Trivia Time – October 2013 – Halloween Special

1. In Romania, Halloween is celebrated around the myth of “Dracula” on 31st of October every year. The spirit of Dracula is believed to live there because the town was the site of many witch trials; these are recreated today by actors on the night of Halloween. The most successful Halloween Party in Transylvania is taken place in Sighisoara, the citadel where Vlad the Impaler (aka Dracula) was born. The Count Dracula Society was founded in 1973. To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies filled with members who claim to be real vampires.

Bran castle Dracula castle, Bran, Transylvania, Romania, Europe

Halloween cultures around the world

2. Halloween was commonly referred to as “All Hollows” Eve. It originated from the pagan holiday honoring the dead. The Roman Catholic Church created All Saints Day (also called Hallomas) on the 1st of November to honour Saints and All Souls Day on the 2nd of November to honour and pray for the souls of the dead.

3. No matter how scary your local haunted house is, it probably can’t top the Haunted Cave in Lewisburg, Ohio. It measures 3,564 feet long, and Guinness World Records named it the world’s longest haunted house in 2010. It’s located 80 feet below ground in an abandoned mine.

4. The enthusiasm of Americans to get in the Halloween spirit just keeps growing. According to the National Retail Federation, average spending on Halloween has increased 54 percent since 2005, with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion in 2013.

5. Philippines celebrate “Pangangaluluwa” or “soulling” by forming a group that will go house to house and offer a song in exchange for money or food to pay for Masses for the dead. Along with the requested alms, householders sometimes give the children súman (rice cake), a traditional food during halloween.


Different Cultures Celebrate Halloween differently across the world

Filipina beauty wins the elusive Miss World Crown

Several decades ago, what started out as a simple one day bikini festival contest in honor of the recently introduced swimwear, turned out to be one of the most prestigious beauty pageants in history. This event became one of the four global beauty contests wherein participating countries across the globe vie for the most coveted Miss World crown and become the “Ambassador of Goodwill”.

Miss World is an annual event held in different countries each year and the event itself lasts for a month. It is a pageant for women – truly beautiful, talented, and intelligent women – who will represent one’s country. Several criteria are involved in choosing the winner. Due to opposition and conservative culture of participating countries, the first Miss World Pageant event in 1951 was the first and the last event which crowned the winner in a bikini. The winners from then on have worn much more conservative costumes.

Eric Morley founded the Miss World Organization in United Kingdom in 1951. Due to the advent of media, Miss World became popular and most viewed program in UK in the 60’s and 70’. After his death the organization has been succeeded by his wife who served as the chairperson of the Miss World Organization when the pageant entered the new era.

Winner of the 2013 Miss World Competition - Megan Young

Megan Young was crowned Miss World 2013

Philippines has been participating in the pageant ever since and never won the title Miss World. The year 2013 is very historical and memorable for the country because the beautiful Pinay – Miss Megan Young was crowned Miss World 2013. This is the first time for the country to win the crown and the kabayans are very proud of the filipina beauty who returned triumphant from the pageant and brought glory to the country which served as an inspiration to the filipinos worldwide. Having won the coveted crown has lifted the hearts and spirits of Filipinos around the globe and brought much joy to everyone, and of course, winning the title itself brought pride and honor to the Filipino nation.

Wiss World 2013 - Miss Philippines

Wiss World 2013 – Miss Philippines

The Miss World 2013 event was held in Indonesia, a very beautiful country and good tourist destination in Asia. Amid the chaos and political controversies surrounding the Philippines during that time, as well as protests and oppositions trying to stop the pageant, the Miss World competition was very successful and was watched by millions of people around the world, particularly, by every OFWS who voted and supported Ms. Young throughout the competition.

Miss World 2013

Miss World 2013

Balut – Filipino Street Food

A balut or balot is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell.

Balut – Filipino Street Food

Balut or Balot is a developing duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It is commonly sold as street-food in the Philippines. In Philippines, eating a balut is quite normal, but to foreigners, eating a balut requires a lot of guts.

