more days of this jolly madness still to come 🤪!

Day 42 of 365~

Photos taken during a Karneval parade today

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celebrations CHINA contemplations Photography religion shanghai

The prayer

going inwards to find it~ Jade Buddha Temple~ Shanghai
going inwards to find it~ Jade Buddha Temple~ Shanghai

We might declare our allegiance to a religion or to a non-religion, but either way, there will be moments in our lives when we just feel the need to close our eyes, turn inwards and try desperately to connect to something bigger, greater and more knowing than we are. No matter how amazing and above it all we feel and think we are, the fragility of our very mortality will at some point in our lives humble us to the greatness of what caused us to be in the first place, regardless of what we may call it.

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art celebrations CHINA contemplations inspiration life Photography Seoul shanghai

Searchers along the way

searchers along the way~Seoul
searchers along the way~Seoul

We live to search and we spend our whole life looking for its meaning. I love that fact. I strive to be in the wonder of the quest itself not minding what I find or what remains a mystery. Life is filled with magic and I feel so lucky to feel it every single day. Truth is such an enigma and I wonder if we are ever meant to find it or to just dwell on the process.

Some random thoughts on the eve of the Chinese New Year~ Shanghai

 

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celebrations CHINA contemplations inspiration Photography shanghai street

One day left till the year of the Snake

She battles the snow in her unique way~ Shanhgai
She battles the snow in her unique way~ Shanghai

It seems so appropriate for the year to end and a new one to begin with a blanket of fresh snow, a clean slate, a new start. A stillness fell over the city today as more than half the population leaves for their homes away from Shanghai or to holiday destinations leaving a haunting sense of quiet and empty streets where normally life is buzzing noisily. Shanghai got its second day of snow today, it wore its beautiful white dress and it goes to sleep now getting ready for the big night tomorrow when fireworks will light the city streets.

Xin nian kuai le and Gong xi fa cai from Shanghai!!

 

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celebrations CHINA Travel

Xīn nián kuài lè

The fireworks in Shanghai on Chinese New Year’s eve are the strangest I have ever seen. I took a walk over midnight around the streets and witnessed a frenzy of fireworks lit up by people in every corner of the city. It is not the usual big fireworks show I saw 2 years ago in Hong Kong during the same holiday. Here everyone lights up these big fireworks in front of their buildings and homes. The louder and bigger the better. The loud noise is meant to scare the bad spirits away and welcome the new year with its clean slate. It is just what everyone is doing that night and the city is taken over by it. Incredible to watch and be part of.