Fertilized duck eggs are kept warm in the sun and stored in baskets to retain warmth. After nine days, the eggs are held to a light to reveal the embryo inside. Approximately eight days later the balut are ready to be cooked, sold, and eaten. Vendors sell cooked balut from buckets of sand (used to retain warmth) accompanied by small packets of salt. Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, baluts are mostly sold by street vendors at night in the regions where they are available. Although baluts are produced throughout the Philippines, balut-makers in Pateros are renowned for their careful selection and incubation of the eggs. Baluts can be eaten with a sprinkle of salt and spicy vinegar.

How to make Balut?
1. Choose the eggs that have ages equal or less than five days old and have no cracks. These eggs are suitable for incubation.
2. Arrange the eggs on a sack and let them be under the sun for about 3 to 5 hours.
3. Under 42 to 42.5 o Celsius, heat a big container that contains unpolished rice. That rice should then be put into the bottom of an incubator basket/container.
4. A number of eggs that ranges from 100 up to 125 should then be placed into a big abaca cloth and will then be alternated with the unpolished heated rice.
5. Monitor the eggs from time to time and rotate the eggs thrice each day.
6. Do not forget to heat the rice twice a day: in the morning and afternoon.
7. Candle the eggs during the following days: 7th day, 14th day, 18th day. Remove the infertile eggs.
8. The remaining candled eggs will then be boiled and sold as balut.

 Popularly believed to be an aphrodisiac and considered a high-protein, hearty snack, baluts are mostly sold by street vendors at night

Balut – Street Food in Philippines

Cultural dance Singkil (Sayaw sa Singkil)

folk dance

folk dance

Ang Singkíl ay isang sikat na sayaw ng mga taga-Maranao na ginaganap sa panahon ng pagdiriwang at iba pang mga kasiyahan at kapistahan. Babaeng mananayaw ang sentro ng sayaw na ito at sinasabing ito ay isang maharlikang sayaw ng mga Muslim o ng mga dugong bughaw. Sa saliw at tunog na dulot ng kawayan, ang babaeng mananayaw ay nakabihis sa eleganteng Muslim na kasuotan at mahusay na humahakbang at hindi naiipit ang mga paa sa bawat galaw ng kawayan, listo sa bawat kilos at sayaw na nagsisimula sa mabagal na tempo hanggang pabilis ng pabilis ang indak habang may hawak na panyo o pamaypay at umiindak sa saliw ng kulintang at agung na syang mga pangunahing instrumentong ginagamit sa musika ng singkil.

Ayon sa alamat na isinulat noong ika -14 na siglo, ang sayaw na ito ay nagsasaad ng kwento tungkol kay Prinsesa Gandingan na habang sya ay nasa gitna ng isang gubat, nagkaroon ng lindol na sanhi ng mga diwata ng gubat . Ang mga na kawayan na ginagamit sa sayaw ay kumakatawan sa mga puno na bumabagsak sa lupa na dulot ng paglindol. Ang matapat na alipin ng Prinsesa ay nakasunod at nakapayong sa kanya habang pilit nyang tinatahak ang landas sa gubat. Sa bandang huli, ang prinsesa ay nailigtas ng isang prinsipe. Mapa hanggang ngayon, ang mga prinsesa ng Sulu ay kinakailangang matutunan ang mahirap at marangal na Sayaw sa Singkil.folk dance

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Mutton Curry Recipe

Mutton Curry Recipe

Recipe for Mutton Curry

1 kg goat leg, cut into suitable bite-sized chunks
4 tbsps vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil
2 large onions sliced thin
2 large tomatoes diced
2 tbsps garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsps garam masala powder
• Salt to taste
• Chopped coriander to garnish

• Heat cooking oil in a heavy bottomed pan, on medium heat.
• When hot, add the onions. Sauté till the onions begin to turn a pale golden brown in color. Now remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Turn off heat.
• Grind the onions into a smooth paste (adding very little to no water) in a food processor. Once done, remove into a separate container.
• Now grind the tomatoes, garlic and ginger pastes together, in the food processor, into a smooth paste. Remove into a separate container and keep aside for later use.
• Heat the oil left over from frying the onions, again and add the onion paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.
• Now add the tomato paste and all the powdered spices, including garam masala. Mix well.
• Sauté the resulting masala (onion-tomato-spice mixture) until the oil begins to separate from it. This can take up to 10 minutes to happen.
• Now add the goat / mutton pieces to the masala, season with salt to taste and stir to fully coat the goat/ mutton pieces with the masala. Sauté till the goat/ mutton is browned well.
• Add 1/2 a cup of hot water to the pan, stir to mix well, simmer the heat and cover the pan. Cook till the goat/ mutton is tender. You will need to keep checking on the goat/ mutton as it cooks and adding more water if all the water dries up. Stir often to prevent burning. The dish should have a fairly thick gravy when done.
• When the meat is cooked, garnish with chopped coriander and serve with hot chapatis, naans or plain boiled rice

Festivals OF THE MONTH – Muharram (Ashura)

Muharram (Ashura)


Festival: Muharram (Ashura)
City: All Cities
Event Type: Religious Celebrations & processions all over Bangladesh
Venue: Various Venues of Bangladesh
Date & Time: 14th November 2013 Thursday – Entire Day

Happy Muharram 2013

Happy Muharram 2013

Event: 16th Con-Expo Bangladesh 2013 & Real Estate Expo 2013
City: Dhaka
Event Type: An International Exhibition for Construction Material & International Exhibition on Real Estate
Venue: Conference Centre [BICC], Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka
Date & Time: During 14 – 16 November, 2013 from 11.00am to 7.00pm

United States Of America

Event: 87th Annual Macy’s Thanks Giving Day Parade
City: New York
Event Type: Day of feasting & expressing gratitude
Venue: Beginning at 77th Street & Central Park West and ending at Macy’s Herald Square.
Date & Time: 28th November 2013, Thursday 9.00 am to 12.00 pm
Entry Fee: Free entry

Festival in Bangladesh

United Kingdom Event: Lord Mayor’s Show
City: London
Event Type: Public Festival
Venue: From Mansion House via Bank, St Pauls and Fleet Street to Aldwych EC4N 8BH
Date & Time: 9th November 2013, Saturday 11.00 am onwards
Entry Fee: 50 pence

Rangamati: The Lake Paradise Of Bangladesh

Rangamati Lake a small town in Bangladesh

Rangamati: The Lake Paradise Of Bangladesh

Rangamati is a small and beautiful town located amongst the green hills, lakes and rivers of the Chittagong Hill. It is for this very reason that is is a prime Bangladesh hill destination. It is known as the Lake City of Bangladesh as it is located on the bank of the beautiful Kaptai Lake. It is the administrative headquarter of the Rangamati Hill District, the largest district of Bangladesh and located some 77 kilometres away from Chittagong. For a long time Rangamati has been a prime Bangladesh tourist destination for its location, scenic beauty, colourful tribal people, tribal homespun textiles, ivory jewellery and many such attractions.

The Rangmati Lake - Head Quarters of the Rangamati Hill District in Bangladesh

Head Quarters of the Rangamati Hill District in Bangladesh

The rich natural resources, diverse flora and fauna makes Rangamati, a Bangladesh Eco-Tourism destination. The road leading to Rangamati circles and winds through hilly terrains covered with lush green forests and creates a memorable experience for years to come. A stay here provides a glimpse into the lifestyle of various tribes living in this region. The ethnic tribes of Rangamati are the Chakma, Marma, Tonchongya, Tripura, Murong, Bome, Khumi, Kheyang, Chak, Pankhoa, and Lusai. The mix of different races, cultures, religions and customs creates an interesting community in Rangamati. It is said that if a tourist skips Rangamati he / she will miss a colourful slice of Bangladesh.

A picture of the Rangamati Lake in Bangladesh

A picture of the Rangamati Lake in Bangladesh

Tourist spots in Rangamati:

• Kaptai Lake
• Tribal Museum
• Shuvolong Falls
• Kaptai National Park
• Hanging Bridge
• Rajban Bihar Pagoda
• Peda Ting Ting

Kaptai Lake:

One of the largest man-made lake of Bangladesh - Kaptai Lake

A large man-made lake built in the 1960s

This large man-made lake Bangladesh spanning over an area of approximately 11000 sq. km, was created as a reservoir when the Kaptai dam was built during the 1960s. The lake was created by flooding valleys and plain lands between numerous hills. This created a picturesque view as forested hills and plateaus rose from beneath the water. The government run tourism corporation and private operators offer Kaptai Lake Cruise Tours, which is worth every penny. Other scenic spots are also accessible through the waterways.

Beautiful view of the Kaptai Lake in Bangladesh

Beautiful view of the Kaptai Lake in Bangladesh

Tribal Museum:

The Tribal Museum of Rangamati - open since 1978

The Tribal Museum of Rangamati

The tribal museum is located near the entry point to the city. Established in 1978, it is run by the Tribal Cultural Institute. Traditional Ornaments, Costumes, Potteries, Musical instruments, Armaments, paintings, photographs, old manuscripts, statues and ancient coins of various tribes are on display in this museum. It is open from Saturday to Thursday – excluding public holidays.
Some of the pots, pans and ancient artifacts on display in the tribal museum in Bangladesh

Artifacts in the Tribal Museum in Bangladesh

Shuvolong Falls:
Shuvolong is a place in Borokol sub-district, located about 25 kms away from Rangamati. There are few waterfalls in Shuvolong area with the largest one falling from as high as 300 feet. In the last few years, this place has turned into a tourist destination due to its beautiful waterfalls and the nearby market. Shuvolong is easily accessible by speed boat or motor boats from Rangamati.

The water falls of Shuvalong, approx. 25 kms from Ranfamati

The water falls of Shuvalong.

Kaptai National Park:

The Kaptai National Park - in Karnafuly & Kaptai range in Bangladesh

The Kaptai National Park – in Karnafuly & Kaptai range

This forest reserve is located in the Karnafuly and Kaptai range. According to the government statistics about 50,000 people visit the National Park every year. The park is known to provide some walking trails among the lush green forest. The animal species found in the Kaptai National park are deer, elephants, monkeys, fishing cats and birds. The Kaptai Forest Rest house, Kaptai Mukh Forest Rest House and several picnic spots are located here.
Kaptai National Park in Bangladesh!

Kaptai National Park in Bangladesh!

Hanging Bridge:
The Hanging Bridge across a portion of Kaptai lake adds to the beauty of the lake. In Bengali the name of the Hanging Bridge is

Hanging Bridge in Bangladesh over the Kantai river

The Hanging Bridge better known as the Jhulonto Bridge

Bridge and this is also popular to its visitors. This bridge also leads to another hill over the canal close to the famous Parajatan motel. It’s said touring to Rangamati is incomplete without visiting the first hanging bridge of Bangladesh which stands 355 feet long and is considered to be a landmark icon of Bangladesh.

Rajban Bihar Pagoda:

An internationally known Buddhist Temple, where the spiritualist principal monk of Rajban Vihara, Shrimath Sadhana Nanda Mohasthabir

Rajban Bihar Pagoda:

Buddhist Temple – Rajban Bihar Pagoda:

(Ban Vante) lives. Architectural design of this temple is the oldest one but it looks very nice. Anyone can enjoy this temple during the first visit.

Peda Ting Ting:

Amongst the islands that can be visited by boat from Rangamati, is the Peda Ting Ting Island. It is a small island on the Kaptai Lake, few kilometres away from Rangamati. It is mostly known for its serenity. Peda Ting Ting Island is a very small and secluded island in the Rangamati Lake. There are a few tourist accommodation facilities here and a tiny restaurant run by the locals. It offers foods ranging from traditional to indigenous delicacies.

The island of PEda Ting Ting

The island of PEda Ting Ting

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